Friday, 23 December 2016 10:01
2016 Team of the Year
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Nadia Comenici, Mary Lou Retton, Aly Raisman and Simone Biles are all Olympic gold medalists who have performed on the biggest and brightest stage in front of the world. However, before those amazing gymnasts became Olympic champions, they put in hours and hours of hard work, far away from the bright lights. During the early years, those Olympic athletes were once much like our very own Saratoga Springettes. The Saratoga Regional YMCA Springettes Gymnastics team, coached by Kim Hewitt and Vicky Plitt, is currently made up of 59 athletes who train year round in their sport. The athletes are currently levels 2-9 and are between the ages of 8 and 18. This impressive group follows the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic program, competing against mostly YMCA gymnastics teams. Fourteen athletes from the Saratoga Regional YMCA Springettes Gymnastics team traveled with their families to Long Beach, California for the YMCA Gymnastics 2016 National Championships. The Springettes routinely put in 2-3 hours of practice a day, up to four times a week. “We are blessed with a group of very dedicated, very disciplined girls, who work very hard at what they do.” says Coach Kim Hewitt. “They strength train and work on flexibility at every practice, and sometimes even at home. They spend hours in the gym practicing skills over and over, to make sure they can do them perfectly for competition.” These gifted athletes push through fears to try to be the best they can be on each event. They do routines over and over to make sure they are flawless, graceful and powerful. The tremendous opportunity for these local athletes would not be possible without the support of the YMCA. Coach Kim Hewitt explains “The four core values of the YMCA are caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Those play a major part in how we run our team, and how we develop our team culture. The coaches are here because they have a passion for gymnastics, and want to share that passion with others. “ It is crystal clear after attending just one of the Springettes practices how much time and dedication is involved to become such an elite sports team. The program succeeds not only at the local level but the national level as well. Perhaps one day we will watch the Olympics, cheering on one of our very own Saratoga Springettes , on the world’s biggest stage.