Erin Russell is provincial novice champion
Clarenville athlete making her mark on competitive circuit
Erin Russell’s gymnastics journey began by doing flips and tumbles with her friends just for fun.
Then someone else noticed her potential and the 13-yearold began to progress as a serious athlete.
That someone was Leanna Seguin, who had coached gymnasts in the past. She first saw Erin and her friends doing those rolls and tumbles at Velocity’s Friday night dropin program, the inner coach stepped in to help out.
“They had all taught themselves. And being a coach, I said, ‘Oh, here, let me help you, let’s just fix some things,’” Seguin told The Packet.
Seguin, who taught gymnastics in Ontario, says that she had no intention of becoming a gymnastics teacher when she was first hired at Velocity three years ago.
She was hired on as an afterschool program coordinator, not as a coach.
But soon the small group was finding they never had quite enough time on Friday nights to spend learning routines and techniques, so Seguin began a four-week session.
“At the end of the four weeks we could see there was a need for a full gymnastics program,” said Seguin, and in January, 2016, the full-time gymnastics program began, offering different classes for different ages and skills.
It was great news for Erin. She says she had been dreaming about joining a gymnastics program.
“When it finally came I was, like, the first person in,” Erin told The Packet.
Erin has since placed in several competitions, and recently earned the title of Novice provincial champion.
“She is so dedicated, whenever there is extra time, she’s in the gym,” said Seguin. “This is where she wants to be. She works so hard, and is so attentive to anything I ask of her.
“She came in . . . with some really nice skills on floor, and then having all the other equipment she’s caught up on everything so quickly.”
Erin has even taken on the role as a coach-in-training, and has been helping coach some of the younger students.
“She inspires the other kids. She inspires them to work harder. For the little ones, I have her do demonstrations, and they’re all like, ‘Oh, that’s awesome!’. They want to be like Erin,” said Seguin.
“The kids love being around her and they love when she comes into the gym to coach them.”
Erin says that she has the support of a great team.
And a great coach.
“She [Leanne] is just so supportive and helpful in the gym; she knows me and all my teammates so well and she knows how hard we need to be pushed.
“She’s such a great, great coach and such a great person.”
Gymanstics program growing
From its almost accidental beginnings in 2015, they Velocity gymnastics program has continued to grow.
In the summer of 2017, the