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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Gators focusing on “the little things” in week off before SEC Championships

<p>Junior Rachel Slocum said she is excited for the upcoming SEC Championships. <span id="docs-internal-guid-21fb8df1-29f2-158b-ab02-16507aae82cc"><span>“I'm just trying to leave it all out on the floor,” she said. </span></span></p>

Junior Rachel Slocum said she is excited for the upcoming SEC Championships. “I'm just trying to leave it all out on the floor,” she said. 

The Gators gymnastics team is spending its week off between the regular season and SEC Championships in its usual spot — the practice gym.

“The atmosphere in here has been lit,” coach Jenny Rowland said. “They came in super energized (from) a very memorable night.”

The night Rowland is referring to is Florida’s Senior Night on March 9, where the team defeated Nebraska 197.925-196.700. The meet was dominated by senior Alex McMurtry, who posted a winning total in each of the night’s five events. The last Gator to do so was Ashanee Dickerson at LSU in 2011.

The No. 5 Gators didn’t celebrate much before heading back into the gym, working out the kinks and measures necessary to compete in the SEC Championships next week on March 24.

“This team tends to be quite perfectionists,” Rowland said. “We’re continuously working on the little things.”

The small details Rowland wants her gymnasts to pay the most attention to are the placement of their hands, feet and knees. This is important in landings, something the team as a whole critiqued itself on while watching film of past competitions during practice on Monday.

“We all noticed our landings a little bit on vault and bars,” senior Rachel Slocum said. “(Those) were the two things we’ll be focusing on the most heading into postseason.”

As the year moves into its final meets, the attention of the team has turned to the seniors.

“It's just that moment where you realize ‘wow its coming to an end,’” Rowland said. “I am a proud mom and look forward to following them along their journey once gymnastics is over.”

The seniors are not looking back with the same bittersweet sorrow. Instead, the older veterans of the team are focused on advising their younger members who have not competed in as many postseason meets.

“Obviously we’ve done this a couple of times,” Slocum said. “Just because they’re bigger meets don’t stress over it, just do normal gymnastics.”

Slocum, who is most recognizable for her signature dance moves on and off the mat, sees the dwindling down of her time with Gators gymnastics as something to look forward to. She is excited to finish out her season doing what she loves most, having fun.  

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“I'm just trying to leave it all out on the floor,” Slocum said. “My all-time favorite thing is competing in my floor routine because you can put your own spin on it.”

Follow Alana Gomez on Twitter @alanaa_gomez and contact her at agomez@alligator.org.

Junior Rachel Slocum said she is excited for the upcoming SEC Championships. “I'm just trying to leave it all out on the floor,” she said. 

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