Beamish working his way up speed skating’s short-track ladder

Eric McCarthy
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A top-16 finish in the 1,000-metre race was the highlight of Island skater Scott Beamish’s recent participation in the Canadian open short-track speed skating championship in Montreal.

Scott Beamish in action.

The 20-year-old skater from New Haven, who has been living and skating in Calgary since graduating from Bluefield High School in 2010, competed in the 500-, 1,000- and 1,500-metre races, and ended up the weekend ranked 23rd overall.

While that’s down one placement from where he was at going in, Beamish said he was satisfied with his performance.

“I feel like I had a lot of strong races, if you look at each race individually,” he said in assessing the results.

He had a qualifying time of 1.28.870, a third-place semifinal time of 1.28.895 and a second-place final time of 1.35.847 in the 1,000-metre event.

“That was definitely a pretty good result. It put me in the top-16,” he said of his 1.28.870 time.

Off-setting that was missing out on a top-16 finish in the 500-metre event by a mere seven-one hundredths of a second.

“I had it all the way, right up to the line when the guy made a good move and I didn’t see him coming and, ‘seven-hundredths of a second past me,’” Beamish recalled.

“I probably try to dwell on the victories as much as I can, but you can’t help thinking about it if something’s going wrong,” he admits.

His times were slightly off his Calgary standards, but he pointed out the ice in Calgary is faster, partly because of the altitude.

Beamish is the only full-time East Coast skater attending the national training centre in Calgary. The oval is located right on the University of Calgary campus, a notable consideration when it came to choosing a university. Calgary was the only school he applied to. He is a third-year physics major there.

A 10-minute walk from the oval will take him to any of his classes, which is important considering he trains twice daily, six days a week.

“It’s been a steady increase the whole time. Usually you hear of a lot of people who will get to a certain point and then plateau in their ability. So far I’ve just been on constantly increasing. Every year my times have come down a certain amount. And almost every meet, or every second meet it’s the same thing, always getting results that are good.” Scott Beamish

The son of Mike and Carol and younger brother of Stacy, Greg, David and Paul Beamish has owned most of the speed skating records on P.E.I. He is proud, though, of the way his times have continued to improve since moving to Calgary.

“It’s been a steady increase the whole time. Usually you hear of a lot of people who will get to a certain point and then plateau in their ability,” he said.

“So far I’ve just been on constantly increasing. Every year my times have come down a certain amount. And almost every meet, or every second meet it’s the same thing, always getting results that are good.”

Making the national team remains his goal, but he admits there are still some things to work at. Speed is just one part of the sport, he said, explaining that the mental skills are often the difference in a race.

“You make one bad decision in one race and, all of a sudden, you’re not in the top 16,” he reflected.

At age 20, he is still young in a sport where male short-track skaters don’t hit their prime until around 25. The youngest male skater currently on the national team is 23.

Beamish hopes to make it home for a couple of weeks in May for a visit. After that he heads back to Calgary to continue his training.

Eric McCarthy is the western bureau manager of the Journal Pioneer. The “Islanders Away” feature appears every Thursday. To suggest an “Islander Away” please do so by emailing jpsports@journalpioneer.com.

Organizations: Bluefield High School, University of Calgary, Journal Pioneer

Geographic location: Calgary, New Haven, East Coast

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