November 1st, 2022, Charlottetown – P.E.I. short track speed skater Jenna Larter is getting back on track. The Brookfield native had claimed the title of P.E.I.’s fastest ever female on the short track in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic brought her competitive ascent to an abrupt halt. After no competitions during the 2020-21 season due to the pandemic, Larter suffered a serious knee injury while training in the summer of 2021, forcing her to undergo ACL reconstruction surgery and keeping her off her blades for a full year.
Prior to the pandemic, Larter had been training at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, setting new records, personal best times and competing at ever-higher levels. After the long competitive hiatus and with her ongoing injury rehabilitation, it seemed unlikely that Larter would be able to step back into the sport where she had left off nearly three seasons ago.
But the same competitive drive that brought Larter from hockey to high levels of the national short track speed skating scene in a few short years has propelled her in the speed skating world once again. Larter recently became the first Islander since Scott Beamish in 2013 to compete at the Canadian Short Track Championships, held this fall in Quebec City.
Qualifying to skate in the championship field of Canada’s top 40 female skaters was a tall order for Larter. With no competitions last season due to her injury, the Island skater had no national ranking and had to vie for a limited number of time-based qualification spots in summer competitions, just weeks after returning to on-ice training.
Larter began her campaign in a strong international field at the Oval Mountain Classic competition in August, where she finished seventh in the 500-metre event and set a new P.E.I. record in the 777-metre distance. In September, she clocked a strong 1,500-metre time at the Oval Single Distance Series event in Calgary. Then, in early October, Larter sealed a coveted ticket to the national championships with a seasonal best time and new PEI record time for senior women of 46.958 seconds in the 500-metre distance at the Western Elite Circuit competition in Calgary. The P.E.I. skater also bettered her own provincial best for all females in the 777-metre distance, with a new mark of 1:16.795.
At the Canadian Championships, which served to crown Canadian champions and select Canada’s fall world cup teams, Larter posted her best finishes, 26th and 28th place respectively, in the 1,500-metre and 1,000-metre events. The P.E.I. speedster is now continuing her rehab and training in Calgary, with a focus on short track Canada Cup events in January and March, which will settle this season’s national rankings. Larter is the daughter of Kellie Andrews and Robbie Larter of Brookfield.
For more information on speed skating on P.E.I., visit www.speedskatingpei.ca.