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Athlete of the Month

Lindsay M. Howie ’05

By Diana Cheng

TEAM MEMBER

Lindsay A. Howie ’05 travelled to Huntsville, Alabama last weekend to compete with the Haydenettes senior-level synchronized skating team, and the team placed first at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Nationals. This is the thirteenth time the Haydenettes have captured the national title, and it is the first year Howie has skated with the team.

Howie is majoring in general math (Course XVIII) and said she likes the flexibility in the program. She needs this flexibility because the Haydenettes practice approximately 20 hours a week and travel to competitions. Head coach Lynne Benson was concerned about the stress level of the two college students on the team, Howie and a student at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, but Howie says she likes synchro practice because while she is on the ice, she doesn’t have to think about school.

Skating at school

Howie says her professors and her adviser are usually understanding about her having to miss class for synchro competitions. The Haydenettes traveled to Charleston, S.C. to win the senior division of the 2003 Eastern Sectional Championships during IAP. At the beginning of spring semester, Howie flew to France with the Haydenettes to win the French Cup over Finland’s Team Unique and Russia’s Paradise senior-level synchronized skating teams. With the victories of the U.S. teams in the senior division with the Haydenettes, the junior division with the Chicago Jazz team, and the novice division with Ice Mates, the United States won the Nations Cup for the best placements in all three divisions.

During their practices in Lexington, MA, the Haydenettes lift weights, attend an edge class during the off-season, and practice on-ice. They also see a sports psychologist for team building and relaxation techniques once a week. Because of the commute, Howie lives on campus for five days of the week and stays at home the remaining two days.

Growing up skating

In high school and before, Howie skated on the Colonials synchronized skating team for 6 years, representing Colonial Figure Skating Club in Acton, Mass. After her freshman year at MIT, she decided to take skating more seriously, taking a year off to focus on skating. She watched the Haydenettes compete last year and realized she missed synchronized skating, and then tried out for the team. Team members are usually between 15 and 26 years old.

Howie says that skating with the Haydenettes is sometimes frustrating because new skaters often have to skate as a double during practices. But she is enjoying it and the performing opportunities skating on a nationally-ranked synchronized skating team brings. In October, the team performed its ballet-school themed short program at the Evening of Champions skating show at Harvard University. In two weeks, the team will perform at the World Figure Skating Championships held in Washington, D.C. during MIT’s spring break.

Hayden Recreation Center’s Novice synchronized skating team, Ice Mates, placed first in its division at the 2003 Nationals and will be performing next Saturday 7 p.m. at the MIT Figure Skating Club’s exhibition at Johnson Ice Rink. Jessica Huot ’06 and Juha Valkama ’06, the Finnish ice dance champions and World Championships competitors, are also performing in the skating club’s show. Admission is free.