Spotlight on Nate Bartholomay
An Unseen Skaters special. January 8, 2005.
15-year-old Nate Bartholomay is the 2005 U.S. Intermediate Pairs champion who has also qualified for Nationals in novice singles on his first try. He won the Novice Menís title at South Atlantic Regionals and placed 2nd at Eastern Sectionals. His coaches are a family affair - Vicki Helgenberg and her son, Brian, and daughter, Donna, as the choreographer. Bartholomay represents the University of Delaware FSC and trains in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.
How did it feel to win your second consecutive national pairs title (Juvenile in 2004, Intermediate in 2005) with your partner, Meg Byrne, at Junior Nationals earlier this month?
It felt great! Meg and I both worked very hard in practice and we had been very consistent in our practices so we were thrilled to be able to perform well at the competitions.
How does pairs skating and training help you in your singles skating?
Skating pairs has made me stronger especially my upper body. My skating has also improved because I have to know where my feet are at all times especially in the lifts. Also I think I am more conditioned because I have to train an extra program every day.
How would you describe the feeling of qualifying for "big" Nationals in singles for the first time?
It feels amazing. I worked really hard this year to improve after moving from intermediate to novice. Just having the opportunity to compete at Nationals is a thrill for me.
When and how did you begin skating?
I started skating at a local rink when I was 8, basically because my sister, Jamie, skated. My mom arranged for a figure skating lesson for me to keep me from being bored. I thought it was a really bad idea but after an hour of being out there I was hooked. I couldn't wait to go back the next day.
What has been the most memorable moment in your skating career so far?
The most memorable moment so far was winning Junior Nationals with Meg the second time.
What has been the biggest challenge or disappointment that you have overcome in your skating career?
Without a doubt, my biggest disappointment was at the U.S. Championships last year when I was intermediate. I completely fell apart in the qualifying round, and did not make the cut. I was angry with myself because I had been skating so well all year. When I got home I started working a lot on consistency. I knew it would take off a lot of pressure if I knew I would land the jumps consistently.
How long have you been working with your current coaches and how would you
describe their coaching styles and philosophies?
I have been working with Vicki and Donna Helgenberg for about 2 years, I started with Brian Helgenberg about one year ago. Vicki is a very stern and demanding coach. She demands excellence in every practice and in every session. One of the things that she focuses on is consistency and detail. She always says that nothing is ever perfect and you can always make it better. Donna has a very unique style of choreography that emphasizes the strengths of each skater. Brian, as a former [junior] pairs National champion, is an expert in coaching pairs technique. He also focuses on unison and timing in the pairs elements. All three coaches share a common philosophy, demanding excellence each and every time I step on the ice.
What music are you using this season and who choreographed your programs?
Donna Helgenberg. SP: Cirque du Soleil. FS: The Man in the Iron Mask, Nick Glennie-Smith.
How have you improved as a skater since last year, when you placed 1st in Intermediate at South Atlantic Regionals and 8th in your qualifying group at Junior Nationals?
Since Junior Nationals, I think that all of my skating has improved. My spins are faster and stronger. I did not have any triples last season, and now I can land all except the axel. And my posture and presentation have improved.
Was there one competition (club/non-qualifying or qualifying) in which you performed well that helped build your confidence this season? If yes which one and please explain why.
Probably South Atlantics this past year. I felt very calm and confident going into it and was thrilled that my performance was good enough to win.
How would you assess/describe/compare your performances at South Atlantic
Regionals (1st) and at Eastern Sectionals (2nd) this season?
I think that my performance at South Atlantics was better because I was calmer and I was feeling great. I landed (SP) 3lutz-2toe, 2loop, 2axel; (FS) 3sal-2toe, 2axel-2toe, 3lutz (hands down), 2axel, 3toe, 2loop, 3sal, 3flip.At Easterns I got nervous and did not try all of my triple jumps, but I did land everything I tried: (SP) 3sal-2toe, 2loop, 2axel; (FS) 3sal-2toe, 2axel-2toe, 3lutz, 2axel, 2toe, 2loop, 3sal, 2flip-2toe.
Will you be making any significant changes (on the technical and/or presentation sides) in your programs for Nationals?
Not very much on the technical side, but a lot of my choreography has changed to accommodate the addition of the triple jumps.
What are your goals for Nationals in Portland? Long-term skating goals?
In Portland I hope to place in the top 5. As for long-term goals, I want to win Worlds and the Olympics in 2010.
What do you consider to be the strongest and weakest aspects of your skating?
I think that my strongest aspect is my jumping ability and my weakest would have to be my posture. I am working hard to improve both my flexibility and overall presentation.
What is your current favorite jump, spin and connecting element to do?
My favorite jump is the Lutz, my favorite spin is the sit spin, and my favorite connecting element is my footwork in my short program.
What person has had the greatest influence on your skating?
My coach, Vicki Helgenberg. Vicki has brought me a whole new understanding of skating and its look and its complexity. Itís not only an athletic capability but a complete and total package of skills and abilities.
Who are your favorite skaters and why?
My favorite skater is Alexei Yagudin because of his dedication to the sport and because he has amazing jumps, presentation and quick, powerful footwork.
What is your current schooling arrangement, grade, favorite and least favorite subject?
Right now I am taking from an online school called Laurel Springs. I am in 10th grade. My favorite subject is math and my least favorite is history.
What are your long-term goals?
For a long-term goal I want to be a world-class coach.
What do you like to do for fun away from the ice? What are some of your hobbies/interests?
I enjoy listening to music, hanging out with friends, and playing basketball. I am also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Do you have any similarly athletic siblings?
Jamie Bartholomay is my 17 year old sister who will be skating at the Junior level next season.
What do you like the most about skating that motivates you to keep going day in and day out?
I just love skating. It makes me feel good. I also like the challenge.
Name: Nate Bartholomay
Date of Birth: May 18, 1989
Place of Birth: Abington, PA
Height: 5í 8Ē
Hometown: Newtown, PA
Training Town: Mount Laurel, NJ
Home Club: University of Delaware FSC
Coaches: Vicki Helgenberg, Brian Helgenberg
Choreographer: Donna Helgenberg
Photograph courtesy of Nate Bartholomay. Skate photograph copyright © Dave Amorde. Unless otherwise noted, all content is copyright © 2000-2005 Unseen Skaters. All Rights Reserved. Do not reproduce elsewhere without permission.