July 30, 2007
July 18, 2007
July 2, 2007
May 2, 2007
April 23, 2007
April 17, 2007
April 9, 2007
April 4, 2007
March 27, 2007
March 19, 2007
March 12, 2007
March 5, 2007
February 26, 2007
February 19, 2007
February 12, 2007
February 5, 2007
January 29, 2007
January 22, 2007
January 8, 2007
December 11, 2006
December 4, 2006
November 28, 2006
November 20, 2006
November 13, 2006
November 3, 2006
October 30, 2006
October 24, 2006
October 17, 2006
October 9, 2006
October 3, 2006
September 21, 2006
July 30, 2007
Hey Everyone! Thanks for checking in on SWG. I am around campus for the summer and it has been great to be able to train with some fellow teammates and the coaches during the off season...definitely a more motivating experience than past summers! As Lauren said, the gym is an exciting place to be. There are seven of us here for the summer and we have been trying to coordinate practice as much as possible. Some of the "locals" (Steph Carter, Tenaya, and Gretchen) come down every once in awhile too which is great. The girls who are away for the summer are also working really hard and we can't wait to all come together to train in September.
Not only are we keeping each other updated with regards to our gymnastics and conditioning, but we have also established big sis/lil sis pairs that check in regularly in addition to everyone posting on the xanga board. Both are a great way for us to get to know each other as individuals (especially with the incoming frosh) and help to start building team chemistry. Our chemistry is a huge asset and we are definitely working to cultivate that for the 08 season!
Thanks again for keeping updated on our status. You can rest assured that SWG is hard at work and will definitely be a defining force on the floor in 08, especially with 17 of us...the biggest team in Stanford history!
Have a great week!
July 18, 2007
I was out at school for a visit this weekend. After spending a month at a program at Tuck School of Business, it was a great break! However, the break was more for the mind than the body. It was really fun to be in the gym with all the girls that are staying out there over the summer. Everyone is working really hard. Not only are we continuing to do lots of conditioning to stay in shape, but everyone is also managing to find time on top of that work on new skills. It is so fun to be in the gym with all these new things going on. I hardly knew where to look! Nikki and Pinch are both working on Tchachevs. Everyone's working on upgrading tumbling as well. In addition to all the new stuff, Tabby also got to start doing some gymnastics this week! She's working her way back in "slowly." The gym is an exciting place to be.
In order to keep in touch with everyone over the summer, we've created a xanga board for the team. We all post once a week about what fun things we're doing and what we're doing in the gym. This has been a great way to keep up with everyone. From this board, I can tell you that not only is everyone is having fun and exciting summers, but also that they are working hard on the conditioning and gymnastics to be ready for the 2008 season.
Thanks for checking in with us. Hope you are all having wonderful summers!
July 2, 2007
Hey SWG Fans,
Welcome to the summer 2007 edition of Inside the Locker Room. In the past years we have not kept our fans up to date during the off season, but this year the team felt it was important to let you know how our preparation for the 2008 season was coming along!
To begin with a recap of the 2007 season: SWG had an AMAZING performance at NCAAs. We qualified for Super Six for the third time in six years and finished 5th overall, a mere four tenths out of 2nd place. As a team we hit 54/54 routines (the only team to do so!!). After returning from Salt Lake City we had two weeks off of practice to catch up on school work and rest before we started our journey for the 2008 season. On May 15th we started our post season conditioning, which consisted of cardio, gym specific exercises, weight training, as well as Swiss ball exercises and active flexibility! It was certainly not easy, but it felt great to get back into the gym as a team and feel SORE again...hahaha. At the beginning of June we had our last team meeting of the season and discussed our goals for the coming year...National Champions...and what we needed to be doing individually over the summer to be prepared for preseason in September. One of the big concerns was to increase the level of difficulty in our routines. Therefore, we decided that instead of just strictly focusing on conditioning and maintaining skills over the summer we all need to focus on having our NEW skills prepared to go by September!! Conditioning will not be sidelined though because we still have to pass our fitness test as a team the day we get back in order to start training gymnastics!
With those goals in mind we have all started to go our separate ways….home, summer school/ classes, internships, working summer camps, research positions, vacations! More than half the team is staying on or near campus this summer though, which is really exciting and will allow us to train together!
Thanks again for checking in with SWG, we really appreciate all of your continued support. By the way, Stanford has just clinched the Director's Cup for the 13th year in a row WOOHOO-GO CARD!!
May 2, 2007
Hey SWG Fans,
Well the SWG 2007 season has come to an end after an exciting and successful week spent in Salt Lake City! Our week started out with a surprise from the coaches. Normally when we travel to the airport we take a large coach bus, but this time our team was riding in style with an Escalade limo. We had a fun time watching and singing along to Mariah Carey music videos!! After arriving in Salt Lake City we went to dinner and then saw Blades of Glory, which was absolutely hilarious and a great motivational video to see before our competition…haha! I can guarantee that we will be quoting lines from that movie for quite a long time.
Wednesday morning was devoted to studying and then we had a very light practice in the afternoon to get used to the equipment and get our bodies moving. After practice Aimee’s parents kindly invited us for a team dinner. We all enjoyed a delicious meal and spent some time watching Aimee in old family videos of her gymnastics competitions. On Thursday we were in the second session of prelims. The way that NCAAs work is that there are two sessions of prelims each comprised of six teams and the top three teams of the night qualify for Super Six competition on Friday. We were competing against the University of Utah, UCLA, LSU, University of Michigan and University of Denver. After hitting 24 for 24 routines (first time since January) we finished 2nd just .125 behind Utah, which meant that we had qualified for the second day of competition! It was just the third time in six years that Stanford has qualified for Super Six!
We were all very excited, but knew that we needed to get some good rest before going out to compete for the second day in a row. Friday night was the big night that we had been waiting and preparing for all year. I think I can speak for the whole team that it was such a great rush to go out and compete in front of 10,000 screaming fans with the five other premier teams in the country. Nobody on the team had previously competed at the NCAA “Super Six” competition, so it was quite impressive when we went out with laser like focus and hit 24 for 24 routines for the second night in a row! At the end of the night we ended up finishing 5th, just four tenths behind the second place team and we can proudly say we were the only team to have a 100% hitting rate! Even though it is not quite where we had hoped to finish it was a huge stepping stone from our previous season and will keep us fired up and hungry for next years season.
