Rushmoor Gymnastics Centre, Aldershot, Surrey, February 2016
As fourth week hit it turned out our (still slightly unpolished) routines were not the only problems in preparation for the biggest national University Gymnastics competition of the year. After a mix up with entries and several adamant emails we thought we were all set to head to Rushmoor Gymnastics Centre on the Saturday, only to discover that we were short of space in the car. Katrina kindly solved the problem by volunteering to take the train (or three), managing to meet us there in time for the later round when she was scheduled to compete.
On arrival, we then discovered that the warm ups were long, with 25 minutes scheduled for each apparatus. On the plus side, we had plenty of time to run through all our routines. On the other hand, we ended up cooling down and then having to warm back up again, all part of the fun and games.
When the competition finally began it was Liza and Serena in Grade 2, and Britt facing some very good gymnasts in Grade 1. To top it off, Liza had rest first while Serena vaulted, and Britt pulled off a fairly clean bar routine. This was followed by another two bars straight through, with Liza’s first kip performed successfully. Beam and floor also went through without any major hiccups, although by the time Britt reached vault it seemed her ankles had had enough for the day. Unfortunately, this was not something that was going to stop Britt. Who needs ankles for running, jumping on a springboard, and then landing one and a half rotations of somersaults anyway?!
Katrina and Caitlin then took to the vault, and both achieved solid scores with clean performances. They then continued to beam where Katrina managed to miss both her feet on a round-off, leaving herself completely bemused. Luckily that was just warm up. Once the real things were through, they both moved on to floor, two sets of clean and safe routines done with all tumbles landed and leaps done gracefully.
All that was left to do was await the placings, the last bout of waiting in a long day. Luckily it was worth the wait, as of the 66 Grade 2 gymnasts, Caitlin came in within the top ten overall, Serena 13th, Katrina 28th and Liza 58th. Serena also came away with a silver medal for bars. In the Grade 1 category, Britt managed to take medals on both floor and vault. To round everything off, out of the 170 gymnasts who competed from all over the country, Team Oxford came 5th (of more than thirty teams). Piling ourselves into the car in the way back, and piling the ice on top of our limbs, we were all looking forward to the next competition, as well as to going to bed.
We owe a huge thanks to Clare-Marie for excellent driving services and being a great source of support to the girls. Cambridge, we will see you on the floor in two weeks’ time!
-Serena Chang, Women’s Captain
Team: Serena Chang, Brittany Lee Garcia, Caitlin O’Brien, Katrina Kelly, Liza Hadley