MILFORD – Ever since she could walk, Milford High School senior Margaret Amory has been an avid ice skater.
She put her first pair of skates on as a child and first started skating competitively in second grade. She started out competing individually, but not long afterwards she started getting into synchronized ice skating.
“I started competing individually in second grade, so I was about seven or eight,” Margaret said. “And then I started synchronized skating in sixth grade.”
Margaret is the only student at Milford High School involved in competitive synchronized ice skating.
“I might be the only student at the school who ice skates in general,” she said. “But I compete with other girls who go to high school across the state of Delaware.”
“It was just something different,” she said regarding what drew her in to ice skating. “Not many people do it.”
Margaret practices on her own during the school week – training for about four to five days per week – and then travels up north to Newark for synchronized skating practice with her Team Delaware teammates every Saturday and Sunday.
The synchronized team is made up of high school skaters across Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
With just two days of practice together as a team every week, Margaret says the days are typically pretty lengthy. The team practices both on and off the ice, and the practices usually run for about six to seven hours per day.
And it’s basically a year-round calendar for competitive skating.
“Try-outs normally happen in March or April, and then we’ll get a break in May. June starts summer practices, then it runs until Nationals at the end of February or early March. Then try-outs are two weeks later,” she said.
Despite competing in synchronized skating since sixth grade, Margaret still has to try-out for the team every spring.
“You still have to try-out every year just so you can showcase your skills and show the coaches how you’ve improved,” she said.
At this year’s Eastern Sectional Competition, Margaret’s team – made up of about 16 skaters – performed well enough to qualify for Nationals in Rockford, Illinois. At Nationals, the team placed seventh.
As a senior preparing for graduation this spring, and Nationals in her rearview mirror, Margaret is already mapping out her future.
On March 25-26, Margaret will be traveling to Adrian, Michigan to try-out for the Adrian College Synchronized Skating team.
Adrian College is internationally recognized and is a member of Team USA.
“They’re one of two schools in the country that offers synchronized skating as a varsity sport,” she said. “They’re also Team USA and competed in Sweden this past year.”
As a member of the International Selection Pool (ISP), Adrian College’s varsity synchronized skating team is one of 12 synchronized skating teams eligible for international competition. If selected for a certain event, the team would represent the United States in competition.
Over the next two weeks, Margaret will be focusing on last-second preparing for the two-day try-outs at the end of the month.
“They want us to make turns and moves. At auditions you want to perform at the best of your ability, just so they know you’re a strong skater,” Margaret said. “I just want to try to be as confident as possible. I know there are a lot of girls who are trying out for this team, either returning or incoming freshman, so I think it’s important to be confident and go out there and give it your all.”
The ultimate goal? Olympics.
“Synchronized skating isn’t an Olympic sport yet,” Margaret said. “They are trying to make it one. There’s been a huge ‘why not synchro?’ movement through the International Skating Union (ISU). They’re still in the processing phase of trying to make it an Olympic sport.”
Synchronized skating isn’t currently an Olympic sport, but there is a battle being fought that could eventually lead to the sport being included in the Winter Olympics.
If that day ever comes, Margaret hopes to take advantage of the opportunity with Team USA.
“That’d be pretty cool,” Margaret said when asked if she’d one day like to become an Olympic medalist.
But for now, Ms. Amory will stay focused on trying out and competing with Adrian College in Michigan.
If anyone in southern Delaware is interested in getting into ice skating, Margaret coaches for the Learn to Skate program at the Centre Ice Rink at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington. No previous skating experience is required for the program.
Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.