The 3rd Pan American Club Championships might be over, but its reverberations among the roller skating fans are still being felt from Florida and California to Guatemala and Chile. The premier international competition in figure, dance and freestyle did not disappoint skating aficionados and served as a stage for some of the best artistic roller skating this side of the world.

The event, held on January16th through 19th of 2015 at Skate Reflections, Kissimmee, FL,  brought together skaters of all ages from over 59 clubs in 9 countries, including the United States, Columbia, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala and Paraguay.

The Northeast Region made a good showing at the 2015 Pan American Club Championships. Plainfield and Taunton Skating Clubs delivered great performances holding their own against the international competitors.

One of the skaters there was Brianna Seidel who pulled away with the bronze in a highly competitive Youth Women Solo Compulsories dance event. Enjoying an amazing year in 2014¸ Seidel brought home five medals from Lincoln including three golds, a silver, and a bronze. Currently working on her Gold Medal Figure test, and is 2015 Northeast Regional Skater of the Year.

There was one good performance after another, pushing skaters to perform at their best. Though the Northeast may have not medaled as they would in our own nationals, it gave the skaters a feeling of competition that has been missing lately with the sport on a national level. Head coach of the Plainfield Skating Club, Lynette Cassio, states “Reaching out beyond your comfort zone can open up a whole new world. Don’t be afraid to reach…”

The Brazilian roller skating federation CBHP rolled out great performances this year with skaters capturing many gold, silver and bronze medals, rolling in like a storm to be reckoned with.

“Practice makes perfect!” states Felipe Werle of Brazil, who placed 1st in Senior Solo Dance both in Compulsories and in the Free Dance. He emphasized how hard he practiced for this event, practicing 7 days a week, 4 hours a day. Jessica Gaudy, who placed 1st in Senior Solo & Team Compulsories, started skating at the age of eight at the roller skating rink that her parents owned, also underlined the importance of practicing often and taking tests before attending competitions.

“I myself did not take tests before the age of 11 and now thinking in retrospect, I would have benefitted from doing it earlier. It is better to measure your success not against others but yourself first.”
-Jessica Gaudy

Anna Shabunina, a seven year-old skater from Florida Skating Academy, who won an impressive bronze medal in Pre-Mini Girls Free Skating was adamant in emphasizing the importance of practice. A daughter of an Ukranian immigrant parent, she started skating at the age of four following the footsteps of her now 11 year-old sister, Katherine, who also skated at the Pan Am games. “I worked a lot and expected a medal,” she said, emphasizing that her next competition was going to be an invitational in February. Her mother, Natalia explained how she signed up her older daughter for ice skating first, but she cried and did not want to do it. “When there was a roller rink near where we lived, I then decided to enroll her with roller skating rejust for her to learn how to balance and skate. Her younger sibling followed her,” she said. “But there is no switching from roller skating to ice skating now.”

If you are looking for great experience as a skater or even as a spectator, then the Pan American Club Championships should be marked down on your calendar for next year. Not to mention you’ll be only minutes away from Disney and so many other great attractions that you can easily make a family vacation out of the trip. However after watching the skating, you are going to want to get back to your local skating center and work even harder. The energy is contagious and the performances are inspirational.

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