2012 Olympic vault finalist Brittany Rogers of Canada told IG that her busy competitive season for the University of Georgia is readying her for a shot at this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Rogers at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow
"I'm super happy that this is a base set for me," said Rogers following Sunday's tri-meet in Los Angeles among Georgia, Stanford University and UCLA. "We worked really hard to make sure I'm able to maintain my Elite routines, but still stay healthy and able to compete weekend after weekend."
Rogers' collegiate routines continue to earn strong scores under NCAA rules, but she plans to fortify them for maximum value at the international level as the Rio Games approach.
"On bars I have to add two requirements – a full turn and a front element – so I'm going to be adding another turning element and another release move," said Rogers, who at last fall's World Championships in Glasgow helped the Canadian women place sixth and thereby earn a team berth to Rio. "That's going to be at the front of my routine, but the rest of my routine will be the same, at least for Canadian nationals. And then hopefully I'll upgrade from there."
Rogers also wants to increase her difficulty level on balance beam and floor exercise.
"On beam I'll have to do a bigger dismount, obviously (from her current 1-1/2 twist), and my leap series will be a bit different," said Rogers, a senior majoring in consumer journalism. Her collegiate floor routine includes an Arabian double front as a first pass, and a double pike as a final pass. "I will be upgrading my middle pass (currently a 1-1/2 twist to punch layout front) and upgrading my leaps," she said.
Rogers, who placed seventh on vault at the 2012 Olympics and was second reserve for the vault final at the 2015 Worlds, scored 10.0 for her 1-1/2 twisting Yurchenko (worth 10.0 in NCAA scoring) on Sunday. She competed a double-twisting Yurchenko in Glasgow and earlier in this NCAA season, and plans to restore it to her program.
Although Rogers has been competing all-around during the collegiate season, she skipped floor exercise on Sunday to conserve energy for meets later in the month.
"We competed Friday at home, so it was smart for me to rest and prepare for the meet against Utah next weekend," Rogers said. "Then we have SECs (Southeast Conference Championships, March 19). The season picks up from here, so we thought it was the best idea to rest me. We're trying to taper down a little bit, to save my body for post-season and obviously this summer."
Rogers will have little rest between the end of her academic year and her return to Canada for pre-Games training under coach David Kenwright at Calgary Gymnastics Centre.
Following the NCAA Championships in mid-April, she looks forward to preparing for the Canadian Championships, May 31-June 5 in Edmonton.
"I'll be done with finals (exams) the first week of May and then go right to Calgary," she said. "The Canadian Championships are about two hours from where I train, so it will be nice to be kind of local."
With several competitive targets in succession, Rogers is pacing herself for the string of important competitions that she hopes lead her to Rio.
"I actually went to (Georgia head coach) Danna (Durant) and said, 'I need help focusing on today's (Sunday's) meet, and not getting ahead of myself and thinking about the future, because I can't control that,'" Rogers told IG. "And that's exactly what Danna said. She said, 'You can control what you're doing now. And not only is competing week after week helping your routines, and helping you be able to compete, but it's helping you be a team leader.' That's what I hope to bring to Gymnastics Canada - my team awareness and how to be a team player. I'm looking forward to bringing all of that, the whole package, to Gymnastics Canada."