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Long Islanders beat the heat on the ice

Erin Flood, 18, of Ridge, and Robert Knopf,

Erin Flood, 18, of Ridge, and Robert Knopf, 25, of Ronkonkoma, try to keep cool by ice skating at The Rinx in Hauppauge on Wednesday. (June 20, 2012) Credit: Brittany Wait

Erin Flood practices her pairs ice skating routine at The Rinx in Hauppauge two hours a day, six days a week.

On Wednesday, when the East Coast was hit with its first extreme heat of the summer, Flood was glad to spend her day training with Ronkonkoma's Robert Knopf, 25, at The Rinx in Hauppauge. While high temperatures were pummeling Long Island Wednesday, Flood was in shorts and a tank top, instantly cooled by the ice.

“It’s usually not this crowded,” said Flood, 18, of Ridge, who shared the ice with about 35 adults, teens and children. “It’s so hot out though.”

Jessica Licari, a Smithtown High School East senior, was also relieved to get out of the heat and step onto the ice.

“I’m glad that I’m in a place that I get to practice and it’s going to be cooler in here than outside,” said Licari, 17, of St. James, who had been ice skating since age 6.

Another skater, Hal Linstrom, was on the bench across from Licari, tying the laces of his skates.

“Where else can you go that you can cool off instantly?” said Linstrom, 63, of Baiting Hollow, who began taking group ice skating lessons two years ago. “When you love something so much the distance doesn’t matter. I come here twice a week.”

His instructor, Rose Coyle, arrived earlier to the lesson to escape the heat. She began ice skating in local competitions at age 28, but has stuck to teaching since she injured her hip last March.

“I’m glad I’m working today. It’s definitely the first day of summer,” said Coyle, 44, of Greenlawn. “This is just the beginning of a very hot summer.”

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