Back in April, the Dutch women aiming to make the European Games team had to participate in a two-day team trial, one in Amsterdam on April 25 and the other in Beekbergen on April 30.
As a sort of preview of what to expect from the women in Baku (and because we didn’t originally cover this meet because I was on vacation), here’s how the Dutch ladies fared in their trial meet.
Lieke Wevers won both all-around competitions with a 54.883 on day one and a 55.533 on day two. Her scores were remarkably consistent, ranging from 13.4 for her day one bars to 14.333 for her day two bars, all remaining events falling somewhere in between.
In Amsterdam, Wevers hit a great Ray to pak on bars and had an otherwise successful outing but dropped forward and put her hands down after landing her double front. On beam, there were a few bobbles here and there but she hit a beautiful 1.5 L-turn and double pirouette and stuck her gainer layout dismount, and then hit both vault and floor.
At the second trial, she performed an easy but clean Yurchenko layout, and then hit a beautiful bar routine, including a big Ray to clean pak, excellent handstands, a toe on to Maloney to bail, a toe full to toe shoot, and a double front landed a bit low in the knees but looking beautiful in terms of form. On beam, she had a great side aerial to side aerial series, paused between her front aerial to sheep, hit her 1.5 L-turn but had a check on her double pirouette, hit her side somi, and had a tiny hop on her gainer layout dismount.
Her floor was superb, choreographed and danced beautifully, looking more like a lyrical number (and her double pirouette in attitude is gorgeous). Her tumbling wasn’t anything fancy, with a deep landing on her double tuck and then a 2.5, just two passes in the whole routine, but I’d still consider this one of my favorite floor routines for the performance value itself (just imagine it in an arena).
Celine Van Gerner was third in the first trial due to a mishap on beam, though she hit a lovely FTY, clean work on bars (including a great full-out dismount), and solid work on floor, performing a double pike, 1.5 to front layout, triple pirouette, and a stuck double tuck while showing engaging choreography and performance skill.
She earned just an 11.65 on beam, where she fell on her switch to side aerial, a second time on her roundoff to layout, and nearly a third time on her switch to switch side, though she was able to fight there. She did have a lovely tour jete half, however, and hit her 1.5 dismount with just a small step.
She had a bit of a better time at the second meet, placing second, though still wasn’t at her full potential. She hit her FTY with a step to start things off with a 14.067, and then on bars had some minor form and fluidity issues before crashing her full-out on her hands and knees before rolling out of it, getting a 12.967. Her beam was much improved, however, as she hit her problem areas from the first round, including a solid roundoff layout to applause from the small crowd. Van Gerner finished her day on floor with a bit of a stumble on her double pike, but she hit the rest of her tumbling and had lovely dance elements.
Lisa Top was second in the first trial, beginning with a strong front tuck full on vault for a 14.4, the highest of the day. On bars she showed a nice Gienger and Jaeger, though had some minor form issues and over-arched a handstand before her double pike dismount, where she also took a step. Her beam began with a beautiful front tuck mount, which she hit without moving a muscle. Her leaps lacked in amplitude quite a bit, but she hit a solid bhs loso series, and she landed her double tuck dismount well. Like van Gerner, Top struggled on her best event, earning a 12.6 after sitting her opening Dos Santos pass. She nailed her double front, however, stuck her 1.5 to front full cold, and finished with a solid double tuck.
In the second trial meet, she placed third behind van Gerner, though actually had a slightly better score outcome than her performance the first time around. She did stumble forward a bit on her front tuck full vault, though quickly reeled it in for the rest of the meet, including hitting bars with no major problems, just taking a slight step back on the dismount. On beam, her punch front mount was again excellent, though she had bent legs on her flight series, her leaps were still lacking a bit, and then she fell on her punch front tuck before hitting her double tuck dismount.
Her floor routine on day two was excellent, however, earning a 14.467 for her expert tumbling, including a Dos Santos with just a small hop to the side, a stuck double front, a 1.5 to front full, and a double tuck with a slight hop back.
Also vying for spots at this trial were Maartje Ruikes and Vera van Pol, who placed 4th and 5th respectively in both sessions. Neither was super far behind, and both actually had something to offer the team, but due to the all-around nature of the European Games, they were unable to challenge for spots, as their all-around scores were about 2+ points lower than those of their teammates.
Ruikes is actually a pretty great vaulter, and has the highest score of this group when she hits her Yurchenko 1.5. On day two, she got a score of 14.5 there, the highest score on any event in both sessions. She also has pretty excellent and consistent beam and floor work, earning second place on both in session one and third place on both in session two. Again, however, because of the all-around skill required in Baku, her bars (earning an 11.733 and then 10.433) are too weak for her to earn a spot, as they completely limit her AA ability.
Van Pol is also a solid vaulter, and when she hits floor she too has a great routine there, but her bars and beam were very rough both days, and though she hit floor in the first session, she made mistakes on day two, including stumbling far out of bounds on her double arabian, posting just a 12.433.
I think the Dutch ladies have a very fair shot of making the podium in Baku, especially if they stay consistent. Wevers seems to have a very clear head in competition this season and will likely be counted on to go four-for-four in the team final; between the two trials as well as the international challenge in Flanders two weeks ago, Wevers hasn’t faltered yet and will be a strong presence as she continues in her quest. With Top and van Gerner at her side – Top hoping to count big scores on vault and floor, van Gerner on bars and beam with floor a bonus for her – they have a very nicely balanced team and should do great things at the European Games, both as a team and in making individual finals.
Full results from the trials are available here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins