Building athletes on wheels and blades

April 10, 2019, 3:40 p.m. (ET)

US Speedskating athletes traded their ice skates for inlines at the 2019 Banked Track Clinic in Colorado Springs last weekend. Olympians Joey Mantia, Erin Jackson and Mitch Whitmore teamed up with skaters Anna Quinn, Ethan Cepuran, Rebecca Simmons, Ethan Cepuran, Austin Kleba, Ian Quinn, Brianna Bocox and Liz Johnson to participate in the four-day camp where they learned the basics of inline speedskating.

Cepuran didn’t know what to expect going into the camp. He’d never skated inline and admitted to being a little intimidated. “As the weekend went on it got much easier to be comfortable and have more fun with it. I definitely think that I can incorporate some of the passing drills that we went over into the mass start.”

Johnson had skated inline a few times but before the camp, didn’t feel comfortable enough to use it for off-season training. “Inline skating is a useful training tool, especially in the summer months when the ice is out,” she said. “The camp effectively introduced inline to ice speed skaters that did not have a background in inline.”

Although Jackson has an extensive inline background, including several world championship titles, she found the camp to be very challenging. “It was really hard. I’ve been on ice for so long and I haven’t used my inline muscles for a while. I’m definitely feeling it.”

Jackson will race in the Inline Outdoor Nationals, with the hope of making the World Championship team that will compete in July, and the Pan American team that will compete in August.

“Wheels or blades, we are all speed skaters,” said USS Skate Tech Chris Needham. “These two camps proved that while we may be managed by two different NGBs we are now working together to make speed skating in the United States stronger.”

Last fall, inline speed skaters participated in an ice speedskating camp at the Utah Olympic Oval where they learned the basics of long and short track skating. These camps are part of a program to develop athletes in both disciplines.

“The overall world of speed skating in the United States, be it on ice or inline skates, is dramatically better today for both USA Roller Sports and US Speedskating,” said Eric Steele, USA Roller Sports Executive Director. “With the completion of the fall and spring transition clinic camps, both organizations have taken a much needed step toward embracing the concept principles of cross training and talent transfer. We couldn’t be more pleased to see what the future holds for the athletes and coaches as they take the next steps of competing on the track.”