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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Florida gymnastics lives up to lofty expectations in front of record crowds

Rowland, Gators gymnasts credit win streak to team atmosphere

Florida gymnast Trinity Thomas celebrates after a perfect landing from her vault routine against the Georgia Bulldogs Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.
Florida gymnast Trinity Thomas celebrates after a perfect landing from her vault routine against the Georgia Bulldogs Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.

Graduate student Trinity Thomas made history against the No. 17 Georgia Bulldogs. Thomas is the only gymnast in National Collegiate Athletic Association history to get four gym slams. 

Thomas was shocked when she heard about her record, she said. She currently has 23 perfect 10s — five short of the all-time record of 28 in a college career. Thomas is confident she will eventually be able to obtain the record.

“[I can definitely get better], no question about it,” Thomas said.

The No. 2 Florida Gators (6-0, 3-0 SEC) have secured five out of their six wins at home in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, including their victory over the Bulldogs Jan. 27. Florida has achieved three sold-out crowds in their five home meets this season; Florida’s meet against the Missouri Tigers Feb. 10 is also sold out. 

The Gators now lead the Southeastern Conference with a 25-game regular-season undefeated  streak. Florida head coach Jenny Rowland beamed with pride when she was informed of the news.

Thomas became the only gymnast in NCAA history to get four gym slams — when a gymnast scores a perfect 10 on every event — against the Bulldogs. 

They’ve beaten two top teams at home this season — Georgia and the No. 5 Auburn Tigers — and earned their highest scores in those meets. 

The Gators will run into two top-10 teams in the next few weeks. The No. 8 Louisiana State Tigers and No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners will host Florida.

During the stretch of home games, Gators gymnasts and coaches all said they appreciate the O’Connell Center’s environment. 

“When you are in the O’Dome, it feels like family,” junior Victoria Nguyen said.

Graduate student Savannah Schoenherr is currently out with a foot injury. Whether watching in person or on television, Schoenherr stands out as she cheers and encourages teammates before and during their event.

Thomas mentioned her teammates and coaches continuously help make her a better gymnast. 

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“There’s not a single day that people don’t come in and work hard,” Thomas said. “It’s so cool to be around 16 other girls that are passionate about working towards the same goal.”

Thomas accounts for three of the Gators’ five 10s this season. Florida is still undefeated four meets into the season.

Sophomore Leanne Wong accounted for the other two 10s. Her perfect scores came on balance beam and uneven bars against Auburn Jan. 13. Wong criticized her own performance after the win, but Thomas said she does everything amazingly.

Rowland is proud of the team environment as Florida carries on throughout the season. 

“They take ownership of this amazing team … but we’re super grateful to be along for the ride,” Rowland said.

Florida’s next meet comes against the Arkansas Razorbacks at 7:45 p.m. Feb. 3 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Contact Jori Rzepecki at Follow her on Twitter @jorirzepecki.

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Jori Rzepecki

Jori Rzepecki is a first-year journalism major and the Gymnastics reporter for The Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys binge-watching television shows and reading books.

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