Getting in the rhythm
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
YOU'RE 18 years old and you've just become a national champion in your chosen sport that you've dedicated 20 hours per week to over 10 years.
What's your next step.
According to Coffs Harbour's Natasha Moule, the answer is retire.
"I did what I had to do, now I'm finished," she said.
"I don't want to move on to international competitions."
Moule's victory was the sort of tale saved for Hollywood movies.
The Level 10 (highest level) championships were all but over, with Moule's clubs routine all that remained for the day and the Victorian squad already celebrating a gold medal. Alas those celebrations were a tad premature as Moule wowed the judges with a near flawless routine and snuck New South Wales over the line.
"I was very nervous throughout the whole competition," she said.
"But I just switched off and went into a zone.
"The fact that I don't know my scores when I compete probably helped."
Moule's coach Kerry Mancini can attest to Moule's ignorance of the pressure of the situation.
"When Natasha was announced as the winner, she was up on the podium looking dumb struck for about three minutes," Mancini said.
Moule's surprise was explained by her expectations leading into the week long event.
"I thought I'd come in the top three, but never thought I'd actually win it," she said.
"But I did the best routines I've ever done and I didn't drop anything."
Although proud of the performance of her young protege, coach Mancini was also quick to point out the strong results recorded by other Coffs Harbour gymnasts Caitlin Whitehead and Cassie Armytage.
In her first year at Level 10, Armytage performed two strong routines to finish 15th overall, while Whitehead finished seventh in the Level nine competition but managed a third with her ribbon routine.
Whitehead is now eligible to progress up to the Level 10 competitions.
"It's unusual for a country club to be so strong at the higher levels, but they're a good bunch of girls," Mancini said.
"They're here most of the time because they know they get into trouble if they're not.
"There are 30 competitive gymnasts here at the club, but these girls are the best.
"They could compete overseas if they wanted to."
An impressive offer for most young girls, but as national champion, Moule finds the offer an easy one to refuse.