Swinging back and forth on the bar at the Victoria Gymnastics Centre, Anna Wavryk feels like she’s one of the most powerful girls in the world.
It’s a skill that has become natural for the 14-year-old Esquimalt High student after nearly nine years of practicing several times a week, trying to master the bar — one of three gymnastics events she competes in.
“It comes naturally to me, all the spinning on the bars, it feels really cool,” said Wavryk. “It makes me feel really powerful and strong knowing that I can do all the skills.”
Wavryk is one of seven high school gymnasts who recently competed in provincials in Prince George. Wavryk, who competed in level four (there are five levels of competitive high school gymnastics), placed seventh on bars, ninth on vault and floor, and finished 14th overall against dozens of other gymnasts.
While this was Wavryk’s first appearance at provincials, she felt ready for the challenge and was happy with her performance.
“I was a little bit nervous, but my training made me ready for that competition,” she said. “It was just good to show off my skills in that one chance. I felt accomplished.”
Head coach Mia Angus was proud of how the team did, noting Wavryk’s routine on bars was the highlight of the young gymnast’s performance.
“For Anna, her strength was bars because we added in quite a few new skills. Her bars was the highlight because she was able to pull off and stick her routine very well,” Angus said.
It’s a love for gymnastics that started several years ago, when Wavryk was competing in a different sport. Wavryk spent a few years in figure skating before realizing she liked the artistic side of the sport, but didn’t like the skating itself. That’s when her father enroled her in the Victoria Gymnastics Centre, where she competes in vault, bars, and beam.
But it hasn’t always been easy. The first few times Wavryk tried the bar and beam she admits it was more of a mental than a physical challenge.
“It’s very mentally hard on yourself just because of the mental blocks you get from the fear of doing stuff on a four-inch beam and flipping in the air,” Wavryk said, adding she started thinking about it less and instead learned to jump into action.
“It was a challenge for me at first, but I taught myself that it was okay to do it.”
Since then, she has learned to do a number of things on the bar including giants, in which the gymnast swings around the bar in a straight body position — something she first achieved in December.
Now, with her first competitive season in the books, Wavryk hopes to become a level five high school gymnast next year.
Ecole Victor-Brodeur student Emilie Gosselin also competed in provincials in level three, placing third on bars, fourth on vault, sixth on floor, and finishing fourth overall against 53 gymnasts from around the province.