The week was not over after Friday night however. On Saturday morning there was brunch for all the competitors and coaches and after we were able to spend the afternoon with our family. Saturday night was individual finals and Stanford made history by having 6 different girls with All American honors. The hitting percentage increased yet again after all the girls in event finals nailed their routines. Saturday night after the competition we headed back to Aimee’s house again and had a team sleepover. We enjoyed a sundae bar while watching a movie and relaxing our bodies. WE spent our last day in Utah at Park City and had the experience of going down a zip line that was built over some of the down hill ski slopes from the Olympic Games. It was a thrilling experience and a great way to wake ourselves up before a long day of studying.
Sorry for the long post, but there was a week of activities to explain! SWG would like to say thank you so much for supporting us throughout the season it really means a lot and we greatly appreciate it! On May 15th we will be getting back to work in the gym to prepare for the 2008 edition of SWG!!
Thanks again and GO CARD!
April 23, 2007
I cannot believe how fast this year has gone by and the fact that this week is the last week of the 2007 NCAA gymnastics season and spring quarter mid-terms are fast approaching. I remember watching NCAA championships on TV prior to college and thinking how fun it would be to compete at such an exciting and meaningful event. In three days, that will become a reality. This is the first year since I came to Stanford that SWG has made it to nationals and we can't wait!
One of the girls was asked the other day when her season started, she replied, "September." I couldn't have agreed more. You could tell from the first day we stepped onto campus in September that there was no other option for this hungry team. I am so proud of how far this team has come and the determination and passion that each girl has brought to practice everyday. It is truly exciting to be going to nationals with an amazing group of girls that I love and who have not stopped working hard towards our goals since that first day in September. It has been a long and exciting season so far, but it is not over yet.
Over the past week, we have been in the gym, working on minor details to make our routines flawless. Execution and landings have been a major focus as we began to taper to have the best body feeling for Nationals. Mini-intrasquads everyday have kept us in the competition mind-set, fine-tuning our mental focus as we work on fine-tuning physically. Skills are bigger and better, and the enthusiasm is right up there with it. All that is left is to pack and write a paper before we leave tomorrow. Somehow these things don't seem to matter so much when I think about what lies ahead :
Thanks for checking in with SWG and to all those going to nationals, see you there!
April 17, 2007
Shabam! Yup, you can say that again. Now that, my friend, is the sweet sound of victory. It is the sound one makes when a special team that diligently trains for seven months, fine-tuning both mentally and physically, steps out onto the floor of the Regional competition and dominates. Shabam! This weekend was absolutely incredible.
To begin the long day, we all awoke to the bright Arizona sun…. pretty much amazing. I swear, it was a sign. Excitement and enthusiasm permeated the hotel like no other and the entire team was psyched for the competition to begin. But first, we went through some team traditions, visualizing, laughing, and cracking jokes along the way. Can you say FUN? Well, you should because it is the best feeling ever to be able to genuinely connect with such an amazing group of girls.
Anyway, arriving at the University of Arizona, we walked into a locker room filled with spiffy decorations and crepe paper, props to Louie and Sprando. =) Music blasting and having a great time preparing for a grand entrance, we all relaxed a little before we walked out onto the floor. Warm-ups went very smoothly with everyone hitting their skills, giving each girl a preponderance of confidence. And let me tell you. We were prepared. Prepared to hit, prepared to perform, and prepared to have fun.
Bars started off strong with five big hits, followed by five exceptional beam routines. Momentum was building, the arena was filled with screaming gymnasts, and SWG was lighting up the floor with exquisite dance and explosive tumbling. So I pretty much think the audience was mesmerized by the performances. Vault was spectacular with every girl blasting off the horse. We hit, we danced, we laughed, and boy did we conquer.
And then all of a sudden, it was over. I realized that those four hours culminated in one of the greatest college moments, especially for the sophomore and junior class. It was an emotional night, but one never to be forgotten. We are now on our way to the National Championship where all of our hard work will be presented through performance. I have one thing to say: Watch out, because super SWG is here to obliterate. Believe it. :P Thanks for reading. Hope everyone is doing well!
April 9, 2007
Inside the Locker Room... from the Heart
We're getting ready in the locker room at the University of Arizona, and I hear the usual noises of weeks past. "Suddenly I See" is blaring through Nikki's speakers, and Liz's contagious laugh is echoing and bouncing against the room's walls. I see the same events reoccurring as they have been, every weekend for three months. The sophomores are stuffing themselves into one locker and taking silly pictures. Sparkling glitter is on each member of SWG's face, warm-up, and hair, as well as every inch of the floor. Mike's concoction has been poured into little Gatorade cups for everyone to refuel. Like I said, all of this is normal and has come to be commonplace for me this year.
But the noises and events happening in the locker room are not the only things that have come to be expected. Every weekend, I look forward to a general feeling of having a great time with a group of girls whom I love, and I love each one just as much as the next. The time that I have spent with them is immeasurable. I guess, technically speaking, I could go back and actually calculate how much time I have spent with them. That amount of time would be an extremely large number, but it would mean nothing compared to what I have learned during that period. Every one of us has each and every girl's back. What we have been through this year, both physically and mentally, has made us all the stronger. We have done the hard work necessary to be successful and completely confident in our abilities, and it is now time to let that work pay off. It's time to show what we can do.
As I sit in the locker room wearing my competition leotard and warm-up with "Stanford" stitched across the back, I remember this scenario as something that has happened many times before, and in many ways it is still the same. Even though it's a regional competition, what really matters is that little extra shimmy, that wink in the middle of the routine right in front of the judge, the look of confidence in what's being done-both by the performer and by the girls cheering her on, and the silly celebratory jumping around at the end of the routine. We're still going to be that goofy team; we're just a goofy team with a purpose. We know we're prepared, and the best part is that all we have to do is what we love with those we love. We love gymnastics, we love our team, and we love to have fun. What could be better?
April 4, 2007
Wow! It's amazing that another spring and academic quarter have arrived! Sadly, spring break is over, but it's great to enjoy the refreshing, new spring along with a fresh start to classes that start up again this week…and I'm very excited that it's my turn to update you guys on how awesome SWG is doing right now.
