Hewson Elliott’s training has become a lot more serious in the last three months, and he’s loving every minute of it.
The 18-year-old Brandonite, and former member of the Westman Speed Skating Club, moved out to Calgary in August to join the Oval Program, which trains some of the nation’s top speedskaters. He’s been working on and off the ice every day there in an attempt to become a world-class speedskater. He’s also working with some of Canada’s national team coaches and training with other top-end athletes as part of the program.
While he’s only been in Calgary for three months, Elliott already feels like it was the right decision to move.
“I’ve learned a lot about commitment and stuff because you have to train every day,” said Elliott, who earned silver and bronze medals in speedskating at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax. “You have to get up every morning and hit the ice every day with the same drive you had the day before. Also, you learn more determination and drive and all that stuff. Being around that environment helps because it’s one of the best places in the world for training in speedskating. It just provokes that feeling.”
Elliott, who’s also studying engineering at the University of Calgary, has set a goal of making the national junior team this season, which will allow him to participate in the junior worlds. The two long-track races he’s focused on are the 500 and 1,000 metres.
He competed in one event already this season, the Oval Invitational/World Cup Trials, a month ago in Calgary. Elliott finished 19th in Canada’s World Cup Trials 500m race with a two-heat combined time of one minute, 13.75 seconds. He also placed fifth in the Oval Invitational 1,000m, finishing in one minute 13.42 seconds.
Elliott is back in action this weekend at the first Canada Cup event of the season in Quebec City. He finished 27th in the 500m in a time of 40.28 seconds. He placed 32nd in the 1,000m heats in 1:22.60 and will take the ice for the 1,500m event on Sunday. Minnedosa’s Kyle Parrott, who participated in the 2010 Winter Olympics, finished fourth in the 500m with a time of 37.88 seconds. He was sixth in the 1,000m, finishing in 1:15.80.
Elliott isn’t focused on high placings this weekend. Instead, he’s using the event to prepare for the Canadian junior championships, Feb. 1-3 in Quebec City.
“I think of this event as a way to size up your competition because there’s going to be a lot of people competing next month that are all going to be here and they’re going to be reaching their peak,” said Elliott, who’s competing in the 1,500m race to train for the 1,000m. “It will be good to find out what the rest of Canada will be like at this point and know what you’re going to have to work on and stuff.”
Making it to the junior worlds has been a goal Elliott has had for quite a few years. He knows it will take a lot of work to get there, but it would mean a lot if he can make his goal a reality.
“It would mean the past few years I’ve been speedskating would be really good,” he said.