La Jolla may not exactly be known as the figure skating capital of the country, but a pretty good skater calls the area home.
Skylar Economy, a freshman at La Jolla High School, has been figure skating for about nine years.
According to Economy, it was one day after kindergarten that her mom asked her if she wanted to try to skate because she received a coupon from a magazine for a free skating session.
“Right when I got on the ice, I fell in love with the sport,” Economy said.
Years later, Economy has turned that love into a sport in which she is winning medals and skating toward even bigger days ahead.
Economy is a member of San Diego’s Team del Sol, which recently went to Portland, Maine and captured the bronze medal at the 2009 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships.
“We were against the top 12 intermediate teams in the nation and placed third overall,” Economy continued. “Our skate was clean and, overall, a nice way to end the season. Our program was ‘fire’ themed so we had music and choreography that went along with it. We did a fire theme this year because we wanted to do a tribute towards San Diego and everyone affected by the devastating fires that occurred last year. Two sisters on our team, Erin and Megan Winslow, their grandparents lost their home; and another girl, Cassie Bishop, lost her own house due to the fires. We wanted to show that we can succeed and work really hard, after a terrible circumstance that affected us all. Not too many other teams we competed against can say that.”
Economy noted that Team del Sol held up strong and kept going to practices because of its drive and love for the sport and team.
“This last competition was really emotional for a few of the girls because they are going to college next year and they have been on the team even longer than I have,” Economy said. “We wanted to skate for the fire victims, everyone watching, but mostly ourselves and each other. Since there’s 18 people on the team, before competition we always say, ‘18 bodies, one soul’.’’
For Economy, her personal ice skating schedule consists of waking up at around 4:50 every morning before school and skating for about two hours. She also skates sometimes after school and has a conditioning class every Tuesday for about an hour to build strength and endurance.
On the weekends, Economy skates with Team del Sol for about two hours on Saturdays, having to wake up at 3:50 a.m. Then on Sunday, the members skate anywhere between 1 1/2 hours to even 3 1/2 hours.
“It’s usually pretty intense practices, especially before competition,” Economy said. “We recently added early morning Tuesday practices where I wake up at around 3 a.m. to skate with the team, then skate individually. Before competitions, I really try to skate more so that I can really practice my program so that I feel confident. It’s really hard and sometimes I will get tired of it and want to be a ‘normal’ teenager and sleep in on the weekends and not have to wake up extra early before school.”
On days where Economy may want to sleep in, she reminds herself about how much ice skating means to her and all of the lessons she has learned from it.
“It’s a great sport to make friendships with people that share the same interests as you, and they actually get that you wake up at 4 a.m. for a reason and it’s not just because it’s a sport,” Economy points out.
While Team del Sol has finished for this season, Economy’s individual skating season has just begun. This month, she will compete for the first time in a higher level at “Skate la Grande” and the La Jolla Open as well.
Economy, who said she has always looked up to two-time Olympic bronze and silver medalist Michelle Kwan, treks each summer to Ice Castle in Lake Arrowhead. It is a training center where the top skaters like Mao Asada from Japan and Jeffery Buttle practice.
“Michelle Kwan used to skate there when she still competed, and I take lessons from her coach,” Economy said.
Obviously all the lessons Economy has taken are paying off as she skates her way toward success and fun on the ice.