Doing the Impossible Keeps Gymnast Flipping Out

PAXTON, IL (June 15, 2010) – “I love being in the air,” says 14-year-old Garret Waterstradt. “It’s fun to do all the crazy stuff people think is impossible.”

Waterstradt will be doing a lot of crazy stuff this week during the United States Trampoline and Tumbling Association national championships in Springfield, Illinois. The competition runs today (Tuesday) through Saturday.

Waterstradt, whose family attends Paxton Covenant Church, already has been to several national championships. In March, he earned a spot on the USTA national team, which will train in New York in the fall.

Waterstradt has been involved in some sort of gymnastic activity since he was two years old and always has been coached by Dan Irish, owner of Irish’s Gym in Rantoul, Illinois. He has been working on the trampoline for at least seven years. The accompanying photo shows Waterstradt with his coach.

“I was a quick learner,” says Waterstradt, who also is an honor-roll student. He spends an hour and a half each day, five days a week at the gym.

Waterstradt says his best move is a double flip with a twist, but he has been practicing a triple. His favorite move is one in which he does a double back flip while “straight like a pencil.”

Waterstradt doesn’t worry about getting hurt. “I used to be really scared, but now I’ve fallen so many times, I’ve developed a sixth sense of how to get out of it,” he explains.

He’s never suffered serious injuries. “Only suffered bumps and bruises.”

Waterstradt also has learned to maintain his poise through the rigor of competition. “It can be nerve-wracking at times, but my coach helps settle me down,” he says.

Throughout the championships, Waterstradt will do passes (routines) on a standard trampoline as well as double-mini trampolines.

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