Meet Tori Faust, a Team USA synchronized skater and full-time college student from Saint Charles, Illinois. Tori is a freshman at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, majoring in marketing. She competes at the highest level of synchronized skating on the Skyliners Senior team which practices in New York and Connecticut. I was lucky enough to meet Tori during my freshman year of high school, and we were teammates for several years. I am constantly inspired by her positivity and work ethic! Read on to learn more about Tori’s accomplishments in synchronized skating, what it’s like balancing Team USA athletics with college academics, and what she’s looking forward to for the upcoming season.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: When did you start ice skating?
A: I got into ice skating when I was about 4-years-old. My mom is an ice skating coach, so she tried to get me into figure skating at a young age but didn’t push it on me if I didn’t like it.
Q: What are some of your biggest skating accomplishments?
A: One of my biggest skating accomplishments as of now is just being on Skyliners! Another one of my skating accomplishments was being on the Starlights Synchronized Skating Team (in Illinois) for five years. During those five years, I was on all different levels, and I had the privilege to be on their Junior Team. The Junior Team was a part of Team USA, and we competed internationally! A big accomplishment I have from Starlights was getting first place in the long program during one of our international competitions in Great Britain. During that season we never had that great of a skate with our long program, but at that competition, we all skated our absolute best and were finally able to feel really good with what we put out on the ice. We did what we knew we could do.
Q: What’s one of your favorite competitions or synchro memories?
A: My favorite competition is either the California Cup, the Porter Classic (Michigan), or the Britannia Cup (Great Britain). It’s definitely hard to choose just one! The California Cup is the first competition of the season, so it’s really cool to see everyone’s program and to kick off the start of the upcoming season. Porter is always a favorite because no matter what team I was on, a ton of teams go to it so I could always see my friends from other teams. The Britannia Cup was one of my first international competitions, so that was really cool in itself. I also liked that competition because we had a really good skate!
Q: How did you know you wanted to skate in college and for the Skyliners organization?
A: I’ve always known that I wanted to skate in college, and going into high school, I had the goal to be on Skyliners one day. My senior year really made it clear that I still wanted to. The COVID season was so difficult for all of the teams, and not being able to be on the ice with my team was super hard on me. I didn’t have the normalcy of skating that I always did, and I never got the senior season I was so excited for which took a big toll on me. With Skyliners specifically, I would always watch them and love their programs. I also really loved how the team was genuinely a family. They all got along really well, and there was never a lot of competition within the team.
Q: What’s it like balancing college academics with skating for Team USA?
A: It’s definitely something I’m still getting adjusted to. Skyliners only practices on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Since there are so many girls coming from all over the place, it would be super hard to have practices during the week. I like this since I have the whole week to really focus on school, but I can’t have the weekends to spend on my homework and studying. Competition season is starting soon, and that comes with a lot of time management and communication. It’s hard since you don’t get to be in class listening to the lectures and getting the information. I always email my professors multiple times and communicate to them what I do and how I’m going to stay on top of my work. They typically understand and help me a lot!
Q: What’s the best part of competing for Team USA?
A: The best part is definitely traveling internationally. Hearing everyone chant “USA” when you take the ice to compete is something incredible that I will never forget. It’s really cool seeing all of the teams from different countries too. Competing at such a high level is definitely a lot of pressure at some times, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Q: What are you looking forward to for the upcoming season?
A: I’m definitely looking forward to just competing again. It’s been about 20 months since I’ve last competed, so I miss it a lot. I’m super excited to see everyone’s programs and what they have been working on. With COVID, it really showed who truly loved skating because if they’re still here, they all really want to be here. It means a lot to see everyone’s programs since we have all missed competing so much and have all been looking forward to competing again.