Local Face: Caitlin Garbutt
Gymnastics is an exacting discipline, and at higher levels, involves the whole family.
Most gymnasts begin their training with four piece – beam, bars, floor & vault – at a young age, and Caitlin Garbutt is no different.
“From the ages of 4 to 9 I did four piece but now I do tumbling and team gym. I have become very successful in tumbling because of my gym.”
Caitlin began her gymnastics career at Lynx Gym in Aylesbury, but after a long recovery following a fall that broke her wrist, she moved to Harlequin Gymnastics in Leighton Buzzard at the end of August 2015. It was there that she added tumbling to four piece.
In November 2015, Caitlin had her first county tumbling competition and came 1st! She then continued on through all of the next stages – winning regionals, and then getting through to the national semi finals at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena in July 2016.
Mum Candice observed:
“It was an amazing achievement to get to this point and in such a huge arena…we had no expectations at all. We were simply so proud of her getting to this point.”
She came fourth in this competition and the top eight gymnasts went through to the National Finals in Telford two weeks later.
“Again, we were so thrilled that she’d actually made it to a National Final in a sport that she had been doing for less than a year, she’d already won in our eyes, so even if she came 8th, we were so very proud.”
Caitlin managed to get a silver medal, only missing out on gold by 0.1 of a point. But gold did come, with a National Final win in her age and level in July 2018.
Caitlin is still at Harlequin where, she says, “Elliott Browne is now my coach and we are really close. He is always there cheering me on when I am competing, in fact, I don’t think I would have won Counties, Regionals, Nationals and Finals without him—that is how I am first in the Country. ……my journey has just started!”
Caitlin currently practises 17.5 hours per week, and her parents Candice and Steve try to divide the runs to practice between them. Candice balances her work as a teaching assistant with practices & competitions, and with providing the high nutrition required for a national level athlete – who is only just starting year 8!