Shepard High School Sophomore Gia Swanson and Junior Jenna Bader will be traveling to Milan, Italy, to compete with Team USA figure skating in February.
Team Elite became the first team in U.S figure skating history to earn a place on the Team USA. These girls have qualified with other members of the Team Elite.
The team they are going to Italy with is a Junior Team.
Not only is the U.S going to be there, Russia, Sweden and Finland and many more countries will be competing. This will be their first competition on an international stage!
Jenna Bader has been skating since she was seven years old. Her skating career all started when she was six doing a research project on Michelle Kwan who is a figure skater.
“I thought it was very cool and unique compared to other sports,” said Bader. “Ever since then I asked my mom to get me a pair of skates and luckily there’s an ice rink five minutes away from my house.”
Bader works extremely hard to achieve her goals. She practices for about 10 hours every week, and has accomplished so much.
“My greatest accomplishment was when last year we won sectionals and my coach chose me and my other teammate to stand on the podium as gold medalist.”
With all the hard work and practice Bader has also made it on Team USA! “It was the best moment of my life,” said Bader. “Having my dreams come true as an athlete because all of your dedication and hard work pays off in the end.”
Jenna is skating in the level of Moves in Field Gold Medalist and is in Pre-Gold Ice Dance. For solo, she is on Juvenile Free Skate.
Moves in field is considered a “prerequisite” or a baseline test series. This tests the skater’s ability in skating skills. Each level in Moves in the Field consists of four – six patterns that must be performed by the skater.
Athletes move at their own pace in these tests.
Skating isn’t the only sport Jenna does. Here at Shepard, Jenna has joined the volleyball team her freshman year and Leo Club, she also was on varsity track since her sophomore year. Besides sports, she’s also involved in National Honor Society.
Sophomore Gia Swanson is the other half of this incredibly talented duo. Swanson has been skating since she was seven years old.
This all started back in elementary school, “every half day, the PFA of our school held a fundraiser at the Southwest Ice Arena. I went one day to skate and fell in love with the sport.”
Swanson and her team skate at the junior level. Senior is the highest level in synchronized skating.
With all the hard work Swanson puts in her skating career she has accomplished so much! “My greatest accomplishment is being a part of Team USA for synchronized skating,” said Swanson. “also winning first at Midwestern sectionals at the novice level last season.”
Other than skating, Gia Swanson has played softball before, and is involved in many clubs here at Shepard. “I’m a part of Mathletes, Student Council, German Club, and Leo Club.”