Erin McCavour performs a leap on the beam during training at the Cobequid Spartans Gymnastics Club. McCavour is vying for a spot on the 2015 Nova Scotia Canada Games team.
By Erin Simpson
Two students from Truro Junior High School are getting ready to hopefully compete in one of the biggest competitions of their lives.
It's been a busy few months here at the Cobequid Spartans Gymnastics Club. We're so lucky to have two of our athletes taking part in tryouts for the gymnastics core team for the 2015 Canada Games.
Erin McCavour, 13, received the surprise of a lifetime when the Grade 8 student was invited to train with the team without even attending a tryout. Because Erin won the 2013 Nova Scotia championship, she earned a spot on the team, and ranked seventh out of 20 athletes. The top six will go to Prince George, B.C. for the competition.
Erin and our competitive coach, Kim Bernard, travelled to Halifax earlier this month for a group training session, and soon they're off to Saint John for a weekend-long training camp. At the end of the month, the team of 20 athletes will be whittled down to just 10.
The Cobequid Spartans haven't had a female Canada Games team member since 1997, so this is a huge deal for our club.
Jordyn Henderson, an 11-year-old Grade 6 student will attend her tryout later this month. She'll demonstrate her skills in front of a panel of coaches to see if she, too, can earn a spot in the top 20.
"I've been in gymnastics since I was three, so that's eight years of training," Jordyn says. "I've been working on a lot of hard skills, and I think it would be so fun to make the team."
Normally, our athletes don't train during the month of July, so they can experience vacation time, but this year Erin and Jordyn trained straight through.
Erin says she's excited about the possibility of making the final Canada Games team, and she feels honoured to have made it this far in the process. She and Jordyn train four days a week for four hours a day, which means they often have to sacrifice school sports and social commitments for gymnastics.
Some people think it's bizarre that we're already focusing so much on an event that's in 2015, but we want to get our athletes thinking about what they'll have to do when the time comes. Team Nova Scotia is getting higher and higher in the rankings each Canada Games, and it's up to us to make sure our athletes are ready and focused.
But our training facility dates back to 1981, so we, the coaches, often feel the stress of not having everything we need for our athletes.
"It's a little hard for us to keep up with the athletes in the city, because our facility is not what we need," says Bernard, who trains Erin and Jordyn. "We've had to travel to the city every week, where they have a foam pit and better equipment.
"It's always in the back of my mind that we don't really have what Erin and Jordyn need, but they're doing well with what they have. We just have to keep working hard."
Erin Simpson is head coach at the Cobequid Spartans Gymnastics Club in Bible Hill - a non-profit club committed to developing champions at every level in a safe, healthy, and rewarding environment.