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A figure skating pair training out of Regina has set their focus on international success.
Ashlyn Schmitz and Tristan Taylor will be competing at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Calgary between Feb. 27 and Mar. 5.
The competition is the culmination of a five-year journey as partners and their first world championship.
“We started young and so now we’re kind of both growing up a little bit,” said Taylor, who is originally from Wolseley, about 100 km east of Regina.
Taylor chose figure skating over hockey at a young age because he was enjoying it more.
Schmitz, originally from Shellbrook, about 400 km northwest of Regina, stated she came to love the sport through watching events on television.
“My parents put me in learn-to-skate when I was little and I really liked watching it on TV, so I was a little bit obsessed from a young age,” she said.
The pairs growth has been physical, mental and emotional. Both of them lost loved ones in 2022 with Schmitz’s grandmother dying in the summer and Taylor’s father dying in the fall.
“I’ve been able to come to the rink and just like go a little bit and relax and try and not think about anything else that’s happening,” Schmitz said.
They stated it’s been a struggle to work through grief but that the sport has given them an outlet. And their partnership is part of their burgeoning success. “She is very opposite to me in a lot of ways,” Taylor said. “We kind of balance each other out.”