Miami synchronized skating coach reflects on team triumphs

By Logan Crosby

Miami University synchronized skaters credit the determination of head coach Carla DeGirolamo for their success on the ice.

This year, DeGirolamo led the team to its ninth national championship in 13 years. That achievement was followed by a sixth-place finish at the World Championships, which took place April 7 through April 9 in Hamilton, Ontario.

“Her presence demands respect but also brings joy into the room,” said Gabriella Quintero, a member of the team. 

DeGirolamo first became interested in synchronized skating in 1990 at the age of 10, when she attended an ice show and the synchronized skaters immediately caught her eye.

“It looked like something I wanted to do at the time, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” she said.

In 1998, while an undergraduate at Miami University, DeGriolamo tried out for the school’s team and ended up winning her first senior-level national championship in 1999. She said her coach, Vicki Korn, was instrumental in the team’s success.

“She always tried to raise the bar, push the athletes beyond what they thought they could do, and really emphasize the teaching aspect of it,” DeGirolamo said. “This creates an understanding and more of an increased level of investment in what the athletes are doing,”

After skating on Miami’s team for four years, DeGirolamo got a chance to coach for the RedHawks. She served as an assistant for seven years, then was hired in 2009 as head coach. She said her goal was to continue some of Korn’s character traits and strategies as she developed a team of her own.

Brittney Rivelli, another 2022 Miami Synchronized team member, said that DeGirolamo is an inspiration.

DeGirolamo said her willingness to create a collaborative environment for her athletes sets her apart from other coaches. Giving the team some ownership of things, such as taking their advice on choreography, helps develop a group effort and a sense of partnership.

Team members said another aspect that sets the coach apart is her personal engagement with the individuals on the team.

“Having our achievements in the classroom and in our daily lives recognized by our
coach adds to the level of support and trust within our team,” Rivelli said

DeGirolamo said she prefers synchronized skating over other skating sports such as figure skating because she likes being part of a team. She credits team spirit and constant collaboration for her squad’s national championship victory.