CORNER BROOK Aaron Andrews will make his debut on the Eastern Canadian gymnastics scene in Quebec City and his coach Brandon Kean believes he has the potential to make a name for himself.
“If he keeps focused on it and he keeps trying I think he can do very well in the sport,” said Kean, who is a paid coach with Saltos Gymnastics in charge of the men’s program for the past year.
Kean has been guiding Andrews along in his development for only one year, but he was coaching the female program at Saltos last year so he got a chance to see Andrews competing on the provincial scene and working hard in the gym on an average of 15 hours per week honing his skills.
Kean has worked with the 13-year-old gymnast who claimed second place overall in the Level 3 13+ division at the Atlantic Gymnastics Championships for a year.
He said Andrews, who is a 13-year-old Grade 8 student at G. C. Rowe Junior High in Corner Brook, is a well-rounded gymnast and a pleasure to coach.
While recognizing Andrews will be in tough at this level with gymnasts from Ontario and Quebec thrown in the mix, Kean has some sound advice for the athlete heading into the competition.
“The best thing for him to do would just be to have fun, try his best and make sure he squeezes really tight on his routines and works his butt at it,” Kean said.
Andrews, who finished second overall in his division at the Atlantic championships, will be competing in six apparatus in Quebec City and hopes to have a top-six finish in at least one of his events.
He believes his best bet for a strong showing is in rings because he was first overall in the apparatus at the Atlantic event.
He had a quick response when asked what he has to focus his energy on now that he’s entering unchartered waters.
“To keep my legs straight and toes pointed,” he said.
The soft-spoken teenager with a lean frame, who is the son of Corner Brook’s John Andrews and Jene Lee, is honoured that Gymnastics Newfoundland and Labrador asked him to be a part of the provincial team, especially since he wasn’t on the radar of the provincial coaching staff one year ago.
He takes pride in knowing it was only a couple of years ago that he was competing in Level 1 and now he’s advanced to Level 3 and being exposed to some of the top gymnasts this side of Quebec. He is a dedicated athlete who is no stranger to the Saltos training facility. He has a passion for the sport for a number of reasons and plans on seeing how far he can develop as a competitive gymnast.
“It keeps me fit and plus I find it fun doing the flips and keeping my cardio up,” he said. “Doing all these cool skills that most people can’t do.”