12 February 2019
A gifted Roedean pupil is set to represent Great Britain in a sport that she took up just 12 months ago.
Speed skater Alex Snowdon, 11, will be part of Team GB at the International Skating Union (ISU) Country Match Competition in Norway this month and will go onto represent her country once again in March when she competes in the European Youth Championships.
Yet just a year ago she had never thought of entering the sport. 12 months on, her remarkable talent has earned her a short track speed skating ranking of 17th in the world for the 333m distance.
Alex skates both shorttrack and long track – the former is a lightning-fast, adrenaline-fuelled winter sport full of unpredictability, where skaters reach speeds of up to 50-kmph on blades 46cm long and only 1mm thick. The latter is the equivalent of running races in athletics – but on ice. Held on a 400m track it is the fastest a person can go using only their own muscle power without any assistance
She is, however, no stranger to the ice as she had previously been a figure skater from the age of three and has competed for Great Britain a number of times in ice dance, winning four international golds in Copenhagen in 2016 and 2017 and one bronze medal in Andorra in 2017 in the process. Alex, aged just 10, was also the 2017 U13 British Solo Ice Dance silver medalist.
Alex explained: “I have always loved the ice and from as early as I can remember I have had skates on. I loved competitive ice dancing but speed skating looked like so much fun!
“I took time out from ice dance to focus on speed skating and after just a couple of months I decided I did not want to go back. Speed skating is my life now and I seem to have adjusted quickly to two new styles of skates and a new style of skating.
“I started working really hard through last summer in preparation for the competition season starting in September. At the beginning of the season, I got my short track time down to 59 seconds for a 500m distance and started shaving off seconds each time I competed until, at 56 seconds, I qualified to compete in the ISU Star Class series, a European competition exclusively for Europe’s elite young speed skaters.”
Alex has an impressive training schedule that sees her travel to The Hague in Holland with her parents almost every weekend during September to March’s competition season to train on a long track rink as there are none in the UK.
Back at school during the week, she puts in hours of fitness training each day after school. With a glittering skating future ahead of her, she has her eyes firmly set on competing at the 2026 Winter Olympics.
She added: “I know I can get there if I put in the training. It’s definitely something I feel I can do. It would be such a proud moment to represent my country at the Olympics!”
Roedean’s Director of Enrichment Dr Ross Barrand added: “Alex works incredibly hard and puts so much time and effort into her sport. We are extremely proud of her. Her achievements are an inspiration to everyone at school.”