Duhamel and Radford lead pairs at 2013 Canadian Nationals

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford perform their Short Program at the 2013 Canadian National Figure Skating Championships.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford perform their Short Program at the 2013 Canadian National Figure Skating Championships.

The senior pairs discipline was the shortest event at the 2013 Canadian Tire Figure Skating Championships, with only six pairs taking the ice. Fortunately, the level of skating was very high, and the event turned out to be a memorable one.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (QC) skated away with a narrow victory over Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch (WO), while Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers (SK) finished third.

Duhamel and Radford’s short to La Bohème was packed with difficulty—they earned level 3 and 4 for all of their elements, including a level 3 triple twist that earned mostly +2 Grades of Execution (GOE).

The skaters, both 27,  have a natural advantage over their competitors as they do side-by-side triple Lutzes, as well as a throw triple Lutz in the short program.

“We know what our possible marks are,” Radford said. “We know that we can score around 70 with a perfect program. As we go towards Worlds, the next competitions, it’s going to be great to have two [Canadian] teams getting those kinds of scores.”

They did not let the pressure get to them, however, and they were able to perform well. A stumble from Radford on the landing of the triple Lutz was the only error in this program, which earned a record high score for them of 69.08 points.

Duhamel and Radford skated after Moore-Towers and Moscovitch, so they knew that they needed a new personal best in order to take the lead.

“We were back here and heard their scores; we’d never scored 68 before,” Duhamel said. “Being the competitive people we are, I think that hearing that score gave us a little oomph, it gave us that push through the door.”

Moore-Towers (20) and Moscovitch (28) laid down the gauntlet when they skated first in the second flight. Their program was cleaner than Duhamel and Radford’s, but they did not have quite the difficulty, performing only side-by-side triple toe loops and a triple loop throw.

The team up most of the technical difference in GOE, though, and they were happy with how they performed.

“Being in the second position, it’s nice that it’s close,” Moore-Towers said. “It definitely makes for an exciting competition tomorrow. We skated our best, that’s all we can do.”

“We took some fire from it and it fueled us to train harder,” Moscovitch said about their disappointing outing at the Canadian Championships last year, where they finished third.

Lawrence (22) and Swiegers (25) sit in third with 54.42 points. Lawrence fell on her triple toe loop, and the team also only earned a level 1 for the death spiral. Unfortunately, the 14-point gap seems to put them out of contention for the top two, a level that they achieved for the first time last year.

“When you train at home, you always get that one in ten,” Swiegers said about the level of consistency of their program in practice. “Unfortunately, we had that one in ten out here today. We set ourselves up in third for the long, so we’re just going to go out there tomorrow and do that nine out of ten.”

“We’re a team, and it takes two to do well,” Lawrence said. “He (Swiegers) did very well and I made a mistake today.”

Close behind with 54.25 points are Margaret Purdy and Michael Marinaro (WO), who have had a great season on the junior circuit this fall. They had a couple of shaky landings in their short program, on both the triple twist and the throw triple loop, but they kept their composure overall. The defending silver medalists showed an excellent connection in their program to O Mio Babbino Caro.

Brittany Jones and Ian Beharry (WO) also had a solid short program, one that felt a bit more consistent in terms of technical elements than what Purdy and Marinaro did, but the team looked a bit new. It will simply take time for them to gel as a team.

Taylor Steele and Simon-Pierre Côté (WO), who had to skate first in the short program, will also lead off the free skate, as they are in sixth. Although they had to fight for some landings as well, the program was particularly impressive for anyone who realized that they had only been training together for a few months.

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