Although it was only her second time participating in a competitive gymnastics provincial’s event, the Bentley gymnast snagged first place against 13 other competitors.
Rachel Hyink, 15, was the first place all around for the Provincial Level 4 open category at the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Provincials 2014, in Lethbridge.
During the one-day event, April 12, Hyink competed in the vault, uneven bars, beam and floor events for a total score of 48.450; one compete point above the second place finalist.
“I’d say my favorite event is bars. It’s really different than the rest. It’s mostly using your arms instead of your legs,” said Hyink.
Hyink has been training in gymnastics for the past nine years but it was only two years ago she moved up to a higher competition level with Exelta Gymnastics Club in Red Deer.
Before choosing a highly competitive route Hyink had only attended “fun meets” where every gymnast wins a prize and there are no distinct first, second and third places. “It’s a lot different when you train at a higher level.”
During her first time at provincials, one year ago, Hyink didn’t place as well and her win this year came as a shock to herself, said the humble gymnast. “Usually I get really anxious, nervous, and I don’t do as well.”
“This time, I felt really confident going in. It was a good competition,” she added.
Despite looking only to do her personal best Hyink says she felt the demand to catch up with the other gymnasts, who’d been training at the higher level for longer. “I felt a lot of pressure to get better and I think that helped me improve a lot.”
For Hyink the draw to the sport has always been in the isolated aspect where, she has only herself to rely on for a good finish. “I like that it’s not a team sport.”