VARSITY 2016

It’s the end of term and the Gymnastics Club are really pleased to be finishing it on a high in the aftermath of this year’s Varsity competition against Cambridge.

It’s really been an amazing year for the squad, and first off huge congratulations must go to the superstars who battled injury, illness, Cambridge, cuts, bruises, fatigue, essays, labs and Nat’s driving to make it past the final hurdle in one piece.

Special mentions also go to the gymnasts who managed to achieve Blues this year: Eric LeGresley, Serena Chang, Brittany Lee Garcia, Caitlin O’Brien and Katrina Kelly (half).

It was an immense day at Birmingham University Sports Centre. First off, the Men’s team driven by Aidan somehow managed to arrive over half an hour late (actually to this day I haven’t actually had an explanation) but soon warm up was well out the way, the judges were briefed, the gymnasts were lined up and Edgar had not yet put a shirt on. We had four hours to get everything through and finished, which meant there were multiple events happening at the same time, and our spectators did a grand job of cheering us on. There were many highs and lows and astounding performances – astounding for all sorts of different reasons – but overall everyone did themselves proud and we hope had a really great day.

Highlights include:

  • The Women’s A team WINNING by a massive 20 mark margin. Girls, you have been an absolute pleasure to captain this year and I hope this victory goes a small way to paying your hard work tribute. After everything you’ve put into this season and all that we’ve been through together I can honestly say you are the toughest lot out there and you’ve done me proud. Congratulations!
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Photo credit to Christian Vaquero

  • Individual medals being awarded to: Serena Chang (gold, Women’s A), Brittany Lee Garcia (silver, Women’s A), Caitlin O’Brien (bronze, Women’s A), Gabbie Swycher (gold, Women’s B), and Becky Stroud (bronze, Women’s B). There were some whopping apparatus scores and placings too, full results can be seen here:

29th Varsity Gymnastics results- 2016

  • Seeing the Men’s team all smart and scrubbed up in their navy leotards. Although the Cambridge men were a pretty strong lot, our men did us proud and learnt an awful lot. Eric also placed fourth individually and many a new skill were tried out by everyone. We will keep training and be back next year!

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  • Some top floor routines from the Women’s B team, which included Hairspray (Emilie), Step up (Becky) and Taylor Swift (Nat) as well as Gabbie’s soaring twelve-point-something score to round off a really solid day of work. You go girls!

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To give you an idea of the sass level

  • Britt completing a whole day of routines on injured ankles, who needs a boot and crutches anyway?! Cambridge were actually so inspired that they featured her on their Twitter feed, with the caption ‘SHE’S INJURED HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE’. We agree, you’re magical Britt!
  • Liza dragging herself out of bed despite being so ill that she had not been able to leave it for the previous week. Again, you’re a trooper.
  • Clare-Marie being an overall superb individual and producing a stellar set of routines leaving her with mammoth final scores. It was so lovely to have you along and you did yourself proud.
  • Aidan displaying his muscles for all to see during his Rings routine.

I could continue to babble on  about how great everyone was, but I will leave it with our Facebook album, as I think the photos speak for themselves. Final thank yous must go to all the judges (you are wonderful), Cambridge for a fab day, Birmingham University, Sophie Cheng for photos, the awesome spectators from the Oxford side whose support was invaluable, the outgoing Committee for a terrific effort and all my other little helpers (ie my sister who took orders from me all day without only minor complaints). I hope it was a reflection of how much this sport and the universities have to offer and cannot wait to see everyone back in the gym soon. Moreover, we look forward to a very exciting term up ahead and suitable celebrations back in Oxford.

For our full album see here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.840557942736694.1073741834.228620027263825&type=1&l=2b4f6578af

Thanks to Sophie Cheng for photography (www.facebook.com/schengphotography). There’s a selection of her work here:

Lots of love,

Serena (Women’s Captain 2015-16).

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BUCS Nationals 2016

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