By Charlie Pinkerton
A new gymnastics club is off to a strong start having already produced its first Team Ontario athletes.
TRYumph Gymnastics is a new Gloucester-based club that along with gymnastics features fencing, to reflect the expertise of its founders, Alina Florea and Paul ApSimon.
Florea is a former Romanian gymnast and National level coach, with experience coaching Andreea Raducan, who was an Olympic Champion in 2000. She has experience coaching locally at Orleans’s Tumblers Gymnastics Centre. Her co-founder ApSimon is a three-time Olympic fencing coach. They opened TRYumph over the summer.
At the November provincial tour selection event in Mississauga, two of the club’s five athletes who competed qualified for the provincial team, which will travel to California for an competition in January.
On top of being happy for her athletes, the success also represented a moment of personal pride for Florea. “It felt different to be there as an owner, not just as a coach,” she said. “It’s a bit different experience but in a positive way. I found it less stressful.”
Florea said she felt less pressure to produce results and instead felt like she was there for more natural reasons: to help her athletes compete and enjoy themselves. With those as her goals, the coach was impressed by her athletes’ performances.
“It turned out not too bad,” Florea said.
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She was especially impressed by Hanna Nixon, who qualified for Team Ontario with a 5th place finish amongst all-around Level 10 athletes of her 12-15 age group.
Nixon hadn’t competed in nearly two years because of a series of ankle injuries.
“It was good to come back from it, but it wasn’t fun. I couldn’t do anything,” she said.
Nixon said she still spent a lot of time in the gym hanging out with her friends while she was injured. “Once I got there, I’d never want to leave.”
Because of how long she’d been away from competition, Nixon struggled with settling her nerves leading up to the selection event. With Florea’s help – and the aid of a mental performance consultant that TRYumph employs – Nixon was able to shake her feelings by competition time.
Nixon said her nervousness completely left her once she arrived at the competition and was able to get back into the groove of things.
“After not competing for so long she did amazing,” Florea said.
Nixon sang equal praise of her coach.
“The way she coaches – she does it all out of love for us,” Nixon said. “It’s really good to have her as a coach.”
Myra Fauchon also qualified for the provincial tour by placing 7th all-around among Level 6 athletes for athletes in the 14+ age group. She’s practised gymnastics for six years but made her first attempt to crack the provincial touring team at the November selection.
Like Nixon, Fauchon struggled with nerves before the competition, but said she got over it once she settled in with a strong 3rd place finish in the floor, which was her first routine.
“I was very surprised and happy,” Fauchon said.
TRYumph’s Mirela Bica, who’s coached Fauchon across several levels over the last three years, said she’s proud of her athlete’s progression over that period. She also echoed Fauchon’s excitement. “To make Team Ontario (in her first competition in Level 6) was a very nice surprise for sure for me as well,” Bica said.
Florea said Fauchon’s finish shows the new club is capable of working with athletes of all different skill levels. The coach was also pleased with her athletes who didn’t crack the tour selection, as like Fauchon, it was each of their first time’s attempting to do so.
Several Nepean Corona Gymnastics athletes also put in top performances at the Team Ontario tour selection. Robin Tarnocai placed 1st overall for Level 10 athletes in her age group, while Ella Martel came 6th amongst Level 8 competitors in her age group.
–with files from Dan Plouffe