As you probably know, last weekend was Pac-10's, and we had a strong performance for a second place finish. UCLA had a great meet and beat us out by only a couple tenths of a point. There were some areas in our performances where we opened the door for deductions, and understandably, the team score was affected. We had high hopes of a first place finish at this meet, especially after being undefeated in the Pac-10 for regular season competition so you can imagine how fired up we were after coming in second. We are a hungry team who has been proving our potential all year long, and looking back on the weekend only adds more fuel to our blazing fire.
As we further reflected on our performances as a team, there were many things we have to be proud of. First, the depth of our team is one of our most invaluable assets. Kristen listed maintaining depth as one of our major goals at the start of the year, and it has proven its importance. The fact that we have so many people contributing is awesome! On the gymnastics side, everyone who is healthy is ready to compete and step in on at least an event or two, if not more. The girls who are unfortunately unable to finish out the season—Allyse and Heather—have given us relentless love and support, without which our task would be infinitely more difficult. It's due to our depth that we currently have our 4th place national ranking. Also, although we had a few mistakes, we showed our toughness by covering for each other to minimize the gaps in scores and breaks in performances. This really shows our toughness and growth as a team because recovering quickly is something that we have struggled with in the past. At the end of the day we were able to walk away with a respectable score of 196.95. You can check out the video of the meet in the "Podcasts" section of our multi-media website
here. The user name is SWG2007, and the password is 010107SWG.
I have just a few more exciting things to tell you before I close out! I just want to mention how exciting it was to stand up and cheer for Carly and Kristen as they accepted their awards for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively! Also, we hope you're all looking forward to the next thrilling step of post-season... REGIONALS! We just found out that we'll be back down in Tucson, Arizona where the top two teams move on to Nationals! Right now we're practicing with more determination than we ever have, and our coaches are working just as hard to prepare us for what lies ahead. Carly shared a great quote with us the other day, and I really think it sums up our goal: "Train like an underdog, compete like a champion."
That's it for now—thanks for bearing with me on this entry, there were so many important things I felt I should share with all of you! Thanks also for checking in with us, and come back soon for another update. Happy spring, everyone!
March 27, 2007
It's been another great week for SWG. Finals week is always tough, so to go out there yesterday against UCLA and have a great meet is exhilarating. During finals week we are required to have voluntary practice, so everyone just goes in when they can, and we don't have the whole team there supporting us. However, in our meet yesterday, our energy was better than ever and is going to give us great upwards momentum going into post season. We finished the regular season undefeated in the Pac-10, which is a first for SWG, and, of course, clenching that feat by beating UCLA in front of a home crowd always feels good. The team was worried that there wouldn't be as many people there since most of the students have left for spring break, but there was still an amazing crowd there to support us, so on behalf of SWG, I would like to say thank you for that!
Today we had a team barbeque along with some sand volleyball, which is always a hoot to watch as we show off our incredible volleyball skills. It feels so nice to be on spring break and to have no school! We have two more practices before we head to Arizona State for Pac-10's for total domination. SWG will be super strong in post season because we have the most fun, so stay tuned!!!
March 19, 2007
This past week in the gym we have been working a lot on focusing in on our teammates and channeling our collective energy into making each and every turn count. It has been exciting to feel the energy and intensity grow every day in the gym as we step further outside our personal workout and into the workouts of the 13 amazing girls around us. Even though we have had more physically tiring assignments this week, the energy has been higher and more focused, and the effects have shown in our gymnastics. We are all grateful to be working towards a common goal by doing something we love with a group of our best friends, and we are determined to make the most of every practice together. It was also exciting to have Liz back in action this week, doing light bar workouts and a few vault timers.
Last weekend some of the team took advantage of the beautiful weather and went on a quick get-away to Half Moon Bay. We spent the afternoon relaxing and studying on the beach, but it was a bit too chilly to go in the water. It was definitely a nice refresher before plunging into dead week and the final push for finals. All of us beach-lovers were excited when the coaches announced that we will be going on a team trip to Santa Cruz next week… with a possibility of surfing lessons too! But as of now, we are buckling down and focusing on finals and our upcoming home meet against the Bruins. It is a great opportunity to go up against a strong team such as UCLA in our final preparations for post-season, and we are confident in our ability to carry over all the hard work we have been putting into our practices. Thanks for checking in, and GO CARD!!!
March 12, 2007
We hit the ground running again as we stepped back out onto the competition floor on Friday night. It was great to be home again, in our own arena and performing for our own fans. To try to encourage more students to come out and watch, we made it freshman dorm competition night; giving free pizzas to the freshman dorm with the highest attendance. It was fun to see the turnout grow as the night went on, and to hear our friends cheering for us in the background.
After a week off of competition, and with rested bodies, we were ready to once again show off all of the hard work that we have been putting in since day one. The meet started off well on vault. We had five solid hits that led to a 49+ score. We have been working really hard on saving tenths on our landings, which showed as we had two sticks on the night. The team continued on to bars, which is usually SWG's staple event, but the swinging was not so smooth Friday night. There were a couple of mistakes, and we did not get to count five great scores like we usually do. However, we were still able to pull off a 49+ on the event. After a tough rotation and after our recent performances, beam could have been a disaster. But the team has been working so hard on the event, especially on mental toughness. With tons of confidence, the team went up and did what they were supposed to do. It was 10 times better than the performance in Nebraska, but there is still room for improvement, and we will definitely be striving for perfection in the upcoming weeks. Knowing that we had a solid beam rotation behind us, we headed to floor. It was great because the fans were excited and they really enjoyed each and every performance. As usual, the floor team was able to light up the building, and SWG ended on a great note.
We are off once again next weekend, and then we have our last home meet against UCLA on March 25. Between now and then I have no doubt that the team is going to be putting in more the 100% every day in the gym, even with upcoming papers and finals. I know that I can speak for the team when I say that there is nothing that we want more than to be standing atop the podium at Nationals at the end of the year, and we are going to do everything in our power to get there.
Thanks for being so supportive.
