Students are getting into form as the competitive season approaches. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Students are getting into form as the competitive season approaches. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

STORY AND VIDEO: Tumbling head-on into a new season

Prince Rupert Gymnastics Club is back on the mats as they eye another winning year

The sounds of rolls, flips, tumbles and more once again fill the air at the Prince Rupert Gymnastics Club, meaning a new season of competition must be just around the corner.

Tucked away behind the museum, the students of the competitive gymnastics teams are already hard at work getting ready for the new season with a week long intensive training session in the last week of August.

“We’re training roughly about six hours a day right now, just getting the girls back into shape, seeing what level they’re going to fit into and getting them used to the new training style,” Erin Hipkiss, head coach of the club, said.

That new style comes courtesy of Hipkiss herself, who is the new coach of the club starting this season. She takes over from Bill Tyrwhitt, who had coached the team for the past three seasons.

“I’m a lot more of a technical coach, I definitely focus more on their shapes and their presentation,” Hipkiss said. “The kids have a lot of natural talent, so it’s going to be a lot of cleaning up their skills and getting them ready for the level that they were in last year and progressing them into their new levels this year.”

Students are getting into form as the competitive season approaches. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

A high performance bar was set last year, with the athletes winning several medals at provincials and zone championships. Hipkiss believes these marks are just waiting to be topped.

“I’m looking to go even further,” Hipkiss commented on last year’s results. “I’ve been looking at some of their scores and I’m hoping to push them past their expectations and hopefully get the entire team to qualify for provincials this year.”

Head coach Erin Hipkiss uses her tablet to review technique with the girls. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Not only does Hipkiss want to send the whole team to provincials, she is also hoping for many of her athletes to qualify in the optional category, a more advanced level where kids are afforded more creativity in what routine they can perform during competition.

Hipkiss will have a number of assistants to help her and the team in their goals, including Kerianne Smith who has experience coaching with the team. Hipkiss is also looking forward to getting to know members of the local dance community, citing ballet skills as an important foundation of the sport.

Students find time to fit in some fun during the wall sit exercise. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Hipkiss certainly doesn’t want results to be the only takeaway from the season however.

“My biggest thing is to instill passion in them and let them find their way,” Hipkiss said. “Whether it’s on different events or it’s specific skills, you just have to have fun.”

Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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