© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
Ariel Crawford, right, keeps a watchful eye on competitive women's artistic gymnasts Kelsey Hurl, left, and Serra Gillis during a recent Prince Albert Aerials Gymnastics Club workout at the High Noon Optimist Centre. Crawford has joined the coaching staff for the competitive gymnastics club and is excited to try and help get Prince Albert's elite gymnasts to the next level.
The name certainly fits.
Ariel Crawford is the newest coach for the Prince Albert Aerials Gymnastics Club and the former elite athlete is hoping her experience and coaching techniques can help local gymnasts get to a higher level.
“A couple of years ago I doubt that I would have considered it (coming to Prince Albert), but Mike (Amouri) has built the club up and it is really exciting,” said Crawford during a recent workout with her group of women’s competitive artistic gymnasts at the High Noon Optimist Centre. “I’ve worked with Mike at Team Sask. events and I know we work great together.”
“Some of these girls are quite talented,” added Crawford. “I will be able to show them the higher-level stuff.”
Crawford was a competitive gymnast for 18 years with the Marion Gymnastics Club in Saskatoon and in that time attended 10 national championships. For the last four years she has been a coach with Marion where she has attained a full Level II certification and is in the process of getting her Level III.
“I think I just needed a change,” said Crawford of her move to Prince Albert. “They (Aerials) were looking for a coach and it sounded like a good option.”
The competitive gymnasts aren’t the only ones to benefit from Crawford’s presence as Amouri, the program director for the Aerials, says having her around will help him too.
“I think we complement each other very well,” says Amouri. “We’ve worked pretty closely for a couple of years. We’ve had girls go to provincials and westerns and now we want to get them to the national level.”
Crawford will work with all provincial and developmental-level gymnasts with those groups having several months to prepare for the competitive schedule that starts at the end of the year. An uneven-bars specialist, Crawford will help the athletes with all of the disciplines which also include floor exercises, vault and balance beam.
The Aerials have grown to become one of the premiere gymnastics clubs in the province and have also gained recognition at a national level as well. The club continues to swell in numbers and Amouri says that the male contingent is also starting to take off.
Recreational programs get underway on Sept. 7 with the competitive gymnasts continuing their vigorous training programs in preparation for the upcoming season.
It is an exciting time for the Aerials and having Crawford on board makes the future that much brighter and even more exciting.