For most student-athletes, spring break is not a time to plan vacations and short getaways. Neither senior Tiffani Lewis nor sophomore MyKayla Skinner can recall ever actually going on a spring break trip. From the time they were little, spring break was spent in the gym. The future Red Rocks were training for an upcoming gymnastics meet or even competing while their friends travel to fun places.
This year won’t be any different for the University of Utah gymnastics team as spring break will be book-ended by a pair of intense meets. The Red Rocks will kick off their spring break with their final home meet of the season against Georgia on Friday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. A week later, the Red Rocks will compete in Tucson, Arizona, as they defend their conference title at the Pac-12 Championship on Saturday, March 24.
“Our hours stay very consistent throughout that time,” Lewis said. “We still train our normal hours, we travel and go compete, so it’ll be nice [that] we can go to Arizona where it’ll be warmer. Hopefully [we’ll] get in a little early the day before so we could go lay by the pool a little bit, but it’s extremely different because we can’t go travel. We can’t go visit friends and spend a lot of time doing that extra stuff. It’s still fun being with the team, and obviously Pac-12’s is a lot of fun.”
The Red Rocks, who won the Pac-12 title last season, were beat out by UCLA as the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 title this year. The showdown between the two teams should be one for the history books, as each team has a victory over the other this season.
Skinner always works toward her next goal during spring break, even if it means spending hours in the gym while her friends are away. After training seven hours a day in elite gymnastics prior to coming to the U, Skinner is looking forward to what little time she will have off.
“It’ll be a good break still, just a way to relax our minds from school work and different things like that,” Skinner said. “It’ll be good that we have Pac-12’s that week.”
As someone who was always busy with their sport during spring break, Skinner has wondered what it would be like to have a spring break vacation like most other college students. That being said, she’d rather put in the extra hours to help the Red Rocks accomplish some of their long-term goals, because dedicating that extra time has paid off for her in the past.
“It was hard, I struggled a little bit,” Skinner said. “I was like, ‘Man, they’re all at the beach and I’m sitting here at the gym by myself.’ It was really hard, but it was definitely worth that goal that I wanted in the end. I think that’s how it will be for us if we really want this — we’ll push through it even though everyone is still on vacation. We’ll come into the gym and get the job done.”