Olivia is currently a first-year intending on majoring in Biology and Chemistry. She started ice skating at the age of 3, and started synchronized ice skating at the age of 9. Currently she is a competitive synchronized skater, and competed in Sweden in January 2013 as a member of Team USA (Her team won the bronze medal!). She is from Queens, NY, attended Bard High School Early College Queens and graduated with Associates Degree.
She is currently on the University of Massachusetts’ Synchronized Skating team.
Q: What activities or leadership positions are you involved in at Smith?
A: As a first-year, I limited my community involvement because I did not want to take on too much. However, I am an AEMES(Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering and Sciences) scholar who works in Laura Katz’s lab, and am in the peer mentor/”mentee” program. I am also a member of the University of Massachusetts’ Synchronized Skating team. Next year, I will continue to work in Laura’s lab as an AEMES student, hopefully be a peer mentor, skate on UMass (and be co-captain), and be the treasurer of Morris House.
(Olivia with her old teammates — Olivia is third to the left)
Q: How did you find out about the synchronized team at UMass? And how were you able to join when you are enrolled in Smith?
A: In synchronized skating, there are different divisions. I am currently on the collegiate division. There are numerous colleges that have this division, and I looked into the schools (when I was applying to schools) that had a skating team near by.
The current coach of the UMass team was also my first synchronized skating coach; she was able to put me in contact with another Smithie on the team. Once I got to Smith, I attended to the team’s try outs and I decided to join the team.
Q: Could you describe what is synchronized skating?
A: Synchronized skating is similar to synchronized swimming but with more athletes participating. Different levels can have anywhere between 8-20 skaters out on the ice. It requires precision, timing, and teamwork. Great teams glide effortlessly across the ice at high speeds as well as perform their program with energy and facial expressions. It is truly amazing to see a group of 16 skaters move as one. You can often see all the hard work and trust that they put into their practices and performance.
(Outside the World Arena in Colorado for the Nationals with the UMASS Skate Synchro Team)
Q: Tell me about the big competition! What is it and how did you guys do?
A: Back in January we attended the Eastern Sectional Championship, and was qualified to participate to the National Championship at Colorado in March to compete (only the top 6 teams from each coast - East, Midwest, West- qualify for Nationals). Although we did not have our best skate at the Nationals, we had a fantastic season and the team has improved greatly from the last season. Some of the judges even came up to our coach to tell her how much stronger and faster we have gotten.
Overall, it was an amazing experience. We have progressed so much this season and grew as a team. I also had the opportunity to see my old teammates, some of who moved onto different teams because they went off to college too, and others that are still on my old team. It was great seeing them skate and talking to them afterwards. The skating community it very close and I love seeing old teammates and friends.
Q: Are you going to continue next year?
A: Yes! I am elected as the co-captain for next year’s season. As co-captain, I will run practices when the coach is not there, run off ice (cardio, work outs, the warm up dance, the program), and offer suggestions when the coach is choreographing the program. I am very honored to be elected co-captain and am excited for the upcoming season!
Q: How did Smith help or inspire you to be successful in this opportunity?
A: Skating is extremely expensive. My fellow Smithie on the team and I were able to go talk to the Dean of the college and ask for some funding to help us offset the cost of our monthly skating dues, and the travel to Colorado. And we received some funding and I am extremely grateful. It definitely allowed me to continue skating while attending Smith. Also the professors are very understanding of me when I have to discuss any missed class due to competitions, and without this it would have been very difficult to succeed at Smith academically.
(UMASS Skate Synchro team having a spirit practice! Theme: old skating dress)
(Easterns in Hersey, PA for a competition)
Q: Would you recommend current Smithies and prospective students to look into the activity that you are currently in?
A: Of course, you do not have to have any synchro experience to be on the team and it offers an automatic close-knit community that supports you in the sport that you love. I love being a part of a team, and going through the successes and obstacles together.