Who says change is hard? There have been curveballs aplenty thrown Brianna Delmaestro's way this year, but the 17-year-old Coquitlam figure skater has dealt with each new transition with relative ease.
Concussions, new routines, a new partner, a switch in skating disciplines and graduating from high school - Delmaestro has had less than six months to absorb it all.
"All of the change has been for the better. It's been easy to switch and everything's been going really good," she said.
The first, and arguably the biggest, shift for Delmaestro came last year when she switched from singles skating to ice dancing. Shortly after that decision, she parted ways with her former partner Graeme Gordon, and linked up with Burnaby native Timothy Lum.
Since that time, the pair has nailed down top-three placements at enough marquee events to land themselves firmly on the Skate Canada radar. The pair was recently selected by the national skating body to represent Canada on the International Skating Union ISU) Junior Grand Prix Circuit, and their first competition goes later this month in Poland.
That test represents the apex of Delmaestro's competitive career to this point.
"We've been training really hard," said the Coquitlam Skating Club member. "I'm a bit nervous, but I'm mostly excited. This has been a goal of mine for a long time. It's really exciting."
For Lum, however, the upcoming eastern European jaunt won't be his first rodeo. He's been competing on the ISU circuit for two years, and said his new partner has to approach the competition as though it's just another day at the office.
"I don't think she needs to be nervous, but if she is, I'd just tell her to think of it like any
other competition and like any other day," he said. "Our partnership is already pretty strong and I think we work together pretty well. I think she's a naturally gifted, solid skater."
That the pair is prepping for a major international event just two months after their first competition together is a feat unto itself.
And there certainly were roadblocks along the way.
Delmaestro suffered her second concussion in less than a year while training in April, an injury that prevented her from doing much of anything outside of stretching and visualizing.
"You never really know how long it's going to take before you'll feel better - you can't really do much until the symptoms go away," she said. "I did a lot of stretching, but there really wasn't much else I could do. It was hard. But I've had a lot of injuries even in my singles skating career, so I guess I've learned that you just have to wait it out."
Though the two had agreed to pair up in February, it wasn't until July that they saw their first competitive action together. They then copped third in junior short dance at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. later that month.
From there, the duo nailed a pair of secondplace finishes in junior short dance and junior free dance at the Minto Cup in Ottawa before claiming third overall at the B.C. Summerskate competition last month.
It was the spate of success that garnered them the vote of confidence from Skate Canada to make the jump up to the ISU circuit.
"We worked really hard to try and develop chemistry together while learning to skate together. We're still learning, but I found it fairly easy to skate with him. He's a really strong skater and he's a really good partner too," she said.
Delmaestro and Lum will be competing in the ISU event from Sept. 18 to 22 in Gdansk, Poland.
© Copyright 2013