Each Wednesday the Stanford men’s gymnastics team will post a childhood photo of a current gymnast on their Facebook and Twitter pages asking, “Can you name this gymnast?” The identity of the gymnast will be revealed on Thursday along with a special Q-and-A, giving fans a chance to get to know the gymnasts before the 2014 season.
This week’s featured gymnast is sophomore Jonathan Deaton. The Longmeadow, Mass., native discusses competing at the NCAA Championships as a freshman, the difference between arriving on campus as a freshman and as a sophomore, and his hobbies outside the gym.
You got to compete last season at the NCAA Championships as a freshman, what was that experience like?
Competing at the NCAA Championships was a tremendous experience. I have never felt like I was so much a part of a team as I did last year. It was great to see the entire team perform and succeed. I felt so grateful to contribute to our team and make NCAA’s a success.
How has this year been going so far in the gym?
So far this year things have been going well in the gym. Preseason training is very physically demanding but I feel it is getting my teammates and I in great shape. Personally, I have been working several new skills, which I hope to add in to my routines to up my difficulty score.
What are your expectations for the team this year, both short-term and long-term?
In the short term, our team goals are to get everyone on the team in peak physical shape so that we can keep adding new skills and pushing the difficulty of our routines. This way, when our season comes, we will be ready to rock some sweet sets. Our long-term goal for this year is to win the NCAA Championships.
Any personal goals you’d like to accomplish this year?
This year I want to be an All-American on high-bar, floor, and vault. I also want to contribute to our team score on p-bars and pommel horse at the NCAA Championships. I would also like to add at least one new skill to each of my routines that I compete.
What do you look forward to most this season?
Training with intensity in the gym so that each weekend, when I go out to compete I can simply show off my routines and enjoy the opportunity to perform. This was my favorite part about competing last year. I hope this year to be able to perform on more events and to enjoy competitions even more.
What was your biggest takeaway from last year’s NCAA Championships experience?
The thing that I took away from last year’s NCAA Championships is that every single tenth of a point matters. Last year we squeaked into third place above Penn State by half of a tenth. I keep this in mind when I practice in order to push myself as close as I can to perfecting my execution. If we keep this mentality as a team, then at the end of the year, we will come out on top.
What do you think was the biggest difference when you arrived on campus this year, compared to last year as a freshman?
Last year, when I arrived at Stanford I had no idea what to expect. I anticipated that I would struggle the most with keeping up with schoolwork and that I would find peace in the gym. I was completely wrong and struggled with the intensity of our workouts almost all year. This year I knew what to expect from the training and have been able to prepare myself for it. So far things have been going great!
Outside of the gym, what do you like doing with your free time?
This year I am living in Branner Hall and I have been spending most of my free time meeting all of the new and interesting people that live near me. I also enjoy playing the guitar as a way to relax. On the weekends however, my favorite thing to do is to hang out with my team.
You said you like to play guitar, when did you learn to play? What are some of your favorite songs to play? Any original productions?
I have been teaching myself to play acoustic guitar for three years. My favorite songs to play are Six Feet From the Edge by Creed and Wake Me Up by Avicii. I have never performed before, but I have written and recorded a few songs of my own.
Read any good books lately? Recommendations?
Recently I enjoyed reading Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card, a science fiction novel set thousands of years in the future. For anyone who likes science fiction, I would recommend reading Ender’s Game, also by Orson Scott Card; the movie comes out this Friday. (But I already know the book is way better!)
Anything else you’d like to add?
Go Stanford! We are going to be great this year!