March 5, 2007
Finally, after eight straight weekends of competitions, the CARD received a much deserved weekend off. However, even with the weekend off, we were still hard at work in the gym. We are using this time to perfect the little details while also giving our bodies a rest. From our less than par performance on the balance beam in our past two competitions (University of Arizona and University of Nebraska), the team as a whole has committed to stepping up and becoming mentally tough on that event. Our coach, Kristen Smyth, is continually trying to put the beam line-up in uncomfortable situations proving to everyone including ourselves that we are able to hit whenever and wherever. With beam intrasquads at least once, sometimes twice a day, everyone was on their toes and ready to show a 9.8 or better beam routine.
The week off also enabled SWG to play around with new skills, which we usually don't have time for with competitions on the weekend. We are increasing our depth on all events with such forces as Kelly Fee, Stephanie Carter, Tenaya West, and Stephanie Gentry fighting for those spots in the line-up.
We are going into this week of training with a refreshed mentality, and more passion and drive than before. I'm so excited for our home meet this Friday night at 7:30 in Burnham Pavilion. Its going to be nice to have the home crowd behind us once again. Although a weekend off was nice, the CARD is ready to get back out on the competition floor and show everyone what we are made of!
Thanks for reading!
February 26, 2007
Well, we had a very long and rather eventful trip this weekend. We started out early on Saturday morning for Nebraska. With the reports of snow we were a little worried. However, we made it into Omaha. Lots of the girls were really excited to see the snow. It was only the first or second time some had seen it actually snowing! The next part of our journey is where the adventure begins. We got on the bus to head to Lincoln. However, the bus failed to make it up the on-ramp to the highway. We were all a little nervous as we had to back down the ramp. Quite an experience. We got stuck a couple of other times heading to our new hotel in Omaha. After staying there for the night, we got up and left for Lincoln early Sunday morning, all safe and ready to go!
Starting on beam was a challenge for us this weekend. It was something new and I think that we were all a little nervous and that showed. Nevertheless, we did make some great improvements this weekend. A year ago, or even a couple months ago, with a performance like that on beam this team probably would have fallen apart. We showed tremendous growth in our mental toughness and ability to pull the meet back together. Floor was a highlight for me personally, as I got to compete for the first time since my freshman year. On vault, Nikki's huge stuck full set the tone for the rest of the rotation. Another highlight was having Tab back on bars. Though the night was not what we had hoped, with many mistakes on beam and a few things other places, we managed to pull it back together and finish well.
The team is looking forward to a much needed weekend off. We are also ready to get back and work hard, paying even more attention to details as we head into the last stretch of the regular season. We will be focusing on beam especially and getting back to being the confident team we have been for much of the season. "Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts." This team has a lot of heart. More heart than any team I've been apart of. That quote is something that has real meaning for this team I think. We learn from our mistakes and they motivate us to get better and to rise up.
Thanks for checking in, and GO CARD!
February 19, 2007
After coming off of a great competition last weekend, the team came into our next practice excited and ready to work. We started off with our usual spinning warm up and we ready to get started with practice when Kristen had a little surprise for us. She told us that we were going to start with a little team challenge which just so happened to be at Golf Land. The whole team was shocked and jumped up and down, yelling with excitement. We all got into our cars and drove to Golf Land as fast as we could. The challenge was that the team with the lowest mini golf average got their fleeces for the year. A lot of people made some incredible holes in one (not including me) and Carly Janiga impressed her group with a little off-course putting. Liz's team ended up with the lowest score and Liz walked away with a much needed personal day for getting the lowest score on the team. We all had a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoyed getting to hangout with each other outside the gym.
With a day of rest, the team was fired up to compete in our next meet. We were all excited when Carly gave a list of 20 people she was expecting to come to support us. We had some pretty great support from them and from some of our other much appreciated supporters. The competition line ups were a little confusing with Alex and I both being sick. We changed the lineups a couple times before the meet even began and then changed them again when I tweaked my knee on vault. Alex was great in stepping up when we needed her. She performed beautifully once again on floor, which ended up earning her a team fleece for the highest scoring event. With a couple wobbles on beam, SWG is getting ready to improve a little bit more for our next meet in Nebraska. I am very excited for this meet because we get to go up against LSU and Nebraska, who are both great teams. Thanks for reading and for supporting us!
February 11, 2007
"What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. Right now." -Author Unknown
The last time Stanford Women's Gymnastics competed for their home crowd in Maples Pavilion, it was over a year ago and the result was far from a storybook ending. For those of us returning from last year, the feeling of that night was not far from our thoughts as we entered the arena this past Friday night to take on three challenging teams. I'm sure many were wondering how the night would end, something that was waiting to be written, but we had no doubts and approached the night with confidence and tons of fire and excitement.
Not only were we able to grasp a victory and put up our highest team score of the season, but the night was filled with outstanding performances and highlights all around. Freshman Stephanie Carter's debut in the vault line up with a huge yurchenko full and Ourada's first place all-around performance were of great excitement, just to name a few. It was also Alumni night, so several alum were introduced and stayed to support us. Additionally, about two-thirds of the team's parents helped to fill the stands.
I also want to take the time to note the continual effort present in each workout behind the scenes. Everyone is improving every day, challenging themselves both mentally and physically. I feel blessed to be a part of such a motivating team and am inspired by the work ethic and culture of family instilled in the program. Even as the quarter progresses and midterms, problem sets, and papers begin to pile up, SWG keeps getting better and stronger. No telling what will happen from here…
Thanks for reading!
February 5, 2007
As the Indianapolis Colts battled the Chicago Bears, we took on some Bears of our own at the Haas Center in Berkeley. As some of you might have read, we entered this meet without two of our stars, Liz and Tabby. Going in, we knew there we two ways to face this meet, fight or flight…and we fought. Injuries are an unfortunate part of this sport, but by resting several of our girls, we were able to showcase some of our other stars. For example, Carly Janiga, “The Jaginaut,” performed with the confidence and attitude of a senior with perfectly stuck landings on three events and a breathtaking floor routine. Lauren Elmore made her uneven bars debut with a gorgeous routine topped off by a stuck landing! Also, Stephanie Gentry performed an explosive vault followed by a beautiful floor routine that helped us build toward our 196.075 team score. Shout to all of SWG! Way to step up!
