Gymnasts add skill, team strength


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa junior Rogelio Vazquez gestures after dismounting from the parallel bars during the Black and Gold intrasquad in the Field House on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. The Hawkeyes men’s gymnastics team debuted their 2018 roster during the event. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, [email protected]

Transforming weaknesses has made the Iowa men’s gymnastics team better over the course of the past year.

One big area of emphasis for the Hawkeyes is dismounting and landing cleanly. The only way to improve that part of a routine to gain more points is through repetition.

“If you see one dismount at the end of the weekend, they probably did 50 of those over the course of the week,” head coach JD Reive said. “Then you add those up over the course of the semester, and you realize how they get competent with what they’re doing.”

Compared with last season, he said, the Hawkeyes are better in their commitment, discipline, and talent.

With all the repetition that happens with practice, the commitment and discipline are important.

“I think we are more aware of what we need to do as a team to strive to get better,” senior Mark Springett said. “We are aware of where we’re weak in performance, what we need to do to fix that performance, and how to specifically tailor our routines to optimize the most number of points that we can.”

The Hawkeyes are in the middle of their season, which means each weekend has a new meet. The repetition and consistency that grows from that is important in making each athlete better in their respective events.

The skills that are improved in practice are expected to transfer each weekend into those competitions.

“It’s a matter of getting them out, and not counting falls, and being consistent in the competitions, and we’re seeing it week to week with the practices,” Reive said. “We need to get out and execute it.”

Pommel horse is a big event in which Iowa has improved over the last season; it’s also a very difficult event that brings advantages to the teams that are strong on it.

By adding Bennet Huang to the team, the pommel horse is that much stronger.

“That, in and of itself, for any team that has a strength on that event is going to place themselves ahead a lot of others,” Reive said.

The team dynamic is big in that it improves training by the way the members work together.

“I just feel like everyone’s training harder, and we’re focusing a lot more on the details, and that’s really showing in our gymnastics,” junior Rogelio Vazquez said.

Iowa has competed at big events, giving the Hawkeyes opportunities to demonstrate the team dynamic. Iowa most recently faced No. 6 Minnesota, and before that, it competed against Stanford.

The first meet of the year to set the tone for the season was the Windy City Invitational.

“Last year, we started kind of rough at Windy City, and this year, I feel like we had a positive mindset going in and stayed positive throughout the meet,” Vazquez said.

The team chemistry and dynamic are two of the biggest changes from last season.

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