This week’s featured gymnast is freshman Andrew McCabe. The Oak Park, Ill., native discusses his Thanksgiving, adjusting to collegiate gymnastics training and his interest in "tinkering" with cell phones to explore user interfaces.
How was Thanksgiving? Do anything fun or unique?
Thanksgiving was great. It was a much needed rest for my body and from school work. I spent it with my cousins and aunt and uncle in Burlingame who are all Notre Dame fans. So, needless to say, it was fun to go to the game with them, but it was also just great to see them. They used to always visit for dinner in Chicago when they had time off of school but it’s been a while, so it was nice reunion.
How has your freshman year been going so far?
My freshman year has had its ups and downs. It’s been tough adapting to the training but things are getting easier and I’m having a great time getting to know all of my teammates. On the school side of things I’m really enjoying my classes, especially computer science, and I still get occasional rushes of excitement just from remembering that I’m studying at Stanford.
What has been the biggest adjustment to collegiate gymnastics from club?
The biggest adjustment I had to make was probably getting used to all the conditioning and strength we do in college. In club we just came in to the gym, did a running warm up, stretched, and got to work on the equipment. Here it’s the same formula except that warm up tends to entail a strength list and a circuit. In the first couple of weeks it felt impossible to do gymnastics after just our strength warm up but I’ve definitely adapted and can really appreciate how much stronger I feel now.
You competed at the Junior Olympic National Championships earlier this year, what was that experience like?
As my last JO Nationals, it was a bittersweet experience. Over four years of training together I came to be very close with my teammates and coach and it was sad to know that it was the last time I’d make the trip with them to nationals. At the same time, I had I pretty good performance and was able to qualify for the P&G National Championships which was a really rewarding way to put a cap on my JO career.
With the season quickly approaching, is there anything you’re working on perfecting before competition begins?
This season I’m hoping to compete on rings, floor and pommel horse. Having had a tough time adapting to the training I’m currently just trying to perfect my base routines on those events as much as I can before season starts.
What are some personal goals you’d like to accomplish this season?
This season my primary goals are to get to compete on floor, pommels, and rings and compete on or all of those events at NCAA’s to help my team win a title.
You listed “tinkering with phones” as an interest on your biography on gostanford.com, what exactly does that entail?
When I say tinkering I don’t actually mean opening phones up and looking inside them. What I really mean is that I like exploring the user interface sides of phones as well as their hardware design. In fact, designing software and hardware to maximize usability, which falls under the field of human computer-interaction, is something I really want to study while I’m here at Stanford.
Read any good books lately?
It’s been a while since I’ve had time to sit down with a book for fun besides the assigned books we read over the summer which were enjoyable. I actually do recommend the Art Of Fielding. But besides that a few of my favorite books and series are the inheritance series (Eragon), His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass), and The Great Gatsby.