Synchronized skating is a large and fast-growing sport both within U.S. Figure Skating and around the world. U.S. Figure Skating held the first U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in 1984 and also hosted the first World Synchronized Skating Championships in 2000. Portland hosted the U.S. Nationals last year.

There are approximately 525 synchronized teams registered with U.S. Figure Skating. One of the newest additions to this sport is “Subzero”, a team formed last year within the Skating Club of Maine Coastal Region. The squad has many Midcoast residents.

“Subzero” will show off their skills at the Skating Club of Maine’s annual ice show “True Colors” on Saturday, March 27 at 2 p.m. at the Midcoast Recreation Center in Rockport.

Synchronized skating is a team sport in which 8 to 20 skaters perform a program together skating on ice at one time moving as one flowing unit at high speeds. For a synchronized team to flow in unison, individual skaters must be competent at a variety of skating skills, including speed, footwork and ice presence. The teams are required to perform step sequences involving a number of various turns such as twizzles, counters and rockers and simpler turns like three-turns, mohawks and choctaws.

A synchronized routine may consist of straight line sequences, intersections, wheels, blocks, circle step sequences, or also moves in isolation. Moves in isolation are when one or more skaters separates from the rest of the group and performs freestyle type moves. For example, three skaters may separate and go into sit spins, while the rest of the team is in a circle formation. The three skaters will then join the group again and carry on with the routine.

This discipline of figure skating was originally called precision skating in North America because of the emphasis on maintaining precise formations and timing of the group. During the 1970’s, the interest for this new sport spawned tremendous growth and development. As each season passed, more and more teams were developing more creative and innovative routines incorporating stronger basic skating skills, new maneuvers and more sophisticated transitions with greater speed, style and agility.

Although figure skating is not normally thought of as a team sport, the Subzero synchro team depends on teamwork to make their magic. The team currently consists of 17 freestyle level two skaters and higher and is comprised of skaters ages 11 to 50. The team is coached and choreographed by Mathea Daunheimer.

Between jobs and school, the team works together on their skills twice weekly. Unique to “Subzero” are the two mother and daughter skaters in the team Julie and Hayley Downs and Sue and Juliana Haynes.The Skating Club of Maine began an Introduction to Synchronized skating class this year due to the popularity of the core synchronized skating team.

This year, Allison Johnston, a senior gold level skater, will join the cast, which features local skaters of all ages. It is a regional favorite that marks the end of the skating season and celebrates all the hard work and skills learned throughout the skating season.

The team has been partially funded by the following sponsors Hannaford, Tim Horton’s, Meklin Excavating, Downeast Energy, Revison Energy and Danica Candleworks.

The Skating Club of Maine teaches basic skills lessons from October through March at the Rockport rink. For more information, visit scmaine.org, e-mail coastal@scmaine.org, mail P.O. Box 99, West Rockport 04865 or call 236-9400, extension 500.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at sports@villagesoup.com.