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Local gymnasts find podiums at Western Championships

Youth from two local gymnastics clubs managed to bring home 10 medals from the Western Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Langley, B.C. last weekend.

Youth from two local gymnastics clubs managed to bring home 10 medals from the Western Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Langley, B.C. last week.

The championships, commonly referred to as Westerns, is one of the most prestigious gymnastics competitions for youth from Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the territories.

Representing the St. Albert Gymnastics Club was Isabella Swallow, 16, who took home the silver medal in the Level 8 15-and-older girls floor exercise competition.

Swallow also placed 5th (out of 35) on the vault, 29th on the parallel bars, 10th on the balance beam, and 11th all-around. Only Reece Blades of Grande Prairie finished higher than Swallow in the all-around rankings for athletes from Alberta in their age and level category.

“I actually felt really good,” Swallow said about her first time competing at Westerns. “Usually after competitions I'm stressed, but it was really fun, I had a great experience.”

“I was just happy to be there; I didn't really have any expectations.”

She explained that the 2024 competition season is only the second season she's used her current floor routine, which earned her a medal at Westerns.

“This is probably the best I ever did it,” she said, explaining that her routine is about a minute and a half long and features three different tumbling lines, leaps, turns, and dance.

Swallow said she has just one more competition left this season, otherwise she'll be training four days a week to move up to Level 9 for next year, which would open the possibility of competing at the national level as Westerns are the top competition she can compete in while a Level 8 athlete.

Dynamyx boys win big

Representing Dynamyx Gymnastics Club at Westerns was Aiden Elwilly; Jay Isaac; Declan Kells; Xavier Lefebvre; and Danek Webb.

Elwilly, 16, earned himself a silver medal on rings for the P5 boys competition, and another silver medal as part of the team event. He finished 8th all around.

Also competing at the P5 level was Isaac and Kells. Isaac, 17, took home silver in the high bar event and a gold in the team competition, while finishing 4th all around.

Kells, 17, earned the bronze in vault, and was a part of the silver medal-winning team with Elwilly. He finished 11th all around.

Competing at the P4 level was Lefebvre, 15, who brought home a gold medal after a stellar performance on rings, as well as a bronze medal in the team competition. Lefebvre was 12th all around.

The youngest athlete representing Dynamyx was 12-year-old Webb, who won a bronze medal in the P3 level team competition and finished 19th all around in the individual competition.

The boys all said they were feeling sore after the competition and were excited to get some rest.

“That's good though, because you know you've worked hard to get to that point,” said Isaac. “It feels like the stress prior to that was worth it.”

Kells and Elwilly both added that they were feeling accomplished and proud after the competition.

“I was going in hoping for a medal because this is my third year and it's also my last one going to Westerns,” Kells said when the boys were asked what their goals were heading into the meet.

“It always comes as a surprise [to win] because you don't know what the other provinces bring,” Isaac added.

Asked about his gold medal on rings, Lefebvre said he just happened to do really well at Westerns as he doesn't consider rings to be his best event.

“It's not usually my best event, but it was that day,” he said.

Webb, who was the only member of the group that hadn't competed at Westerns before, said on Monday afternoon he was still excited about it after getting back home.

“It feels good,” he said, adding that he didn't really have any goals in mind heading into the competition as he was just happy to be there.

He also said that his plan for training this summer is to work on “everything,” and maybe pommel horse specifically, which the youngster said he had the least amount of confidence in.

Both Elwilly and Isaac still have another year of eligibility at the P5 level, while Kells will move up to the Open level. Lefebvre said he's hoping to move up to the P5 level next year, while Webb could move up to P4 or compete at P3 for another season.

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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