That being said, what I love most about this team is not our scores or gymnastics or our ability to rise up when faced with adversity, but rather how much we enjoy our sport. I speak for the whole team when I say that being a member of the Stanford Women’s Gymnastics team isn’t a job but a privilege. We love doing what we do and it shows when we compete. Even when we’re injured, sick, tired, and overwhelmed, we love our school, we love our sport, and we love working collectively as a family to one day stand atop the podium.
We look forward to next week’s home competition carrying with us the same attitude as Dwight Schrute who said, “I am ready to face any challenges that might be foolish enough to face me.”
Thanks for reading!
January 29, 2007
Sleepless in Seattle
Coming off two away meets and our first home meet, the coaches decided that it would be a good idea to lower our numbers routine-wise for the week. We kept up with our conditioning, but it was nice to give our bodies a little rest before heading to Washington. Also, it was exciting to put 6 new routines into the line-up. The additions allowed Liz and Heather to take a break after competing three consecutive weekends.
The trip to Seattle was definitely a treat. Seattle’s Best, Starbucks, Tully’s Coffee, side street coffee shops… it’s no wonder it's sleepless in Seattle! SWG had some time to chill before the competition so we went to shop around Pike’s Place for a bit. A bunch of us picked up or caught the HUGE fish at the open market (the vendor threw one of the fish at Liz!). It was pretty amusing. I, personally, was psyched to buy a drink from the original Starbucks! Anyhow, it was great just spending time together, getting some fresh air, and soaking up the beautiful Seattle scenery.
The competition got started off great with a solid bar rotation. Quick shout outs to Kelly Fee, who has done an amazing job setting the tone this year with her bar sets, and to Blair for adding the Jager into her bar routine (a release skill that looks like a front-flip in a straddle position)! Vault was lead by Carly (aka the Jaginaut), who started off the vault rotation with a bang. Pinch finished up the rotation with a classy yurchenko-layout 1/2, beautiful toe-point and all. It was really neat because we have special cheers that we do for some girls on vault. One of the things we do to show our support for Pinch is that we stand on the side of the runway and make pinching gestures with our hands. Yes, we are a little bit silly, but it’s all in good fun. Anyhow, it was awesome because a group of fans sitting by the vault runway started pinching their fingers in support for Pinch too! Moving on to the next rotation, we carried the momentum from vault to floor. Everyone did a great job performing their routines, especially our closer Steph Gentry who was absolutely breathtaking. It was her first time competing floor and it was great to see her out there! Lauren Elmore began the final rotation with her usual poise and confidence for an awesome beam set. The next performers followed suit with equally strong sets. There were a few bobbles here and there, but we were able to hold it together for a final score of 196.075. Yay SWG! As we look forward to the next few weeks, we are excited because we get a little break from traveling. Our next meet is against CAL on Sunday, February 4th followed by a home meet on February 9th. This time we will be competing in Maples. We hope to see you all there!
Thanks for checking in. We * heart * you guys!
January 22, 2007
I cannot even describe what the last week has been like for our team. I
guess the first word that comes to mind is AMAZING! We bussed down to SoCal
on Saturday, doing homework and watching movies. On Sunday, we did some
shopping before going to Lauren’s family’s beach house for the remainder of
the afternoon. We walked on the beach, went into the Jacuzzi, had dinner,
and relaxed before returning back to our hotel. Monday was definitely the
highlight of a great weekend as we hit 24 out of 24 routines and 3 out of 4
exhibition routines. Everyone on the team did what they do everyday in
practice and the results finally showed what SWG is capable of.
A highlight of the evening was Nikki’s reaction to her landing on bars. The evening
before while we were doing our visualizations, Swizzle had told Nikki that
if she ended a certain way, he would refrain from making fun of her for a
month or do the three minute, really hard, abs circuit he created for us.
Nikki could not pass up the opportunity and finished just the way he dared
her too. We all had the pleasure of watching our coaches suffer through the
three minute abs. The good news is that they all finished, the bad news is
that they might be sore for a while :)
A few days after UCLA, we had our first home meet against ASU in Burnham Pavilion. Ever since I was a
freshman, I have loved competing in Burnham because of its intimate setting
and the amazing fans we have. This year, we decided to start something new
called the “24 club”. Since our goal is to hit 24 out of 24 routines and we
want to involve our fans in the meet as much as possible, we gave out 24
“24” shirts to our closest friends who came wearing the shirts and sat in
the student section. For every routine hit, one person of the 24 had to
stand up. By the end of the night, not only was the 24 club standing, but
the entire student section was cheering and excited as we hit 24 out of 24
routines and 4 out of 5 exhibition routines. It was an amazing night with
Liz getting a perfect 10.0 on bars and our team scoring a 197+. The energy
in Burnham was incredible and made our first home meet a success.
I cannot wait for the next one already. Thank you to everyone that came and
supported us on Friday and we hope to see you at the next one on February
9th in Maples. Thanks for checking in and supporting SWG! GO CARD!
January 8, 2007
Hey everyone! Wow, how incredibly exciting these past weeks have been. We all returned to the bay area the day after Christmas to prepare for our first dual meet of the year against the University of Georgia. Full of excitement and enthusiasm, the team trained exceptionally well, hitting routine after routine. When game day came around on the Wednesday before we left for Georgia, each girl performed aggressively, creating a most determined atmosphere. I mean, boy, you should've been there to see everyone's faces, hungry for competition and victory. It was quite a sight. The strong performances from each girl definitely added to the confidence of the team as a whole and really proved our preparedness for our first competition.
