Oct. 18, 2012
Welcome to the Weekly Warmup! Each Thursday during the preseason, MGoBlue.com's Brad Rudner will sit down with each member of the University of Michigan women's gymnastics team to talk about the preseason training, last season's experience, and what lies ahead for the 2013 season.
This week's edition of the Weekly Warmup features senior Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa.).
Brad: How difficult was it for you to see your teammates go through the struggles of last season knowing that you couldn't help them due to your injury?
Natalie: It was probably one of the most difficult things I've ever been through in my gymnastics career. I've never had a major injury, so being out for the whole year was definitely hard and it was hard to see the team struggle a little bit. We really pulled it together at the end and had one of our best meets at Regionals. It was exciting to see us compete like that despite the adversity and really show everyone what we could do.
Brad: Looking back at really the last 8-10 months, what has been the more difficult phase of your rehab -- the physical aspect or the mental?
Natalie: I would say it's been both. Physically, it's hard to stay in shape when you're not doing gymnastics and are not fully out there. Mentally, there were times when I thought, 'What if I go out there and hurt myself again?' or something like that. These past few months, I told myself that those things weren't going to happen, that it was a fluke accident. The team retreat really helped me in that sense. That was something I threw away into the fire and something I've been working on.
Brad: Well, you are back now and you're doing some things. Where are you at in terms of your recovery and how do you feel?
Natalie: I feel great at this point. I'm 100 percent and fully healed. I have my ups and downs, of course, but it just sort of depends on what I do in the gym that day. If we do a lot of hard tumbling or vaulting I'll be sore, so I'll maybe take it a little easier the next day. I've been learning some new things on floor, some new tumbling passes. I'll keep the same routine, which is exciting. I really like that routine and was only able to do it once last year. As for bars and beam, I've actually been working on a new series. On vault, I'll be going back to doing a one-and-a-half. Maybe not at every meet, but it'll be back. I'm looking to do bigger and better gymnastics.
Brad: The people I've talked to so far have all said that team chemistry has been very good. A big part of that is integrating the freshmen into college life and making sure they fit in to their new team. Have you taken more of a mentoring role this preseason?
Natalie: Absolutely. This year is different than anything I've experienced the past three years. We have all four classes and the freshmen have been great. I've been hanging out a lot with Austin Sheppard. I guess you could call her my "right-hand" woman. It seems like we're always together. And it's not just her, it's everyone. We're all really close. Having four years of classes has definitely helped our friendships grow. We've really progressed as a team and I think you'll see that this year out on the floor.
Brad: This is your last season. How do you envision it going?
Natalie: I envision it going pretty well. The team is ready to go this year. Last year was a struggle and we all know that -- but it taught us that even if we have struggles, we're going to come out of it just fine. Personally, my individual goals aren't set in stone yet, but I want to stay healthy and be ready to help the team out whenever they need me. We're really excited to get back out there. I think people will be shocked to see how we are this year. We're going to come out of the gates strong.