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This article was published 28/7/2015 (2251 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Rhaychelle Tan has baton twirling in her blood.
The 17-year-old Tyndall Park resident started twirling at age three, following in the footsteps of her mother, Jane Tan, a long-time baton twirling coach and a former competitive twirler.
"My mom was coaching and I’d just go to the gym and watch everyone, grab a baton, do whatever. The practices were long so I’d even sleep there," Tan said.
Growing up in the gym has paid off. Tan will be competing in the World Baton Twirling Federation 2015 International Cup, which takes place Aug. 2 to 9 in Abbotsford, B.C.
A Grade 12 student at Sisler High School, Tan also received the Senior Individual Challenge Cup award at the Canadian Baton Twirling Championships, which were held June 28 to July 2 in Oshawa, Ont.
Tan received the award for obtaining the highest number of points of all Canadian baton twirlers aged 15 and up in the 2014 season.
Tan also fared very well on the floor at the Canadian championships, winning gold in BI Senior 3-Baton, Junior B Dance Twirl, silver in Junior A Pairs and bronze in Junior Duet.
Tan said she was especially pleased to take first in 3-Baton.
"Three batons is not my strongest routine but I do it because I have three batons in other routines, team routines, so I don’t want to disappoint my teammates by not practising it all year," she said.
Currently, Tan practises baton twirling three times a week, but said she was practising six times a week during the school year. Tan is also a member of Sisler’s Most Wanted dance team and Maples Dance Academy.
She said to get good at baton twirling you have to "work your butt off." She said that even means practising your mistakes.
"In practice you have to work on your recovery, so if you drop the baton you can keep going right away," Tan said. "You can’t stop the routine and just give up. If you give up when you practice, it will happen at competition because your body will be used to it. But, if you practice recovery, it will come naturally."
Drops are going to happen, but Tan had one especially trying competition two years ago at the 2013 national championships in Moncton, N.B.
"On the first day I sprained my ankle before going on the floor to do my medley. My ankle looked like a tennis ball," Tan said. "I called my mom at 7 a.m. and said ‘I don’t know what to do.’ I went on the floor wiping away tears. Then on the second day I did a trick and the baton hit me in the jaw and it hurt to eat for a couple days. The third day nothing happened but on the fourth day during my freestyle I did a horizontal toss and spotted the baton wrong and it smoked me in the eye.
"I came home with sprained ankle, a bruised chin and a black eye. That wasn’t a pretty nationals, but it’s all experience and I learned a lot from it. You have to learn how to stay focused."
Community journalist — The Times
Jared Story was the community journalist for The Times until 2017.