Hard work and training has earned speed skater Maddison Pearman a berth on the Canadian Junior National Team.
She competed at the Olympic Oval in Calgary Jan. 3 to 6 to make the team and not only did Pearman perform her personal best at the 500-metre race, she also placed fourth, strong enough to land her a spot.
Pearman is one of two 16-year-olds on the team, the other two members are 19. Coming into the competition Pearman knew she had a real chance at making the team.
“I kind of just didn’t think about it. I just skated calm and the plan was to focus on each race…I would have been focused on the end result.”
There were five races Pearman competed in; two 500-metre races, a 1,000-metre, a 1,500-metre race and a 3,000-metre race and she spent much of her summer training, especially in August — twice a day, six days a week — with the short track.
“It definitely helped me in the long track.”
Mother and coach Shawna Pearman helped write some of her training programs but a new coach has given her new routines to help Pearman peak at the right time.
“Now I’m getting training to build, build, build for the right moments,” she explained.
The past months have been busy for Pearman with about 14 to 18 hours per week spent training with competing for the junior team as a final goal. She exercises two to three times per week and skates a few hours a day four or five days per week.
Pearman is no stranger to competition. She is on the provincial junior team as well and to give her more experience the juniors competed in Roseville, Minn. for a Junior World Cup from Jan. 19 to 20.
This gives them a more international circuit for the junior, explained Pearman’s mother.
Once hearing she made the team, the young skater was excited.
“I kind of started crying a bit, but it really hasn’t sunk in completely I guess. It probably won’t feel completely real until I’m leaving for Italy.”
Two coaches are allowed in the longer races to help motivate her to keep a steady tempo. Mrs. Pearman reminds her daughter of the pace she keeps and the other coach gives her the discipline.
Maintaining focus is always a challenge and Pearman uses internal and external motivators — such as her mother — to remind her. It helps her keep the steady routine that Pearman feels has helped reach her goals.
The first few months were also tough work and she would tell herself, “If I don’t get up now I need to be training if I want to get to the next level. I can’t just put it off in training another day…Everyday I need to be putting as much effort as I can.”
Mrs. Pearman credits her daughter for being dedicated to training.
“It has to come from within…I can help her and be there and support her and push her when she needs to but I can’t make her do it.”
Pearman’s favourite event is the 1,000-metre race.
“In the 1,000 I’m at my peak speed and I still have another lap to build that…It’s usually my best distance.”
The team will compete in the Junior World Championships in Collalbo, Italy Feb. 22 to 24 and Pearman looks forward to the experience of racing and representing Canada.