To say it was a successful final competition of the season for Sault Ste. Marie speed skater Gary Trembinski would be an understatement. Trembinski, 22, who resides in Calgary, Alta, went all in at Canada Cup 4/Finale, the final national competition of the season.
Trembinski had home ice advantage in Canada Cup 4 this past weekend, which took place at his training facility, the Olympic Oval, in Calgary, Alta. On his first day of competition, Gary shattered his 1000-meter personal record on Thursday, March 19 by a whopping 2.3 seconds with a finishing time of 1:16.09. “That was unbelievable. Comparatively to my 500-meter race, my 1000-meter race should be a lot faster. But to see over two seconds come off of my time, something had to have clicked” Trembinski said.
Before that 1000-meter race however, Gary raced a 500-meter to a final time of 37.63, eight one-hundredths of a second slower than his best ever time of 37.55 seconds. “After that race, my coach Todd came to me and said ‘Gary, get your mind off of setting PB’s (personal best’s) and just go out there and skate.’ So I went into my 1000 meter with a clear head and no certain time to get. And what happened? I had my biggest PB of the year in that race.”
Following a day of rest on Friday, Gary’s hard work throughout the season continued to pay off, skating his way to a new personal best in the 500-meter with a time of 37.26 seconds, edging friend and rival skater Lucas Morin of Saskatchewan by less than two-tenths of a second. “We have a bit of a rivalry, Lucas and I,” Trembinski said. “Over the last two years we’ve met in races a few times and he’s beaten me every time. I have to admit it feels good finishing ahead of him, but I know he’ll be gunning for me next time we meet.”
Later that afternoon, Gary raced his second 1000-meter race of the competition with a finishing time of 1:16.71. “I made a big mistake in that race,” Gary said. After the opening 200-meters of that race, skaters tend to put the left arm on their backs. “It’s a way to conserve energy. Swinging two arms the whole race is utterly useless. And that was a rookie mistake that I made.” Even with a mistake of a higher caliber, Gary still managed to finish in the one minute and sixteen second time frame. “That was a relief. Over 500-meters into my race I realized I was swinging both arms. You can’t win them all but I wish I could have a redo on that one.”
With the sprint distances out of the way, Trembinski went into Sunday’s competition with a grueling 1500-meter on the schedule. This 1500 though, would be an interesting one. “One of my assistant coaches challenged me to race him in the 1500,” Trembinski said. Jeff Kitura, a former Canadian National Team member who retired from skating in the 2011-2012 season, now coaches speed skaters at the Olympic Oval. “When he asked me to race him, I thought he was kidding at first. When he had that serious look, I knew he meant business.” Trembinski started the race off strong with a solid 300-meter opening time of 25.4 seconds. “After the opener, I relaxed too much and let all of the easy speed go.” Trembinski finished in a time of 2:01.64, a six second personal best, while Kitura finished in 1:58.14. “He passed me with one lap to go. I dug deep to try and catch him, but he was gone.”
With Trembinski’s season officially over, he plans to take time off of training, as all skaters do, for the next four weeks. Gary plans to be in Calgary until the end of April while he finishes his exams at the University of Calgary. Trembinski will spend at least the month of May in Sault Ste. Marie before he heads back to Calgary for his upcoming season. “I can’t wait to get home and see my family and friends. Calgary is a long distance away from Sault Ste. Marie, so any chance I get to be home, I try my best to take it.”