Competing for Trinidad and Tobago was a major leap for St. Albert gymnast Marisa Dick.
The 15-year-old was the first junior elite athlete to perform for the Caribbean country at the recent Pan American gymnastics championships in Colombia.
“My mom was born there so I have dual citizenship,” Dick said. “I was really nervous because it was the first time representing that country and I wanted to make them proud.”
The Capital City club member tied for sixth on floor, placed seventh on vault and finished 15th all-around out of 35 gymnasts.
“I was very happy with how I did. It was a challenge. It was in South America and it’s different food and different climate. There was also a whole bunch of new countries that I didn’t even know had gymnastics,” said Dick, who participated in the Trinidad and Tobago nationals in Port of Spain prior to the Pan American meet.
Her first international competition was the 2011 Massilia Cup, a junior/senior high performance meet in Marseille, France with a provincial team of gymnasts from the Capital City and Stampede City clubs. She won bronze in the vault final and placed 14th all-around as the highest all-around Alberta finisher.
Last month Dick ranked among the top high performance juniors in Canada by finishing ninth all-around at nationals in Regina.
“I was really happy because it showed the other coaches and clubs and provinces that I am in the top 10.”
Dick’s highest placing was eighth in the vault and floor finals to lead the Alberta contingent.
“My goal was to make vault finals,” she said. “I had never made a floor final before so I was happy with that.”
Dick was disappointed with her showing on the uneven bars despite marked improvement in the various requirements in the apparatus.
“I tried to do a new dismount but it didn’t quite work though.”
Last year Dick fell short of cracking the top-10 all-around finishers in her high performance junior debut at nationals.
“It was a good experience seeing what the other girls I would be competing against next year were doing.”
Dick is no longer in awe of competing on the national and international stage after her recent accomplishments.
“I’m really starting to develop my confidence,” said the 19th all-around gymnast out of 36 competitors at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
Gymnastics is a labour of love for Dick, who started in the sport at age two. She trains six days a week, including twice a day three times, while logging 27 hours a week.
“It’s fun. I like the people I do it with. I also love the accomplishment of succeeding at trying new things,” said the Grade 9 graduate of Sir George Simpson School who will attend Bellerose Composite High School next fall.