VICTORIA — Skating to Les Miserables, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch of the Kitchener-Waterloo Skating Club where anything but after their freeskate program on Saturday night.
The pairs team have been together for less than two years, but were crowned Canadian champions at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre with a freeskate that garnered scores of 122.90 for an overall total of 187.63.
They were flawless, save for their side by side spins late in the program when the Toronto-born Moscovitch seemed to stumble a bit.
But their jumps and lifts, especially their Group five Axel lasso lift, were excellent and the Waterloo-based team continue their drive to world prominence.
“It was an interesting one, it’s a place we’ve never been together as a team, having a lead (after the short program) like that and having to sustain that lead. Everything worked ... something easier than others,” said Moscovitch, 26. “And minus a tiny little bobble on my part, I think that was the strongest performance we’ve had this year.
“This is a step for us,” he added. “But I think it’s a big step, one we’ll remember forever.”
The Quebec team of Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford moved up from fourth after the short to win the silver (171.34) while Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers of Saskatchewan were third (168.11).
The pairs competition at the Canadian championships this year was wide open with the absence of three-time champions, and 2008 world championship bronze medallists, Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison. He is out for the season with a knee injury.
Moore-Towers and Moscovitch have only been together for under two years but have electrified the Canadian skating scene. They finished fifth at last year’s nationals, but have come on in a big way this season, placing second at both the Skate Canada and Skate America Grand Prix, and then finishing sixth at the Grand Prix Final — a huge accomplishment for such a new pair. On top of that, Moore-Towers is only 18. Moscovitch, who used to skate with his sister, Kyra, is 26.
They won Friday’s short with a score of 64.73 points, ahead of Lawrence and Swiegers and Mylene Brodeur and John Mattatall, who dropped to fourth overall.
“I knew we laid down some really solid elements and, as a whole, the program kept flowing,” said Moscovitch of their free.
Duhamel and Radford dazzled in their eclectic freeskate, nailing pretty well everything, though when he messed up a double early, but nothing major.
Duhamel, 25, used to skate with Craig Buntin, winning the silver medal at the nationals in 2009 and the bronze in 2008 and 2010, while finishing sixth at the 2008 world championships. Buntin retired in 2010. She and another former partner Ryan Arnold were the first skaters to perform a side-by-side triple Lutz in competition, which they did at the Canadians in 2005. They ended their partnership in March 2006. She hooked up with Radford in 2010 and finished third at the Nelbelhorn Trophy Grand Prix and are also a very promising Canadian pairs team.
Skating to Music from Van Helsing, Lawrence and Swiegers were “scary good”. They stumbled in the back end of a double Axel combination and he fell inexplicably skating backwards late in the program, but their lifts and their throws were magnificent, and they scored 108.73 for their free. He had to refocus prior to their program when a fan just missed him with a stuffed animal as they were warming up. He playfully stopped and scolded her, but the faux pas didn’t seem to throw him off at all.