Meanwhile, we stayed at the Creekside Inn since we couldn't move back into our dorms yet. It was fun just relaxing and watching America's Next Top Model Megathon. :) Good times. We also had the opportunity to go shopping… a lot. Lol. But seriously, what more would a girl want to do in her free time than shop? That's right, I couldn't think of anything either. Anyway, that's pretty much all we did leading up to the meet: chill like we've never chilled before. :)
Now, moving on…so my whole experience traveling to Georgia with the team was pretty entertaining and definitely interesting. I think I can also speak for my fellow froshies. It was certainly my first time traveling through the airport in heels and formal attire. :O Comical, yes. Comfortable, no. I think all of the freshmen were pretty proud we made it to Georgia without tripping and falling on our faces. Regarding the meet, I realized the importance of team camaraderie, unity, and desire from the way we handled ourselves during the competition. We started off pretty well on bars with five big hits and then moved on to vault where Purnell, Steph, Nikki, CJ, Tab, Blur, and Pinch each delivered huge vaults. Then, we moved to floor and performed some beautiful and dynamic routines. Purnell started off, as usual, with a very strong routine, followed by Pinch's extraordinary dance moves. Though we had a couple of falls on floor, CJ and Tab definitely brought it back together with commendable performances. The crowd of almost 10,000 was definitely awed by our dynamic and exciting routines. On beam, Elmo was a key starter, setting the team up for some big hits. Though we had a few mistakes here and there, we made it through and maintained our high energy. Unfortunately, this was not enough to defeat Georgia, but we are now even more determined to prove our talent this season. We are going to be an indomitable force, so everyone, watch out! Anyway, the next day we had a few hours to spare before our flight left, so we went to the CNN headquarters, which was incredible. We saw everything that goes on during a show, the behind-the-scene stuff and the reporters constantly typing away. It made me want to consider a new major… communications maybe? I could be the next Katie Couric! Or not. Lol.
Well, that's pretty much the synopsis of the past week. We start classes on Tuesday, so things should begin to get fairly busy with competitions every weekend. We'll see how it goes! Go Card!
December 11, 2006
So I have to admit that I am writing this as procrastination for the political science paper that I really am supposed to be doing : Last week was dead week, so that means that we had voluntary practices. The gym was open from 12-5 and we came in pretty much whenever we could. It's a bummer that we don't get to work out as a team for these two weeks, but it is crunch time in school as finals start tomorrow! Dead week we tried out a new "no fall" policy in the gym, which basically means that if you fall, you must leave the event and come back later to finish up what you were doing. I think it's working well, as it puts more competition-like pressure on us, so hopefully it will help us as we work out the final kinks before season starts. We have decided as a team to have one more intrasquad right after finals in preparation for our meet with Georgia on January 6th. We're going to set up Burnham Pavilion, so that should be pretty exciting. After that, it will be nice to go home and relax after finals and rejuvenate so that we will be nice and fresh come January. I for one cannot wait for competition season to start, it's going to be awesome so stay tuned!
December 4, 2006
Hey SWG fans!
After a restful Thanksgiving break, we returned to the gym with renewed energy and a higher level of intensity. We finished up the week with our “hard intrasquad,” in which we tried to closely simulate a meet experience with competitive line-ups, hard landings, judges, and fans. A quick shout-out to Nikki for a fantastic floor routine in which she competed a piked full-in for the first time on the hard floor, and ended with a huge double pike. It was also great to see girls who are coming back from injuries not only compete with hard landings, but hit some amazing routines. Afterwards we had a team meeting in which we honestly addressed our weaknesses as a team and how we are going to implement changes in our practices so that we can, as we have been talking a lot about, turn our weaknesses into our strengths.
This weekend was also our “Junior Visit Weekend,” and we had four awesome girls out for unofficial visits. It was fun to get to know these girls and show them a little bit of Stanford life. We’re now gearing up for dead week (which, as a freshman I’m finding out isn’t really so “dead” considering we still have classes and even midterms!) and then finals week.
Thanks for checking in, and thanks to everyone who came to support us at our intrasquad!
November 28, 2006
Well, let me tell you that we have had another great week. As Carly said, we ended last week with an intrasquad, and everyone did an amazing job. After completing the meet, we hosted a clinic for girls ranging from beginners to Level 10's. I think that it was a great experience for everyone involved. We all had fun coaching and helping out and the participating gymnasts seemed to have a lot of fun.
It's a little difficult to hit the ground running right after a meet, but we were all up to the challenge. We had a great couple of days of training before heading home for Thanksgiving. We kicked things up a notch on floor by putting our tumbling passes out on the hard ground, away from the resi pit and the softer landing. Everyone stepped up to the plate and showed that all of the training and conditioning we have been doing has paid off. We were able to tumble with ease, which is a great confidence builder as we get closer and closer to season. We also pulled a beam outside of the gym and into the main hallway of our facility, only to learn that we were expected to show a beam routine in this entirely new setting. This didn't seem to faze anyone. It was nice to see the looks of determination on everyone's faces as they stepped up to show off their skills.
Now we are all on a well-deserved break at home to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families. I have no doubt in my mind that every single one of us is going to come back ready to go. Season is right around the corner, and I feel that everybody is ready to get out there and compete. I can't wait to see what the coming couple of weeks will bring.
November 20, 2006
Hi SWG fans!!
Today we wrapped up the week with a highly anticipated intrasquad, the first of the season. It was great to see how far our team has progressed in only a few short months. Not only did our gymnastics look spectacular, the team camaraderie was amazing! For the purposes of the intrasquad we were split into two teams, "Quince" and "The Pound"-yes, weird names, I know, but it was fun to dress up for the themes and get the crowd going! Thanks to all the fans that came out to support us! It was fun performing to a crowd! We even had guest judges come in; some of them being gymnast's teachers, some gymnasts from the guy's team, and even past Stanford gymnasts. It was definitely a fun competition. Before we left the locker room to compete, Tabitha said that today was going to be our hardest competition of the year because we were competing against each other! I thought that was a great outlook on today's exhibition and on the season as a whole. It was great to use this intrasquad as a check point and she what our strengths and weaknesses are. The MVP of the meet was definitely Heather Purnell, as she totally raised the bar throughout the whole competition. She was the first to compete for team "Quince" and continued to be a leader, posting huge scores on every single event. According to the scores, which weren't very accurate given the guest judges' creative evaluations (including some some 10.6s), team "Quince" won!!! But the "Pound" put up an incredible fight!
Hope that everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
November 13, 2006
Hi SWG fans!!
It's been another exciting week here! We've been doing more and more
gymnastics and everyone is looking awesome. One of the highlights has been
seeing all the new floor routines perfected. The girls are really starting
to perform them. The last two Friday's we've been doing dance throughs with
a word in mind, and then as we watch we try and guess the word that the
person is performing. It's been really fun to do and has helped everyone
get more in to their routines. We continue to do a lot of pressure sets,
and are really improving. A highlight this week was Carly on beam. We were
going for 3 beam sets with 3 tenths in deduction total, and the two first
girls had done decent routines, but little mistakes. She needed to hit a
perfect routine... And oh my, it was beautiful!!! It's so exciting to see
everyone doing big gymnastics and doing it consistently well.
