Full Twist contributor Anna Rose Johnson recently caught up with some elite, Level 10, and NCAA gymnasts to discuss their training, future goals, and more.
Chayse Capps, Paige Casper, Bridgette Caquatto, Dymiana Cox, Youna Dufournet, Daijsa Green, Tyesha Mattis, A’Miracal Phillips, Elizabeth Price, Amy Regan, and Lieke Wevers provided us with thoughtful insights into their training.
CHAYSE CAPPS: “TO WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AGAIN”
Chayse Capps is a former Level 10 gymnast who now competes in NCAA gymnastics at the University of Oklahoma. “Training has been going well this summer and preseason!” Chayse told Full Twist. “We are so excited and pumped that everyone is back on campus and we have been bonding and working as a team day in and day out!”
Chayse, a junior, described her goals to us: “My personal goals are to win the national championship again with my team and be a contributor on the national podium. I also am striving to become an All-American again in both academics and athletics. My last goal is to compete all-around this season.”
She told us that she’s hoping to debut many new skills this season on the three events she’s competed in the past, as well as “hopefully being able to contribute to the team on bars,” she noted. “I am completely changing all of my floor passes in addition to a new floor routine; on beam I am upgrading a few different skills and also debuting new choreography, and on vault, due to the new code change, I am hoping to upgrade my yurchenko full.”
Chayse added, “We have five home meets this year and four in Texas so we would love your support and hope to see you there!”
PAIGE CASPER: “SET OBTAINABLE GOALS AND WORK HARD TO ACHIEVE THEM”
Paige Casper is a U.S. Level 10 artistic gymnast from Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center in Greenfield, Indiana, where she is coached by Jaycie Phelps and Dave Marus. At the 2015 Level 9 Regional Championships, she won vault and placed third in the all-around. “My training has been great; I’m coming out of this summer more prepared than I have ever been to start my first year as a Level 10,” Paige told Full Twist. “I have added a new skill on beam, trained my pike double back on floor and am continuing to work on my yurchenko 1 ½.”
Fourteen-year-old Paige described her goals to us: “Some short-term goals of mine are to gain a Jaeger on bars, to master my yurchenko 1 ½ and compete it this season. Some long-term goals of mine are to continue to gain new skills and consistency to become a Division I college athlete and then become a part of an NCAA team win for my college.” Her next competition season will begin in December.
Paige commented that she doesn’t believe she’ll try elite gymnastics. “I am going to focus on training and competing in J.O. and earn a Division I scholarship. I also want to focus on having strong grades throughout high school so I can pursue studies in science or medicine.”
When asked what she’d like to tell Full Twist readers, Paige replied, “All I would say is never give up on something you truly want. Also, just always believe in yourself. Set obtainable goals and work hard to achieve them.”
BRIDGETTE CAQUATTO: “LOOKING TO WIN ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR”
Bridgette Caquatto is a former elite gymnast who is gearing up for her senior year in NCAA gymnastics at the University of Florida. In this video interview, she discusses her training, the elite scene, and more.
DYMIANA COX: “DREAM IT, DO IT”
Dymiana Cox is a U.S. Level 10 artistic gymnast who also competes in elite gymnastics for Puerto Rico. She trains at Dynamic Gymnastics in New York, and she is the reigning Puerto Rican junior elite national champion. “My short-term goals in gymnastics are to compete in the 2016 Junior Pan American Games in Columbia and my long term goals are to compete in college, [in] a World Championship, and in the 2020 Olympics,” Dymiana told Full Twist. “[Currently] I’m working on upgrading some skills on floor, beam, and bars.”
Dymiana competed in her first elite competition this past August in Puerto Rico. “I have been named to the Puerto Rican Junior National Team, [and] I also plan to do elite qualifiers in the U.S. this upcoming season.” Her next competition will be in January at the Brestyan’s Invitational.
Her advice for Full Twist readers is: “Dream it, do it.”
