7 March 2024

Riverina skaters to make their debut at Skate NSW competition

| Chris Roe
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rollerskater with two coaches

Twin City Skate’s Kurt and Bec Wawszkowicz are proud of the community they have built around the sport in Wagga. Photo: Jen Graham.

A contingent of Riverina rollerskaters will take their first step (roll?) towards competition this weekend when they travel to Sydney to make their debut at the Skate NSW Artistic Summer Competition.

For coach Bec Wawszkowicz, it’s been a three-year journey from launching Twin City Skate with husband Kurt to building a committed squad of artistic skaters.

“I never imagined when we started doing this that skating with this club would become such an important aspect in other people’s lives,” she reflected.

“What they bring to the club is incredible and we wouldn’t exist without them, so I feel really lucky.”

a group of rollerskaters with their coach

Bec had been a competitive artistic rollerskater in her youth and only reconnected with the sport a few years ago.

“She didn’t do it for 20 years,” explained Kurt.

“Then basically she went skating, just to see if she could do it again, and when people saw what she was doing, some of them came up and asked how they could learn.”

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The couple decided to roll the dice and launched Twin City Skate in 2021.

As well as regular roller discos and classes, Bec has steadily built a core group of skaters who are keen to take their involvement in the sport to the next level.

“Some skaters came to us with pre-existing skills and the ability to skate recreationally, but a number of them started out in our learn-to-skate classes as teenagers and it’s been amazing to see their confidence grow and for them to now be at this level,” Bec said.

“We’re taking nine skaters from Wagga to represent the club and the region in the development stream, so this trip is more about participation at that level, which then leads on to competition.”

Bec explained that joining the development stream is a great way to get a taste of competition without being thrown into the deep end.

“I think that what the sport’s done to foster grassroots is an important way to keep growing and to retain people in the sport,” she said.

“It’s a format where the skaters get official professional feedback from the judges, but there are no scores and no places, so it’s a really friendly and non-confronting way to get into the competitive side of the sport.

“They are really motivated and the predominant emotion is excitement and not nerves, which is fantastic.”

After some gruelling years in the classroom, Bec has enjoyed sharing her love of skating with a new generation.

“I really enjoy the connections that I have with my teenage girls and it’s really lovely to see them grow as people and as skaters,” she said.

“You feel like you’re contributing something important, not just to their fitness, but also their wellbeing and helping to keep them positive and confident.

“They’re incredible and they’re doing this all themselves.”

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As the popularity of the sport has grown in the Riverina, Twin City Skate has progressed from one-off special events and school holidays to now hosting weekly Roller Discos every Saturday night at Wagga’s Bolton Park.

This Friday’s Rainbow Roller Disco is an official Wagga Mardi Gras event and, while sadly the artistic squad will miss out, Bec said it was shaping up to be huge.

“It’s a really fun, family-friendly event and we’ve got a great team that will keep it rolling while we’re in Sydney,” Bec said.

The Rainbow Roller Disco kicks off at 6 pm on Friday (8 March).

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