One dark evening, a week ago I sat with the Finnish coach Siiri Eskelinen in a café having some hot drinks and chatting about synchro. I was curious to know the secret. How did the Junior team Dream Edges achieve their surprising success: 3rd place and bronze medal in the first qualification of Finland. Diamond Edges is from Kaarina, a small town of about 33’000 inhabitants in South-Western Finland. The team was founded only three years ago. Last February, this team was 8th in the Finnish Championships. Interview.
How do you feel now, when a few weeks of your success at the first Finnish qualifications have elapsed?
Siiri Eskelinen: Well, I have recovered the shock. It was quite a great surprise, even though I have thought from the very beginning that coaching is not only my amusement or hobby. I want to train the team as far as it wants and can go. There are really motivated skaters in the team. Anyway, achieving this goal: a medal from qualifications came much sooner than I expected.
Tell us more about Dream Edges…
Siiri Eskelinen: There are 23 skaters, one boy, and 22 girls, their average age is about 16 years. Eleven of them have been along since the beginning, now starting their fourth season. The first group was collected from Kaarina and neighboring towns, newcomers are from our own Novice team, mostly from this small town.
How do you coach the team?
Siiri Eskelinen: Dream Edges is not « my project ». I strongly trust in teamwork in coaching. I have two great colleagues Sini Lagercrantz and Anne Niemi. We all have our strengths and by combining them we create the programs, train and develop the team. Our achievement is due to this great co-operation and highly motivated skaters. Also, our fitness trainers Hanna and Konsta Kapanen and ballet teacher Anandah Kononen are play significant role in training.
We've invested in the creativity and in interesting choreographies
What is the secret of your sudden success?
Siiri Eskelinen: During these years we have had a clear direction where to go – towards the top. I think the reason why this happened just now is because of the changes in the free program rules. Now there is much more time to do transitions, linking footwork and movements between the required elements. This was the matter we wanted to concentrate! We know our skaters are not the best, skating skills is not our strength – at least not yet – so we’ve invested in the creativity and in interesting choreographies. We analyzed the rules, we tried to think what the judges perhaps want to see, what the public want to see. Using all ideas and knowledge we created our programs and we succeeded!
The second qualification is in a few days, how do you prepare for that?
Siiri Eskelinen: We have calmed down now. We have analyzed our programs and other teams´ programs by watching videos, and we try to learn from them. We practice the same way as before, try to skate the elements clean, try to improve expression and enjoy and collect all the positive energy of the attention we got after the previous competition to make a great performance next weekend.
What are your regards to all the other synchro teams who want to go forward and success?
Siiri Eskelinen: Be brave, have big dreams and keep your ambitions high!
Thank you so much Siiri and Good Luck for the next competition!