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Speed skating school in session at Susan Auch

Skaters of all ages and skills participate

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Winnipeg Speed Skating Club president Silvia McInnes (left) and coach Andrea Olmstead.

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Winnipeg Speed Skating Club president Silvia McInnes (left) and coach Andrea Olmstead. Photo Store

Many aspiring skaters have laced up and skated down to the Susan Auch Speed Skating School (SASSS), taking place at the Sargent Park Arena (1111 Wall St.).

The school is a three-session introduction to the sport of speed skating. Participants attend either Monday or Thursday sessions, with the last session being held Thurs., Nov. 7. Both sessions are full, and new participants are not being accepted.

Silvia McInnes, Winnipeg Speed Skating Club (WSSC) president, said the WSSC is running the SASSS during speed skating season for the second year. The SASSS has been running for five years, and the first three years were usually run during the summer in Transcona. When their usual location was closed for the summer, they moved the SASSS to the fall.

"The response has been so much better," McInnes said.

The school aims to teach the basics of speed skating, as it is a bit different from other on-ice sports.

"The (speed skating) stride is different from hockey," McInnes explained. "The blade is much thinner."

McInnes said the age range of students in the program is wide. The youngest skater is seven years old while the oldest is in her 40s.

"We have a lot of parent-kid duos that skate together. For a lot of the parents, it’s just to keep in shape, but they also bond with their child," head coach Andrea Olmstead said.

Olmstead got into speed skating after watching her sister skate for a year. She followed suit, and began skating competitively until 2007, including participating in the Canada Winter Games.

After suffering a career-ending injury, Olmstead remained in the speed skating world by attending coaching clinics and training to be a coach.

"It’s nice to get back to the sport but it’s also nice to see the kids be able to relate to you not only as an athlete, but as a mentor," Olmstead said.

For more information about the WSSC, visit winnipegspeedskating.ca


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