YOUNA DUFOURNET: “QUALIFY MYSELF AND MY TEAM FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES”
Youna Dufournet is a true veteran in the sport of gymnastics. She won the vault bronze at the 2009 World Championships, competed at the 2011 and 2014 Worlds, and competed in the 2012 Olympic Games. “[Training has been] hard but really good,” Youna told Full Twist. “My coach and my physical [therapist] support me so much; it’s easier to move forward. Every morning I run, I swim, and I see my physiotherapist, I take time [so] that my shoulder [will] get better!”
The 22-year-old French gymnast described her goals to us. “At short-term, I would like [to] qualify myself and my team for [the] Olympic Games and win [a] medal!” She added that her long-term plans are not yet definite; she will continue competing after 2016 in order to participate in World Cups but she’s not certain how long she will be competing.
Youna is working on some new skills for the remainder of the season. She says she is working new elements “principally on bars, new skills, new combinations…and just one on beam.” Currently, she doesn’t know when her next competition will be. “I [will] see when my shoulders are okay, and my body is good to compete!” she told us.
When asked what she’d like to tell the Full Twist readers, Youna replied, “Love gymnastics!Support Team France for World Championships! ‘Venez Nombreux les encourager!’ Thanks so much for your support! I will be my best to win [a] medal just for YOU!”
DAIJSA GREEN: “I THINK IT WOULD BE GREAT TO DO HIGHER-LEVEL GYMNASTICS”
Daijsa Green is a U.S. Level 9 artistic gymnast from Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics in Bradenton, Florida. She competed on the Florida State team at the 2015 Level 8 Regionals, placing tenth in the all-around and fourth on vault. “My training has been going great,” Daijsa told Full Twist. “I’m training to become a Level 9 gymnast. My favorite skill to do is a double back. I have a really good double both on bars and floor. I’ve had a knee injury and it was jumper’s knee but I am working through it. I think that I’m working hard and that training is going very well.”
Daijsa is a 5th-grade honor roll student at Seven Oaks Elementary School and Pasco Eschool. “I am a blended student; that means I go to school half a day so I can train for gymnastics in the morning,” she elaborated. “I go to school in the afternoon so I can take 6th grade math. [Also,] I won the all-around at States for the last 3 years. Last year I won with a 38.550 and I was 2nd highest scorer in the entire state of Florida. I was also able to represent the state of Florida on the Regional Team.”
The 10-year-old explained her short-term and long-term gymnastics goals. “My short-term goals are to stay calm during each competition and just do my best, stay focused and hit all of my new routines,” she remarked. “My long-term goals are to be elite and get a full-gymnastics scholarship to a Division I school.”
Daijsa told us that she would like to go the elite route because “I think elite is just great to be in. I admire all the current elite gymnasts for their focus and dedication, and I think it would be great to do higher-level gymnastics because it challenges you and pushes for more and more difficult gymnastics,” she said. “I think I have great coaches and they could really get me far.”
Her next competition will be in January 2015 in Cancun, Mexico. “I am very excited because it will be my first competition of the season and I’ve never been to Cancun,” said Daijsa. “Well I have been on a cruise to Cancun but never on a trip there. Plus I like traveling with my team.” Daijsa’s website can be viewed here.
TYESHA MATTIS: “TO MAKE THE RIO TEAM”
Tyesha Mattis is a senior elite artistic gymnast from Great Britain who trains at East London Gymnastics Club. We previously caught up with her in November 2014. “[My] rehab [is] coming along nicely, training going well,” Tyesha told Full Twist.
She mentioned her gymnastics goals: “Short-term, to get fully fit from my operation, and long-term to make the Rio team.”
Tyesha told us that she is working on a new skill, a shap clear Tkatchev, and that she is hoping to compete on the uneven bars and balance beam at the upcoming Grand Prix competitions.
When asked what she’d like to tell readers, Tyesha said, “Never let injuries hold you back and please keep rooting for me.”
A’MIRACAL PHILLIPS: “JUST STAY CALM AND HAVE FUN”
A’Miracal Phillips is a freshman at Auburn University, and she is readying to compete in her first season of NCAA gymnastics. “My training so far has been going great,” A’Miracal told Full Twist. “I have great coaches, teammates, and an awesome facility to help me reach my fullest potential for the years to come.”
She told us that her goals for the upcoming season “are to be able to contribute to the records for Auburn gymnastics and just stay calm and have fun while doing it.”