We've been talking a lot about confidence this week. How to build it in
ourselves and each other. And as I look around the gym, I do see it
building. You can see it in the girls performances. Everyone is starting
to believe. To believe in themselves, their abilities, the team, the plan
and the goals. That is fun to be a part of. As a group we are looking
stronger and continue to improve each and every day. This is a hard
working, fun, and committed team. I can't wait to see what amazing things
will happen in the weeks and months to come! Check in again next week and
see how this amazing group of women is progressing towards their goals!
November 3, 2006
We had a fun beginning to our Halloween practice. Our areas for getting ready for super spirit days and Halloween have been established with all the frosh getting ready in one bathroom stall; its part of their bonding time. The sophomores were the first to make an appearance with our signature hair spray color. We were H20 and we sprayed our hair blue and dressed in all blue. We had sparkles all over us and we had H20 written all over, but it still hasn't come off all the way. The Freshman were Air Froshners, FYGS scented. They actually sprayed themselves with air freshener too. The Juniors were a Junior Mint package, with Tabby and Steph being two mints. It was cute. They also had a little animation were the package ripped open and Tab and Steph fell out. They coaches came in as X-men. Kristen was Storm and had a really scary wig on! It was a fun time before our practice began.
We have been talking a lot about our goals for the year and doing a lot of pressure sets lately. We have done each event and it's been really exciting because they have been going really well. The part is that only six girls get up in the line up for pressure sets, but we have other girls that could step in at any time. It's nice to have more depth this year. It's also really good for our gymnastics because it forces us to compete for spots in the line up. We have also been doing something new this year with our challenges. Twice a week, one of us makes up either a mental or physical challenge. They are really fun, but they make us think, or practice our gymnastics in a game type situation. All the conditioning and hard work we have been doing is really starting to show in our gymnastics. We are able to do more and be safe doing it. It's more fun when we are more confident in out skills and being stronger gives us that confidence. Having all the variety in practice and being able to do big gymnastics makes every practice fun.
October 30, 2006
Another week has passed, along with the monotony of daily schedules, classes and weekly problem sets, but it was anything but monotony in the Cardinal gym this week. Progressions were made daily and we have once again come out stronger and better than the week before.
Tradition has it that the SWG team takes one week “out of the gym” on a hard conditioning/light gymnastics week to get some good ‘ol cross training in. We didn’t take a whole week this year, but in honor of tradition, spent Thursday and Friday doing some alternate activities.
The week started out awesome in the gym. Several of us are getting new floor routines and those have really started to come along, bringing a new excitement and tone to the gym. We really pushed the limits on conditioning and narrowed our focus gymnastically, doing less numbers but doing them efficiently and well. Additionally, we are continuing to learn more about each other and our individual training habits and have been able to help each other out more.
Thursday was our first day out of the gym and the afternoon was spent at Half Moon Bay on the beach! Yes, it was paradise…amazing weather, perfect waves, the sand in your toes, and then—the conditioning began. The coaches had a pretty rigorous workout session, but we all worked hard and made it through with flying colors. The highlight of the afternoon would have to be the football game we played at the end…wow, talk about some entertainment. I must say I’m proud to be on the winning team, made possible only by Tabitha Yim’s amazing catching ability!
On Friday, we walked what is known as “The Dish” on campus, which is about a 3.5 mile hike with some great views. Again, the weather proved gorgeous and we had some great team bonding time. We finished up the afternoon with a challenging weights workout with our strength coach, concluding the week on a high note.
Words could never succeed in relaying the SWG experience right now, but I hope this gives you a glimpse of what we’ve been up to and what we’re working for. Be sure to check back in next week…who knows what may unfold!
October 24, 2006
One of the slogans we use in the gym is "finish stronger than you started" and I think we did a great job of that this week in particular. This week's training was unlike any other thus far. We pushed through some tough days of intense conditioning coupled with a lot of (sweet) gymnastics. It was so exciting to see so many girls doing their 10.0 vaults and putting tumbling into their new floor routines. The highlight of this week was definitely our first beam intrasquad. Not only did we hit six for six, but we also showed a level of confidence I have not seen before. We're pushing for a mean beam team this year and I think we're heading in the right direction. Shout out to Carly Janiga for a wobble-free routine in her first intrasquad and for turning 18 on October 19th! Happy Birthday! Out of the gym, most of us studied for midterms in the beginning of the week and are glad to have them over with…at least until next week. I have to pay my respects to Aimee for getting through midterms on three consecutive days! We're all pushing each other in and out of the gym and it's showing in our gymnastics, academics, and team chemistry. Our SWG family is growing closer everyday and I can't wait to see what new obstacles we'll overcome together this week.
Thanks for reading and, as always, GO CARD!
October 17, 2006
We started off this week with our team photo shoot! We have a Superhero theme this year and it was a lot of fun watching everyone come up with creative poses and ideas for our media guide. The title of our media guide plays off the summer movie Superman Returns (our title is Stanford Gymnastics Returns), which is perfect because Stanford Women's Gymnastics has definitely returned… and with a vengeance!
This is SWG's fourth week back and things continue to pick up both in and out of the gym. Everyone is settling into their classes and seems to be comfortable with the new fall schedule. This week we focused less on conditioning and more on our gymnastic skills. Hard gymnastics-light conditioning week is definitely my favorite part of our training cycle!
This was the first week that everyone practiced their big tricks and started piecing together skills and routines. It was our first week, but it looks like we have been working these routines for months! I want to make a special shout out to Fee (Kelly Fee) and Weedge (Allyse Ishino). They are able to bring our busy gym to a stop whenever they perform their new floor routines. WOW! They have such unique styles, and their personalities blast through in every beat of music. Great job girls :
I'm sad to see the week come to an end, but it was nice to finish the week with Homecoming. In honor of the Homecoming Weekend, SWG held a little exhibition on Saturday morning for the alumni. We had a chance to meet and chat with some alumni, which is always a treat! Thank you so much for everyone who came to watch us practice. We appreciate your continued support and encouragement.
We hope you all have a great week. Thanks for checking in. WE <3 you guys!
October 9, 2006
Hey SWG Fans!!
The second week of class has come to a close and I think we were all very excited for this weekend. Last weekend we had four recruits visiting for the class of 2011. On Saturday we all got together and had lunch and played some afternoon sand volleyball. We were all pretty competitive when it came to challenging the wrestlers and unfortunately we were unable to pull off a win, but I think the recruits along with everyone else would probably advised us to stick to gymnastics. After volleyball some of the girls had put together a scavenger hunt to show the recruits special landmarks around campus including the new football stadium, the libraries and of course Palm Drive. For dinner that night we decided to take a trip to University Avenue and walk around for awhile. We then concluded the night at the home volleyball game to show the girls our school spirit.
After the recruits left on Sunday we began our week of hard conditioning, light gymnastics. Even with a heavier work load and the tough conditioning it was encouraging watching everyone push through, knowing that this just puts us one week closer to competition season. It is definitely obvious that we are all ready to start training big skills because on Friday during our open practice there was lots of flipping and twisting happening. It was especially fun watching the Frosh do gymnastics to get a grasp on what kind of talent we have this year!! This next week should be exciting as we cut back on conditioning and start to focus on our skills and combinations. Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Steph Gentry for being voted the hardest worker this week and wearing the "yellow jersey".
This year we have also started to set aside fifteen minutes at the end of most practices for different team challenges. Mike was in charge of creating the challenges this week and the one that stood out in my mind happened on Monday. We were separated into two teams and each team had a leader and a messenger and the remaining members were blindfolded. The goal of the challenge was for the blindfolded members to take a piece of 30ft rope and make into an equilateral pentagon where each person was holding a corner. However, the leader could only talk to the messenger and the blindfolded members could only talk to the messenger. It was a great exercise demonstrating how important each person's role is on a team and how helpless you feel when you can't see what needs to be fixed.
Thanks for checking in this week!! GO CARD!
WOW!!! I can't believe its October already. It seems like just yesterday
that we got back from summer 'vacation' and went on our retreat. After
coming back from the retreat, the freshmen had their freshman orientation
week which was filled with fun activities and informational sessions. They
got to know their dorm mates and made awesome friends outside of the gym. I
think as a freshman, this was my favorite week of the year and friendships
started then that have lasted to this day.
As for the upperclassmen and
sophomores, we took that week to move into our new rooms and got things
organized for the start of classes. The weekend was spent enjoying our last
few days off from classes and watching the football game at home. Unfortunately, we lost the game but the new stadium looks awesome and being fans was fun too.
This past week was our first week of classes and so far, things are going
pretty well. No one got lost getting to the right place and everyone seems
to be enjoying most of their classes. I know that I am definitely looking
forward to this new academic year, especially since I decided to switch
majors this summer. This past week was also our first full week in the gym
and it went great! We have been spending a lot of time on strength and
cardio so that we can perform our skills with ease, but with each day comes
more and more gymnastics and it's amazing to watch the whole team start to
do more and more. Bars and beam are looking great with the girls working on
combinations and individual skills. Everyone has been working on their
tumbling and dance routines on floor. Kelly's new routine is coming along
so well and looks amazing! On vault, we have been focusing on drills and
timers over the horse in order to prepare for the big vaults coming up.
Seeing' Elmo and Liz doing more gymnastics has been incredible and I can't
wait for them to be completely back. Besides the gym, we have been working
hard with our new strength coach Jason on getting stronger and improving
our agility and running. It has only been two weeks that we have been back
practicing together and there's already an amazing excitement in the gym
that I cannot describe. Having five new faces is a blast and we are getting
to know them better and better everyday. It's going to be an exciting year
for SWG and I can't wait!!
Alex 'Pinch' Pintchouk
September 21, 2006
SWG is back and we are off to a running start for the 06-07 school year and competitive season! Our first challenge as a team was to pass the fitness test on our first day of practice (which was Friday Sept. 15th). The results of this challenge were a testament to the hard work that each and every girl on the team put in over the summer. The hours of conditioning, running, aerobic workouts, doing therapy and pushing our bodies over the summer months paid off as we conquered our first test as the SWG 2007 team.
Speaking of the 2007 team, we have five new additions to our already amazing group of young women. The new freshmen are: Allyse, Blair, Carly, Stephanie and Tenaya. As a team (both gymnasts, coaches and staff) I don't think we could have asked for a better freshman class in terms of talent, heart and personality. Granted, we are still getting to know these frosh, but after our weekend retreat at Yosemite I think we all have a pretty good idea of what an awesome group of freshmen our team has been blessed with. We also have a new athletic trainer joining us all the way from Florida. Her name is Tarah and we are so excited to have her joining the team.
As I mentioned earlier, we went on a weekend retreat to Yosemite National Park. All of the gymnasts and coaches, as well as Scott (Kristen's husband) and Maya (their five year old daughter), Shelly (Chris' wife) and Tarah (our new trainer) packed into five cars on Saturday morning and headed up to the park. That day we did a small hike, explored a few of the falls, took a bunch of pictures and retired to bed for an early night since the coaches had arranged for us to hike half-dome as a group the following day. (Half-dome is an 18 mile round-trip hike that takes an average of 12 hours). However, early the following morning…6:45 am to be exact…an alarm went off outside each of the three cabins that we gymnasts were staying in. What we found outside our tent was five t-shirts (one for each gymnast in the cabin) and an envelope including a map of Yosemite and our second big challenge as a team - The Amazing Race, SWG style. We spent the next 3 ½ hours running around Yosemite navigating our way to several different checkpoints and completing challenges as a team. The challenges included: answering trivia questions about the park, fitting each team members through a hole that we had to make in one sheet of 8x11 inch paper, completing a Sudoku puzzle, deciphering morse code, and completing a crossword puzzle with Stanford gymnastics trivia. In addition, every time we got a wrong answer, or had to ask for a hint, we had to do conditioning exercises (yup, even a game of The Amazing Race isn't complete unless the coaches find a way to fit in push ups, crunches and sprints!!!) The final challenge in our race was to hike up to Vernal Falls…a fairly tough and extremely steep hike up to a beautiful waterfall. The first team to the top of the falls were the winners and earned the prize of not cooking dinner that night.