Potomac Speedskating Club Captures National Championship Title

Club’s teenage skaters break national records during March competition


Published:

Hailey Choi, member of the Potomac Speedskating Club, broke several national records for her age group in a competition last month.

Via Jackie Choi

A team of speed skaters from Potomac captured titles and broke records last month at a national competition in Michigan.

The Potomac Speedskating Club clinched the club championship title at the U.S. Short Track Age Group Nationals in mid-March, and team members earned several individual distinctions. Not only did 13-year-old Hailey Choi win first place in her division, but she also set new records for the 333-, 500-, 777- and 1,000-meter races. Fellow club member Brandon Kim broke his own record in the 500-meter in his division. Between the two of them, Hailey and Brandon accounted for five of seven new national records set during the contest in Midland.

Hailey’s mother, Jackie Choi, said Hailey first strapped on skates more than five years ago, and a coach immediately noticed she had a knack for flying across the ice.

“He saw great potential in her, and he advised me to start her on training,” Choi of Oakton, Virginia, said.

The Potomac club is coached by Simon Cho, a former short-track speedskater who won a bronze medal in the 2010 Olympics.

“The Washington metropolitan area has a very successful track record of producing elite level skaters and attracting some of the best coaches in the world,” Cho said in a prepared statement. “I am proud to be part of this fine tradition and even more proud to know that the future of speedskating looks bright with young stars like Hailey and Brandon leading the way.”

Choi said Hailey travels from Virginia to practice in Potomac six times each week, devoting four hours per day to training on and off the ice. Illness is no excuse for missing training, Choi said, and Hailey has only skipped three or four sessions since she started skating.

Her mother attributes the teen’s success at a national level to her toughness.

“She trains with boys who are three or four years older than she is,” Choi said. “If a coach tells her to do something, she does it. … She doesn’t back down because she’s a girl.”

Hailey does have dreams of competing in the Olympics in the faraway future, but right now, she’s shooting to get on the junior national team, her mother said.

Correction: An earlier version of the post included an incorrect date for the  U.S. Short Track Age Group Nationals. It took place in mid-March.

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