A’Miracal remarked, “I am definitely looking forward to debuting a new skill on vault that I have been working on since my arrival at Auburn, which is a yurchenko 1 ½ twist!”
ELIZABETH PRICE: “LOOKING FORWARD TO MY NEXT THREE YEARS OF COLLEGE”
Elizabeth Price is a former elite gymnast who is now entering her sophomore year at Stanford University, where she now competes in NCAA gymnastics. We previously caught up with her in September 2014. “My training has been going pretty well,” Elizabeth told Full Twist. “I’ve been focusing on conditioning more than my skills so that I don’t overdo the pounding before season gets here.”
Elizabeth mentioned that she hasn’t yet decided on any new skills she’ll be competing this year. “But I know with the new change in the rules I’ll definitely be giving it some consideration,” she added.
The 2012 Olympic alternate told us, “As of now, I don’t plan on returning to elite gymnastics. I’m really looking forward to my next three years of college gymnastics and then whatever my life has in store for after graduation.”
AMY REGAN: “HOPEFULLY AIMING TOWARD 2018”
Amy Regan is a senior elite artistic gymnast from Scotland. She is the reigning Scottish all-around champion and trains at Largs Gymnastics Club. “I’ve currently been out the gym for a wee bit, I was out at the Special Olympics supporting my brother,” Amy told Full Twist. “I’ve been keeping up my fitness and flexibility in the fitness gym and will be back in the gym soon. I was working on DTY on vault and some new tumbles on floor before I took my break.”
Amy described her gymnastics goals: “My short-term goals right now are more focussed on my fitness as I’ve taken some time out. I’ll be working on getting everything back and new skills. Long-term goals would hopefully be aiming toward 2018 for my third Commonwealth Games for Scotland.”
The 21-year-old commented, “As well as gymnastics I’m studying primary teaching at university. I love to bake and shop.”
She told us that she is not certain when her next competition will be, “but hopefully I’ll be back on the floor very soon.”
LIEKE WEVERS: “WORKING HARD TO QUALIFY AS A TEAM”
Lieke Wevers is a senior elite artistic gymnast from the Netherlands. At the 2015 European Games, she won the balance beam gold and three bronze medals (team, all-around, and floor exercise). “Training is going well,” Lieke told Full Twist. “After the European Games in Baku, I took a short break, for a holiday. And after that I returned to the gym to start a new journey: Worlds in Glasgow 2015. I’m working hard every day; in the beginning I did a lot of conditioning and strength, so I keep improving my fitness level. Now I’m focusing on my routines to get all things solid. Also here and there some small upgrades which I work on for long-term.”
Lieke recently won the all-around title at the first Dutch World Trials. “There will be two more [trial competitions] to select the Dutch team in the beginning of October,” she explained. “I hope to perform well again, so that I make the team for Worlds in Glasgow 2015. I’m really looking forward to this amazing last World Championships before the Olympics. My long-term [goal] (one year left is not a long time anymore) is to make it to the Olympics. The Dutch team is very strong, and we are really working hard to qualify as a team for Rio 2016. This is our biggest goal, which Sanne [Wevers] and I dreamed of our whole life.”
Sanne Wevers is Lieke’s twin sister, and she is also an elite gymnast. Lieke told us that training alongside Sanne is “the best. When we were younger, each of us had a different gym mate, and we didn’t do a lot together. But in the last few years we grew very close, and felt that we could help each other out a lot. As twins we know each other more than any other ever could, so we know our needs, our weaknesses and our thoughts. We make each other better every day, by working hard together, helping and caring for each other, and each [being] the most supportive sister.”
Lieke says that she is working on some small upgrades. “But mostly I focus on my current routines to get them very stable and perfect,” she noted. “On bars I’m training my toe-on Tkatchev in a piked position, instead of the straddle. And on beam I’m training my dismount with a full turn.”
The 24-year-old added, “If you want to know and see more of Sanne and me, then take a look at our website. You can find a lot of training videos and photos!”
Many thanks to all of the gymnasts for taking the time to answer our questions. Stay tuned for Part 24, which will include Diana Bulimar and Rose-Kaying Woo!