For Sylvie Lloyd and Thom Keijzer this past weekend was all about improvement and gaining experience. The two students from TRU competed at the junior Canadian long-track speed skating national championships in Winnipeg and had a successful weekend.
Lloyd competed in the 500 m, 1,000 m and 1,500 m events. She had her greatest success in the shortest race of the weekend, the 500 m, in which she finished 21st out of the 42 skaters that competed. Lloyd, a bachelor of arts student, is on the ice at least four times a week and is a veteran when it comes to national championships. “My mom is a coach and she was a skater so I’ve been doing it my whole life. I’ve been competing in national competitions for a few years so this is just another one,” Lloyd said.
Keijzer, meanwhile, competed in all of the events that he qualified for: the 500 m, 1,000 m, 1,500 m and the 5,000 m. His best finish came in the 5,000 m race where he finished 20th and he doesn’t feel as though competing in so many events wore him down over the weekend. “Well you get a two-hour break between races so it’s long enough and you come all the way to Winnipeg to skate, so you might as well do all the events,” Keijzer said.
Born in the Netherlands, Keijzer began skating at a young age and credits the prevalence of the sport in his home country with getting him involved. “I had five ovals within half-an-hour from my house, so there are lots of ovals over there.”
Coach of the Kamloops Long Blades, Sandi Vyse was pleased with the skaters from TRU coming into the weekend, saying that while they may not be competing for race wins yet, it is constantly improving that is important.
Vyse said that Lloyd and Keijzer are “not in the top realm yet but they’re still developing,” and that the goal for them this weekend was to “keep improving and move up the rankings.”
While both of the skaters stressed the desire to go out on the ice and try their hardest, a personal best time was never really achievable for either of them due to the fact that the Winnipeg competition takes place outdoors and on a slower ice surface.