Stephanie Sze is a freshman of Manhasset High School who belongs to the Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team. Their team got a gold medal in the intermediate level of 2023 Eastern Synchronized Skating Championships hosted in Norwood, MA in mid-January. Since they are the no. 1 team on the East Coast, they qualified for the 2023 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Peoria, Illinois and earned a Pewter medal at the national level.
Synchronized skating offers athletes the chance to compete with a team and learn the value of teamwork and camaraderie. Formed in 1956 by Dr. Richard Porter, the sport was known as “precision skating” for the intricate moves skaters perform on the ice together. U.S. Figure Skating held the first U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in 1984 and the first World Synchronized Skating Championships in 2000. Today, there are about 600 registered synchronized teams in the United States.
We caught up with Sze recently and she graciously answered a few questions.
(1) What is synchronized figure skating?
Synchronized skating is a sport where 16 skaters are on the ice simultaneously, performing a highly technical form of team skating characterized by speed, accuracy, intricate formations and transitions. They also require certain requirements in the program, such as circles, lines, blocks, and a variety of intersections. The judges are looking for both technical and artistic elements, and require skaters to have speed, unity, and flow.
(2) How did you get started in the sport?
I started skating when I was seven, and I quickly discovered my love for the sport. After I performed at the 2016 end of the year show in Great Neck, I watched their local synchronized skating team. I was so amazed by their performance. It made me want to join the other skaters who shared the same passion that I did. That is how I started synchronized skating. Two years later, I advanced to a level that the Long Island teams could not offer, so I decided to join Skyliners, based in Connecticut. They were one of the most reputable and highly respected teams in the US. My choice of sport definitely wasn’t as popular as other sports, but I really loved it from the start, and so this started the drive to my Connecticut practice every weekend for the past five years.
(3) Can you give me some highlights of your career so far?
For my individual figure skating, I earned the gold medal at the 2019 State Games of America, as well as at the 2022 Boston Open. I am also a gold medalist in moves in the field. For synchronized skating, I am a three-time Eastern Sectional Champion (2019, 2020, 2023), and the 2023 US National Championship pewter medalist.
(4) What’s next for you?
I just advanced to the junior level of the Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team. This team has been chosen to represent Team USA for the past 11 years and has ended up on the podium for the past four consecutive years in the World Synchronized Skating Championships. They travel abroad to compete for the Challenger Series Synchronized Skating and have been to France, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. They just won their seventh National title and broke the record for the most number of gold medals at nationals. I am very excited and hope to gain many more achievements and experiences from being on this team.