With the biggest entry at the Regional Preliminary Competition for some years many young Gymnasts from Southampton Gymnastics Club lined up behind the banner of the club and marched out with excitement and anticipation.
Southampton Gymnastics entered numerous partnerships which were at the youngest age possible to enter the competition. A number would not be age eligible for the British Championships but we wanted to see how they fared for next year – they didn’t disappoint.
First to the floor, and first of the whole day were the young trio of Grace Aslinn, Grace Hales and Amy Rhymes – holding the attention of the audience spellbound to their emotive and entrancing music they performed their Grade 2 Women’s Group routine with style – scoring 27.90 and achieving both gold medals and a place in the National Inter-Regional Competition in April. Our first partnership that won and would have gone through to British Finals if they were old enough.
Following soon after the two Grade Men’s pairs from Southampton Club Group, took to the floor and performed their exciting routine to the appreciative audience. Kian Andrews and Tom Kelly scoring 27.65 inched out the partnership of Bradley Whitcombe and Tyler Brewer scoring 26.67 to take the gold medal. However, as the younger boys do not fulfil the age band ruling for the British Championships they instead qualify for the National Inter-Regional event and Bradley and Tom go on to represent the South Region in the British National Finals.
At the end of the morning the Out of Age mixed pair of Craig Carter and Bethanie Goodwin, performed their stunning balance routine, and to enthusiastic applause began their own campaign for qualification with a score of 26.40, but for a missed element, we could safely say this score would be lifted close to the 28’s. Their dynamic routine was to be performed later in the day.
The afternoon competition began with two partnerships from Southampton Gymnastics satellite clubs – Zita Gonda and Maddie Annells from our Test Valley Centre performed beautifully, for such a young partnership and took gold in the Grade 1 Pairs and a score of 27.20 takes them through to the British NDP Finals. Kirsty Robertson and Emily Green from our City Acro Centre followed soon after to take silver in the Grade 3 (Tier 2) competition with a well-choreographed routine with a score of 25.70.
The section for the Grade 3 Trios was the most tightly fought contest of the day. With three partnerships involved from Southampton, hopes were high! The club group trio of Indie Nash, Bethany Mutschin and Jessica Finney performed with steady nerves and energetic dancing to achieve an excellent score of 27.18, this was good enough for a very commendable 5th place. Hannah Winter, Chantelle Estalles and Elektra Langer took the floor by storm with their fabulously energetic, cheerful and positive routine – full of smiles and bouncy steps together with their accuracy and consistency to which we have become accustomed, received an excellent score of 27.74 gaining them the silver medal and a place in the National Inter-Regional Final. The winning routine with a score of 27.94 came from Jessica Barry, Shami Bright and Abigail May who, two routines previously had presented a stunning display of technique and artistry with their elegant and mature routine, showing a presence well above their years and earning a gold and British national finals place. The judges made special mention of the Grade 3 trio section, as being full of excellent quality and showing strength in depth in this category for the region.
Rarely in this region do we see the development of Men’s Fours. Men’s Fours is one of the hardest acrobatic disciplines to both coach and perform. However many coaches from other clubs and the audience were excited to see the Men’s Four step onto the floor. They really lifted the spirits of the audience and other gymnasts alike with a catchy, fun and joyful routine, giving them a score of 27.18. Again another partnership that if they were in age would be going to British national finals but we will see them again in the national inter regional Competition.
Following soon after the success of the Grade 3 trios and the Men’s Four, was the young partnership of Ellie Smith and Emma Ford-Bailey. They showed superb precision in their partner skills and individual elements and danced their way imaginatively to the highest score of the day – 28.42 which included technical scores of 9.30 from the whole judging panel!! Ellie and Emma qualify for the Inter-Regional championships as Emma is still too young for the National Finals.
Craig and Bethanie returned to the floor with their exciting smoke and fire leotards and performed their Dynamic routine with superb skill level and great artistic content. All went very well and the flight and catches were crisp and clean, a minor mishap on their final move caused the score to be lower than they would have wanted at 26.00, although again without the mistake would be close to the 28’s but with two challenging routines the OOA partnership qualified for the same category at the British NDP championships in May.
Wow! What a day! Medals Galore and qualifications for both National Finals and Inter-Regional Championships. And all those results with an unbelievably young group of promising gymnasts.
Thanks must go to the whole team of coaches involved and the imaginative routines put together by the choreographers, a whole rank of supportive parents and the amazing team of young gymnasts.