As part of our synchronized skating series, we discover Alexandra Del Vecchio, coach in the Suprêmes family of Canada. Let's meet her in Saint-Léonard, Montreal.
Can you introduce yourself and explain your background?
Alexandra Del Vecchio: I started synchro at the age of 11. I had been skating since I was 3 and wanted to try something new. I started off with a pre-juvenile team my first year and the year after went up to Nova Novice. I did 3 years novice then decided I wanted to go in the competitive stream, so I tried out for Les Suprêmes Junior. I did 2 years of Junior and then 3 of Senior with Les Suprêmes. I then went on to do 2 years of Open with them. I was very lucky to have had the opportunity of working with the Suprêmes Juvenile team under Linda Sbrissa’s wing for 2 years. She founded the Suprêmes family (around 35 years ago, if not more). I’m now co-coach of the Juvenile team.
Why did you decide to become a synchronized skating coach?
Alexandra Del Vecchio: I decided to coach synchro because it is my passion. Since I started University, I had to stop competitive synchro skating. So I get to live my synchro passion through my girls. Also, we are given so many tools as skaters that it is our duty to pass along our experience and knowledge to the new generations of synchronized figure skaters.
For you, what is the most difficult in coaching?
Alexandra Del Vecchio: What I find most difficult about coaching synchronized skating is dealing with the drama between the girls but also between the parents. We, as coaches, can control what we do on the ice, but what happens off the ice is more of a touchy subject, especially when you are dealing with 20 girls but also 40 parents. It is also very hard, when competition time comes around, to tell the girls who are alternating who will be skating and who will not. As a skater and person, I would like to make every girl skate because they work very hard, but as a coach, you must make a calculated and very tough decision.
What do you personally get from synchronized skating?
Alexandra Del Vecchio: Synchro has brought me amazing friendships that will last a lifetime, great memories and feelings, discipline, organization, perseverance, communication, teamwork etc. I also got to travel with my synchro teams, which is something I am very thankful for. Synchro has also made me a very hard working person.
A highlight this season?
Alexandra Del Vecchio: When the Suprêmes Open team went from being last to first in the second skate at Provincials. It was a pivotal moment in the season because before leaving for this competition, we had changed more than half our program in less than 2 weeks.
What is your assessment of this 2016-2017 season?
Alexandra Del Vecchio: When a team comes together, they can accomplish great things. This season was overall a very successful year for the Juvenile and the Open team.
How do you plan summer with your teams?
Alexandra Del Vecchio: This summer we will work a lot on skating skills and getting the girls skating to be more synchro. It will also be a good time to work on all the elements that will be in the juvenile program for the 2017-2018 season, individually. We also take this time to work on the girls’ flexibility and endurance.
What do you think synchro skaters should do during the summer?
Alexandra Del Vecchio: Skating skills are very important because you will teach your girls the same techniques for turns and cross-cuts etc., so their skating will be the same. Working off-ice is also very important to improve the work on the ice.
And for next season, what's new for your teams?
Alexandra Del Vecchio: Linda Sbrissa has retired after being the Juvenile coach for 35 years so it is a big change for me (since I coached with her for 2 years) and for the girls who have looked up to Linda for so many years.