Lucy Ginis skates to success with synchronized ice skating

Casey Braff

“When I was little, I had this book about a figure skater. I remember that she broke her ankle and everyone [said], ‘you’ll never skate again.’ But then she did, and she won a bunch of [competitions]. I found it really inspirational [and I told myself,] ‘I’m gonna be like her when I grow up,’” junior Lucy Ginis said. 

Lucy has been ice skating since kindergarten and competing with her team, known as the Tremors, since the fifth grade. Tremors is regulated by U.S. Figure Skating, the national governing body for figure skating in the U.S., and competes around the country in tournaments. Lucy’s team, composed of 12-20 girls from around the Bay Area, has been skating together for the past few years and practices at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco and Snoopy’s Ice Rink in Santa Rosa. Lucy is drawn to synchronized skating for both the team aspect and its unique art form. 

“I want to skate for the University of Michigan synchronized skating team [which is] where the sport was invented. It originated as cheerleaders on ice because [the school thought] ‘let’s get some cheerleaders [to cheer on] the hockey games,’” Lucy said (far left). (Photo courtesy of Lucy Ginis)

“What I like specifically about synchronized skating is [that] it’s less about the specific movements done strategically and more about how they all flow together. [Skating is] more of a dance. Plus, having teammates is [like having] built-in friends,” Lucy said. 

For Lucy, one of her favorite parts of the Tremors program and ice skating in general is the community and family aspect of the team.

“[Our team has] become a really tight-knit community. We’re always talking with each other and working with each other. [Synchronized skating] has taught me a lot about teamwork and trust because I am physically holding onto [my teammates], and I am depending on them not to fall,” Lucy said.

The affection Lucy has for her teammates goes both ways. Vinia Ng, a senior at Burlingame High School and one of Lucy’s teammates for the past five years, recognizes the closeness Lucy’s positivity brings to the team. 

Lucy’s team of 12-20 women is incredibly close after competing in competitions across the U.S. (Photo courtesy of Lucy Ginis) (5th from the left)

“[Lucy is] definitely the glue and brings everyone together … She’s very welcoming and easy to talk to. She’s encouraging and she’s always positive [which is] super refreshing,” Ng said.

According to Lucy’s older sister, Marnie Ginis, Lucy’s team worked incredibly hard to win first place at the Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Championships, and Lucy’s drive is what brought the team there. 

“[Lucy] started out on [a] lower [level] team and worked her way up. [Her team] won sectionals two years ago. It’s really impressive,” Marnie said. 

For Lucy, winning sectionals was one of the most memorable moments in her figure skating career thus far. All of the early morning wake-ups, countless hours practicing and dedication paid off at their competition in Kansas. 

“We did not expect to win,” Lucy said. “After they announced third, [we gave up] and [thought,] ‘oh yeah, whatever, we tried,’ [but] then [the announcers said] ‘In first place, Tremors,’ and we just freaked out. It felt really great,” Lucy said.

The win was a surprise to the team because they did not see the other teams compete. Her teammate Ng shared the same sentiment about the unexpected victory that the team had. 

“Honestly even our coaches didn’t put too much pressure on us because the competition at sectionals is very intense. We went there hoping to have fun and just do our best, as cliche as that sounds, and we just happened to win. So it was insane,” Ng said. 

Competing alone can bring on performance anxiety for Lucy, but competing with her team is very different for her. Not only does Lucy’s team look to her for support, but they are her support system when competing. 

I really can’t take the pressure of [competing alone], but when I’m in a team, it’s not a problem at all. My brain just leaves, and it’s completely muscle memory. I’ll get off the ice and [think,] ‘[did those last] five minutes actually happen?’ And I just don’t feel any pressure at all,” Lucy said. 

Ecstatically receiving the 1st place medal for her team at the Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Pacific Championships, Lucy smiles at the presenter. (Photo courtesy of Lucy Ginis)

Lucy’s effortless skills on the ice and all that she accomplished come from her unwavering determination and work ethic. Marnie recognizes the amount of dedication and hard work Lucy puts into skating, especially considering that she wakes up at five a.m. in order to have her parents drive her to San Francisco and Santa Rosa to skate before school. 

“She has to [say] ‘I want [to skate] enough that I’m gonna ask [my parents] to make the sacrifices [to drive me there],’” Marnie said. “No one else is pushing her. She has to not only push herself but [she] also [must] show our parents that she’s really committed. All of the persistence is [from] her.”