Rapids club lives up to its name

If the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club were to change its name, the Whitehorse Increasingly Rapid Speed Skating Club would be apt.

If the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club were to change its name, the Whitehorse Increasingly Rapid Speed Skating Club would be apt.

The club, in association with the Yukon Amateur Speed Skating Association, hosted its final event of the season Sunday at the Canada Games Centre. The 26 participating skaters set 45 personal bests.

“There were some good races in all the categories,” said Rapids coach Phil Hoffman. “Some of the kids are used to racing in Calgary or Edmonton; local races here are usually not that exciting. But I think it went well this time and a lot of them put extra effort into these races even though when you’re racing against your own club mates, you kind of know, lining up on the start line, how it’s going to finish. Even so, the kids raced well and went for it.”

Most of the personal bests came from the younger, less experienced skaters who have a little more room for improvement.

“Most of those were with kids in our novice group that are fairly new to the sport,” said Hoffman. “Kids at that age tend to progress quickly and can knock-off personal bests.”

However, experienced skaters like Alexis Gee and Gillian Smart each cut six seconds off their personal bests in various events. Emily Klassen, another accomplished skater, removed four seconds off her 1,000-metre personal best.

“It’s quite good when you get to that level,” said Hoffman.

Each skater was required to compete in three races, setting personal bests in each were Gee, Smart, Hanna Wirth, Teah Dickson, Daryn Lovell, Andrew Lefebvre, Abby Smart, Katharina Wirth, John MacDougall, and Malcolm Taggart. Improving in two of three races were Micah Cox, Caelan McLean, Zeb Berryman and Pauline Craig.

Setting new personal benchmarks in one event were Klassen, Kathryn Fortune, Shea Hoffman, Donald Fortune, Heather Clarke, Cynthia Onions, and Bill Scott.

The season closer included some “fun events,” such as relay races around plastic buckets.

“We do drills with buckets, getting kids down into the basic position, to get the proper lean in the corners,” said Hoffman. “Besides it being a technique drill, it’s a fun thing to do.

“We also did an egg-and-spoon race.”

The Rapids club will be reconvening in September and will be holding training camps at the end of that month before heading to various southern competitions.

Contact Tom Patrick at


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