Synchronized skating is a is a great way for figure skaters to compete in a sport they love while enjoying all of the aspects of competing together on a team, both in U.S. Figure Skating competitions and recreational ISI competitions. Since 1984, when U.S. Figure Skating held the first U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, the sport has grown such that approximately 600 synchronized teams are registered with U.S.F.S., and nearly 5,000 athletes participate annually in the synchronized skating sectional championships.
Each team is comprised of 8-20 skaters who perform a free skate program together with various required synchronized elements. The sport uses the same judging system as singles, pairs and dance and is characterized by teamwork, speed, intricate formations and challenging step sequences. Elements in synchronized skating include blocks, circles, wheels, lines, intersections, move elements, creative elements, no holds elements, spins and pairs moves. Synchronized Skating Required Elements (PDF)
Under U.S.F.S. guidelines, synchronized teams are categorized at 14 different levels, according to age and skill. St. Louis Synergy Synchronized Skating generally fields 6-8 teams ranging from Formation and Synchro Skills (beginner) to the highest Junior level.
All of the teams except Formation (which competes mostly locally), compete in at least one National competition, generally in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Starting at the developmental levels of preliminary and pre-juvenile, St. Louis Synergy teams compete every year at the Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships, hosted in different places across the Midwest (and occasionally the Pacific coast area). Synergy teams competing at the juvenile, intermediate, novice or junior level compete at the sectional championships to earn a spot at the National U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. St. Louis Synergy’s past Junior team performed well enough at Nationals to earn a spot to compete as part of Team USA at the Mozart Cup in Salzburg, Austria.
USFS has strict guidelines as to what skill levels, moves in the field testing, and ages are required for each level of team:
Synchro Skills 1, 2 or 3: Comprised of 8-16 skaters. No skaters may have passed higher than a preliminary test.
Preliminary: Comprised of 8-16 skaters. Skaters must be under 12 years old, with the majority of the team under 10 years old.
Pre-juvenile: Comprised of 8-16 skaters. The majority of the team must be under 13 years old.
Open Juvenile: Comprised of 8-16 skaters. All skaters must be under age 20. All skaters must have passed the Pre-preliminary moves in the field test.
Juvenile: Comprised of 12-20 skaters. Skaters must be under 13 and have passed the Pre-juvenile moves in the field test.
Intermediate: Comprised of 12-20 skaters. Skaters must be under 18 and have passed the Juvenile moves in the field test.
Novice: Comprised of 12-20 skaters. Skaters must be under 16 years old, with the exception of four skaters who may be 16 or 17. All skaters must have passed the Intermediate moves in the field test.
Junior: Comprised of 12-16 skaters. Skaters must be at least 13 years old and under 19 years old. All skaters must have passed the Novice moves in the field test.
Formation: St. Louis Synergy also generally fields a team that is comprised of beginning skaters, who have generally passed at least the alpha level of learn to skate classes.