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Clara Delcamino-Yang balances ice and school

Ice sprays up into the air as senior and figure skater Clara Delcamino-Yang gracefully lands her jump at the 2023 NQS Minnesota L’Etoile du Nord Challenge. Photo courtesy of Clara Delcamino-Yang.
November 26, 2023  Updated November 29, 2023 at 8:43 a.m.
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Editor’s note: This story is being published in partnership with The Cypress, the student newspaper of Brookline High School. Read the original story here.

Figure skating. School. Homework. Senior Clara Delcamino-Yang has learned how to balance her sport with the other important pieces of her life.

Delcamino-Yang started ice skating when she was 5 years old. She has been competing for seven years and is currently ranked 18th in the country and third in New England for figure skating.

Delcamino-Yang skates for one and a half hours and does one hour of conditioning from Monday to Friday, and then she skates for two hours on Sunday. Despite skating six days a week, she simultaneously keeps up with all of her schoolwork. Most figure skaters at her level are homeschooled, but Delcamino-Yang said that school has always been important to her; ice skating isn’t her whole life. She said that while it is hard to do both, she’s learned important lessons from it.

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“A lot of people I’ve competed against since I was little [have] quit along the way. When school ramps up and skating ramps up, you either drop skating or you drop school. Doing both has taught me time management and to appreciate free time,” Delcamino-Yang said. “It’s a skill that I’ll have all my life now because I’ve had to manage my time so precisely to be able to do everything that I want to do.”

Jamisen Cyr has been skating with Delcamino-Yang for the last three years. They have known each other since Delcamino-Yang was 12 years old. Cyr said Delcamino-Yang’s talent and focus have always been impressive and commendable.

“Especially in her junior year, the fact that she was able to manage all of that, on top of competing full time, [is] so much in and of itself,” Cyr said. “She has her head screwed on straight, which is so admirable.”

Bobby Martin has coached Delcamino-Yang at Elite Edge Skating Club since 2020. He said she has found success at the club as they know the importance of education and support her decision not to be homeschooled.

“She probably trains on the ice a third less than a lot of her competitors do, but it keeps it fresh for her,” Martin said. “It really forces her to be very efficient and organized when she gets on the ice to train. There’s no wasted time.”

In addition to balancing ice skating and school, the mental aspect of the sport itself can be challenging, especially regarding jumping. Delcamino-Yang said that the technique, precision and mental commitment required to master a single jump can take years to learn.

“I could hit a jump 10 times in practice and then fall in it in the program,” Delcamino-Yang said. “You have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do things.”

According to Cyr, filtering out external distractions during competition is essential. Cyr said Delcamino-Yang’s humility helps her to block out distractions and keep her focused.

“I would liken her mentality to that of a goalkeeper; you have to have a very short memory. [If] something bad happens, you can’t dwell on that too much,” Martin said. “You move on [to] what’s next and [think] how do I do it better. That’s her approach to her training and her skating.”

Delcamino-Yang has many goals for her figure skating future. Her Spanish citizenship will allow her to compete internationally while representing Spain. She also hopes to participate in collegiate figure skating. Cyr said that Delcamino-Yang’s drive and determination will lead her toward these goals.

“She’s very well focused,” Cyr said. “She can do anything she puts her mind to, which is a superpower.”

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