THE CANADIAN PRESS
Rudi Swiegers tosses Paige Lawrence in the air during the Virden pairs skaters’ short program on Tuesday in Sochi.
SOCHI, Russia — Virden pairs skaters Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers saved their best performance of the season for the Olympics.
Paige Lawrence hugs coach Lyndon Johnston, a Hamiota native, with coach Patty Hole of Virden and Rudi Swiegers (far right) Tuesday at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The two Saskatchewan-born skaters, who have lived and trained in Virden for the past five years, posted a personal-best score of 58.97 to finish 13th overall out of the world’s top 20 pairs skaters in Tuesday’s short program. Lawrence, 23, and Swiegers, 26, qualified for today’s free skate, which is slated to start at 9:45 a.m. (TSN).
"It was fun," Lawrence told Beth Smith of Skate Canada. "The whole time, I’m thinking, ‘I’m at the Olympics!’"
Lawrence, who is still skating with a groin injury that she said is about 80 per cent recovered, put a hand down on a difficult throw triple Lutz, but was overall thrilled with their performance.
"This is our first Olympics," Lawrence told Skate Canada. "We have never even been to worlds before. So when we stepped on the ice, I kept saying, ‘This is awesome. This is so awesome.’"
Lawrence and Swiegers are coached by Virden’s Patty Hole, with help from former Canadian Olympic figure skater Lyndon Johnston of Hamiota, who is coaching a trio of pairs teams from the U.S., Britain and Canada.
Meanwhile, Canada’s top two pairs teams are in medal contention with Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford fifth after their short program with 72.21 points, while Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch sit sixth after scoring 70.92.
Russia’s Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov finished first with 84.17 points, well ahead of Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy at 79.64 points.
» The Canadian Press-Skate Canada
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 12, 2014