Katalyna Low, 11, and sister Allegra, 9, line up with their Esquimalt Speed Skating club during a training session at Archie Browning ice rink. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Little Saanich speed skaters make big strides

Saanich’s Low sisters off to the races

Will Low played a lot of sports in his day but the Saanich resident never speed skated.

How Katalyna, his 11-year-old daughter picked out speed skating as her out-of-school activity of choice, he still can’t figure.

“She wanted to try it and she stuck to it, now she’s doing alright,” Low said.

Low and his wife told the girls they’ll need to pick an activity, and Katalyna landed on the Olympic sport.

“I just like it,” said Katalyna, a Grade 6 student at Arbutus Global middle school. “My favourite part is the starts. The hardest part is the crossover to the blue line [of the hockey rink].”

Katalyna started three years ago and her sister younger Allegra, now 9, followed her into the sport. The two train once a week with the Esquimalt Speed Skating Club at Archie Browning arena.

The sisters now make the Vancouver sports pilgrimage to compete a number of times each year, including on the Richmond oval. They both went to the Richmond Vroom meet at the Olympic Oval back in February. This season, Katalyna has already competed at the Langley Interclub in October and both girls are going to the Port Coquitlam Interclub at the end of November. They’re also targeting one or two more competitions in the New Year, including the 2019 Richmond Vroom.

Most importantly, they’ve managed to finish first in some races, which is promising for their small but storied speed skating club (one of two in Greater Victoria, the Peninsula Club based out of Panorama Rec Centre being the other).

“A big goal for many of our skaters this year is the BC Short Track Championships in Prince George in early March,” said their coach, Ian Scott.

Katalyna has already qualified for the provincials but Allegra is still too young for that competition.

For more information on speed skating visit esquimaltspeedskating.org.

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