ICP Team Member Spotlight: Natalia Santamaria, SpainOct 01, 2019
In 2012 Natalia Santamaria came to the Inline Certification Program with the goal of improving her own skating and teaching ability so she could improve the level of skaters in the city of Burgos, Spain where she lives. She began her skate school Back Flip House (BFH) Escuela de Patinaje soon after becoming Level 1 Certified through the ICP and started a club and speed skating team, Back Flip House (BFH) Burgos in 2015.
Since that time she has become an ICP Examiner and a Level 2 coach with the Spanish National Roller Skating Federation regulary training with, and learning from, Spanish Federation National Coach Garikoiz "Gari" Lerga. In 2015 she has had the honour of being part of the Spanish staff in the Europeans in Austria, accompanying Lerga and the Spanish National team to this major competition.
Since 2015 Lerga has helped her not only as a skating athlete also as a coach. Just about every month Natalia and her speed skating team travel to Pamplona to work with him one of the 5 tracks available in the city. The team works on the basics but also in more complex strategies to help the skaters not only develop their skating technique but to also become good athletes as well.
Before her own development as a speed skater and coach she remembers the "old days" when the club had very few children and they were last in every single race. Since that time not only have the number of club and team members grown, the quality of skating and personal accomplishments achieved on and off the podium have also increased.
Her club has participated in many international events such as the 24 hours of Lemans, the P2P Pamplona Puente la Reina marathon, the international marathon of Madrid, the Spanish cup, the half marathon of Lourdes –Tarbes. Team members continue to break personal best race times and have even made trips to the podium at several of these races. To continue to challenge themselves the team participates in the regional league of Navarra where they continue to keep fighting hard with bigger and more experienced teams to learn from them and improve as competitors.
As a speed skating athlete, Natalia has made it to the podium several times placing 5th in the Spanish Marathon championship, 2nd in the half marathon Lourdes tarbes, several regional championships, local races, etc. She has enjoyed training and competing the past few seasons and has seen steady personal improvement that she believes has assisted the team find more success as well.
However, due to travel and involvement with the company Sled Dogs Snowskates where she just returned from spending 2 months this past summer in South America "skating" in the mountains of Argentina and Chile, she will not be competing with the intensity of previous seasons. Natalia feels that it was an amazing opportunity to transfer her teaching and coaching experience from the pavement to the snow but missed the summer weather and her team in Burgos!
For Natalia, it has been a privedge to work closely with some of the most prepared and accomplished coaches in the world such as Gari Lerga (Spanish National Coach), Asha Kirby (ICP Examiner/Skatefresh), Kris Fondran (ICP Director/Rollerblade). Working closely with all 3 over the last 5 years has improved her skating, teaching and increased her confidence as a "skating educator" providing her with more leadership opportunities within the skating industry.
Natalia has been instrumental in growing the ICP throughout Spain and Europe over the last four years serving as an ICP Examiner and ICP Country Representative for Spain and delivering certifications throughout Europe.
Given all of the above, it is no surprise to know that she is completely in love with inline skating. She can often be heard saying "that skating makes her forget about everything and her sorrows are washed away when she skates!" Teaching is something she love and enjoys and believes that her students can feel that love. (It is no surprise that she owns her own English Language School in Burgos,Spain as well!) The safety and comfort of her students is vital to her teaching style with "fun" as the ultimate goal.
Her favorite motto? "Keep calm and skate on."
We are right behind you Natalia!