Sarah Girach, an eighth grader at Griswold Middle School in Rocky Hill, has trained and competed in inline-speed skating events for the last six years, representing Team New England at various regional and national meets.
Girach recently won a pair of bronze medals in the USA Roller Sports - Inline Speed Skating National Championships held at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in mid-July.
“It was a great experience competing at the National level” said Girach, “Just being there felt awesome.”
It was Girach’s first competition since suffering a stress fracture earlier this year, preventing her from competing and practicing with her teammates for several months. This setback, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, made her pause the sport that she has done for the past six years.
“During the pandemic, training was really hard. I had to plan the workouts I did each day to help build my strength and develop those muscles while we were out of practice,” recalled Girach, “With my injury, I couldn’t really do anything, so I did everything I could do to stay in shape, like core exercises and stretching because I didn’t want to hurt it more.”
During her return to competitive skating in Iowa, she competed against a large group of girls of ages 12-14. Girach and her teammates took home third place finishes in both the 3-girl freshman relay and the 4-mix freshman relay.
Girach was born in Portland, Maine and discovered her love for skating while living in India for a year. Her family returned to the East Coast, settling in Rocky Hill when she was in the first grade.
Since landing in Rocky Hill, she’s been coached by trainers Mike Godin and Chuck Boucher and leaned on the support from senior team members, Eddie Wilcox, Jeylin Godin, and Kenny Bernard.
The trainers and team members, along with her family, were her support staff during her recovery.
“There was nothing I could do, it’s not like you can wave a magic wand and it will heal quickly,” said Girach, who worked on the mental side of her training during recovery, “I read this book, The Mental Athlete by Kay Porter, to train my mind for any other injuries or adversities I could face coming up. COVID was a big one, we couldn’t see anyone or train with anyone.”
When she is not inline skating, she is training as a speed ice skater. Her dedication to the sport is unmatched.
She travels with her mom, Sabina, to Massachusetts nearly every day to practice. Her routine includes a workout in the morning, school during the day, and homework on the rides back and forth from practice. Her younger sister, Aafiya, is also an aspiring speed skater.
“For any sport you have to train yourself mentally and physically and practice every day. Skating has taught me about being focused, working hard, or being confident,” said Girach.
The 13-year-old hopes to one day represent Team USA at the World Championships, which is an annual event that is being held in Columbia, South America this year.
Her role models in the sport are - Brittany Bowe, Corie Stoddard, Jazzmyn Foster and Jeylin Godin. A few of her teammates will be competing in South America this winter.
The World Championship are just one of Girach’s ultimate goals, “I want to represent Team USA at Worlds and I want to go to the Olympics for ice short track speed skating.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin