Prince Rupert’s young gymnasts have a new set of guiding hands to help push them to the next level.
The Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association recently hired Kerianne Smith, a former gymnast from Coquitlam, to assist the club’s athletes in classes and competition preparation. Smith is the second full time coach the club has hired since the its first year five years ago.
In addition to gymnastics, Smith brings experience in personal training and a passion for helping other achieve their fitness goals to the club.
“It’s been amazing, I absolutely love it,” said Smith, who was at the club on Sept. 13 giving one-on-one instruction. “As a personal trainer, I never really enjoyed trying and struggling to motivate adults whereas the kids are so eager to learn and they’re great kids here.”
Smith moved to Prince Rupert eight months ago, and was introduced to the club by the parents of one of its members who mentioned the club was looking for a new coach.
Given her background, it was a perfect fit.
“She’s been doing a great job,” said Bill Tyrwhitt, the club’s head coach. “She’s really enthusiastic and she’s great with the kids.”
Tyrwhitt said having an extra coach on board for the season will be especially helpful as the club is continuing to build its program. Last season there were approximately 350 gymnasts registered at the club with 28 competing regularly at meets.
This year, Tyrwhitt said the club expects to have similar registration numbers with a competitive team of at least 40, which will be the largest in the zone. Tyrwhitt said the growth is due to enthusiasm from the club’s athletes and parents.
“All the children in this town and all the children that come to this club seem to really love it, and we’ve had very positive feedback from the parents.” he said.
Tyrwhitt said the club plans to attend four meets this season, which is one more than last year’s total. If there are any gymnasts that qualify to compete at provincials, Tyrwhitt said they will travel to Vancouver and Kelowna in 2019.
“This community is full of naturally talented, strong kids,” he said. “They’re doing really well, they really enjoy it and it really doesn’t take a lot of effort to turn them into competitive athletes because they’re all so talented.”