Canadians command pairs short in Salt Lake City
Moore-Towers, Moscovitch say: 'You ain't seen nothing yet;' Zhang, Bartholomay take third
|Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch don't think they're peaking too soon. (Jay Adeff)|
"They're not leaving a stone unturned, that's for sure," said Kris Wirtz, who coaches the skaters in Kitchener-Waterloo. "As I've been saying, 'Sometimes you have to take a bump to come back to where you ought to be.'"
For the third time this season, the rejuvenated duo performed their short to a Parisian Waltz, showing off Vancouver-based Mark Pillay's charmingly intricate choreography and inventive transitions with aplomb and speed.
The 2011 Canadian champions opened with a solid Level 3 triple twist, followed by side-by-side triple toe loops and a throw triple loop. Three of their other elements, including the lift, rated Level 4, and they earned 63.34 points.
Asked if he worried they were peaking too soon, Moscovitch was emphatic: "Not at all. The elements at this point are solid; we're not worried about them. We're more concerned about the program components, the energy and flow in the program.
"Today, we're definitely on the right track, getting everything done, but we're not peaking yet."
Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers sit second with 54.43 points after an expressive short choreographed by Carol Lane and Yuri Razguliaiev.
Although Lawrence fell on an opening triple toe loop, the Canadian bronze medalists hit a solid throw triple flip and closed with a spectacular Level 4 lift.
"This short is something new for us; we've always been known for doing fun short programs and this year we wanted something more mature," Swiegers said. "We wanted to have moments between us and bring the audience in, as opposed to projecting outward to the audience. Today was one of the first times we had a chance to portray what we were going for."
The music is from the Sean Connery/Audrey Hepburn film Robin and Marian, but that's not the story Lawrence and Swiegers are telling.
"The idea is to showcase two pairs' kids, our story, how we come from the prairies, and give it an earthy feeling," Lawrence said. "It's more of a feelings program than a theme ... It's interesting for us, and I think Carol and Yuri have given us a really strong vehicle."
Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay, eighth at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, earned 47.44 points for an outing to the Cocoon soundtrack that had a few unsteady moments, including under-rotated triple toe loops and a shaky landing on a throw triple flip. They also showed intricate steps and a strong "hand-to-hand" group lift with an entrance from a low dance lift and sweeping drop exit.
"This was our first international debut, in the States, which is awesome," Bartholomay said. "We were a little tight, which is understandable, but we pushed through it."
Lindsay Davis and Mark Ladwig, who -- like Zhang and Bartholomay -- train in Ellenton, Fla., opened their short with clean side-by-side triple Salchows and also hit a throw triple Salchow, but had an intended triple twist downgraded to a double. They earned 45.58 points, which was good enough for fourth place.
"We learn stuff every time we go out there," Ladwig said (the skaters teamed up in May). "There are positives that came through today, like our jumps. Obviously, we're still working on things like the triple twist. We're going to make some mistakes, but we're going to learn from them."
"The technical aspect is the most difficult thing to get together at the beginning, so we're really focused on that right now," Davis said. "We're trying to match our skating styles and start to blend everything together."
Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin, ninth at the 2012 U.S. Championships, had skated solid shorts in practice here, but Vise fell on a triple toe Friday, and the team doubled an intended throw triple flip. They are fifth with 40.99 points.
"It was a rough skate, not like we have been practicing," Vise said. "We have been perfect here. The timing wasn't on [for] a lot of things. We had a great double twist, and Donny did a good toe."
Danielle Montalbano and Evgeni Krasnopolski of Israel sit sixth with 38.76 points.