Volleman Wins Four Golds at Nationals

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Tisha Volleman, who made the all-around and vault finals at European Championships this year and served as an alternate for the Dutch Olympic team in 2016, won four gold medals at nationals last weekend in Rotterdam.

This was the first senior national all-around title of Volleman’s career, though she did earn the junior title in 2014, and she also picked up the golds on everything but bars, an event she skipped in finals despite qualifying in third place. It was a pretty good competition for the 17-year-old, who is hoping to make the worlds team this year before continuing on this quad with the hopes of getting a spot in 2020.

Volleman didn’t have a ton of competition here, with most of the best Dutch gymnasts — including every member of the 2016 Olympic team — sitting this meet out as they rehab injuries, take breaks, and train upgrades for the more important world selection trials this fall.

With the lack of depth, Volleman’s all-around score of 51.366 was over a point ahead of the rest of the field. She did struggle with her DTY on vault, coming up a bit short and under-rotated before crashing it, and she also had some mistakes on floor, including a big stumble out of her front full, though she killed it on her quad turn to double pirouette at the beginning, and her performance was entertaining as always.

Volleman’s bars were about as good as she can do them, with her Jaeger, bail to clear hip to toe on to toe shoot, and giant full to full-in looking solid if not quite tidy or fluid. Beam was her standout, a few small mistakes aside, though her front tuck mount was a bit squatty and her handspring to front toss was done very slowly…I really wish she’d change that series. Her double spin was excellent and controlled, though, and she seemed to work very slow and steady throughout, finishing it off with a clean double full for a 12.733.

Her DTY looked much better in event finals, helping her to the title with a 13.712 average after downgrading her second vault. She hit beam, albeit with some bobbles, to win the title with a 12.45, and had a great performance on floor, earning a 12.9 to wrap things up with her fourth title of the meet.

Volleman was pretty much the only senior here who will be a top choice for worlds this fall, but we still saw some solid performances from others who will be up for various other competitions this year. The silver medal went to new senior Marieke van Egmond, a member of the 2016 junior Euros team, with a 50.233 while Chiara Frisina Fauste won the bronze with a 49.167, just a tiny margin ahead of three-time Egyptian Olympian Sherine el Zeiny, who trains at S.V. Pax in the Netherlands and still competes there domestically, placing fourth here with a 49.133 in her first appearance since Rio.

Van Egmond had some mistakes throughout both days of competition, but in addition to her silver medal in the all-around, she also got the bronze medals on beam with a fall and on floor with one of the strongest routines of the day. Her difficulty overall is a bit too low to really consider her for major team opportunities at this point, but I thought her beam was promising and really enjoyed watching her in general.

Frisina Fauste nailed her vault and looked especially good on floor, competing an awesome Memmel to illusion, double pike, and Rudi. This was her first time out in about a year, so she was definitely a surprise for the podium which was great to see, and she also got a bronze medal on vault. Unfortunately, Frisina Fauste fell on floor in event finals and had to scratch the remainder of her routine. I haven’t seen anything online about how she’s doing, so hopefully she’s doing okay and will be back in the near future.

For her first competition since Rio, El Zeiny — who is shooting for her fourth Olympic Games in 2020! — had a good outing, though her difficulty was a bit lower than what we saw in Rio. Bars were definitely her highlight, with her routine including a Maloney to pak, stalder to van Leeuwen, Jaeger, and nearly stuck double layout to earn a 12.933 in the all-around. She had some mistakes in event finals, but still got the silver medal with a 12.45.

Rounding out the top eight were Anne Klein in fifth with a 48.934, Denise Tan in sixth with a 48.367, Elisabeth Geurts in seventh with a 48.333, and Dyonnailys Supriana in eighth with a 46.700. New senior Naomi Visser, a top junior last year, sadly had a rough day, finishing only tenth with a 45.5 after a super weird mishap on vault (she normally has a nice FTY), several wobbles and a fall on her flight series on beam (though she had a very smooth double spin!), and an underrotated 1.5 to front full on floor.

Klein ended up with the silver on vault, falling on her first vault, but hitting her FTY for a 13.45. Visser ended up winning the gold on bars, showing the cleanest and most difficult set that included a Maloney to bail to toe on to toe shoot, stalder to blind change to Jaeger, and a stuck double front dismount for a 12.9, while Supriana got the bronze there with a 12.225 for a hit set.

Finally, Tan ended up getting two silver medals, including for her fall-free beam set that earned a 12.025, and for her clean, strong floor set that earned a 12.7. Her routine is awesome and well-choreographed, done to “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals, and in finals she stuck her double pike before also nailing her 1.5 to front full and 2.5 to finish.

Again, Volleman is realistically the only worlds contender this year, though I could see both van Egmond and Visser being B team options in the future. But the Netherlands is sending a full team to Universiade, and this meet helped determine those who would travel to Taiwan.

2016 Olympian Vera van Pol, who hasn’t yet returned to competition following the Games but has been training and working on getting back to top shape, will headline the Universiade team that will also include Klein, Tan, Geurts (who represented the Netherlands at Universiade in 2013), and Nadieh van Pol, Vera’s younger sister who was 12th all-around this weekend with a 44.334.

At the junior level, this meet should’ve been a veritable domination for Sanna Veerman, but shockingly, the 15-year-old only walked away with one gold medal after mistakes all weekend.

Instead, it was the 2003-born Astrid de Zeeuw who won the all-around title, defeating Veerman by less than two tenths with her 49.701. Bars was the standout event for de Zeeuw, who was an aggressive bar worker, competing a Maloney to pak, clean van Leeuwen, piked Jaeger, and full-out for a 12.967. She had some mistakes on beam and floor, but recovered from them well and was at a promising level for her age on both.

De Zeeuw competed in every final but floor, hitting two easy but clean vaults to place fifth with a 13.075 average, but then kind of falling apart on both bars and beam. She ended up last on both, with a 9.4 on bars (I haven’t seen video of this one but it looks like whatever problems she had caused skills to not receive credit, as her D score was only a 3.4) and with a 9.35 on beam, where she had multiple falls.

Veerman finished just slightly behind de Zeeuw in the all-around final, earning a 49.534 for silver. She was without a doubt the best vaulter at the meet, competing a huge and clean Yurchenko 1.5 in both the all-around and event final, winning the vault title with a 13.962 average after earning a 14.25 for her 1.5 and a 13.675 for her equally nice FTY.

On bars, Veerman hit fabulous releases, including a big piked Jaeger and then a Church, but her pak was caught a bit close and her clear hip out of it was a little awkward, not going to handstand and causing her to take an extra swing before her van Leeuwen, which was a little messy. She also got stuck in her toe full before her full-in dismount, which was a little wild but was landed well, earning an 11.967.

Her bigger mistakes came on beam and floor, with a good start on beam — especially on her triple flight series — but then she had a big stumble on her side aerial, another large stumble on her switch half, a skid on her switch side, all three looking like she might fall and yet somehow she held onto the beam each time, so mistakes aside, it was a great fight. She got an 11.3 there, and then earned a 12.2 on floor, hitting her double arabian, but then not getting a good punch out of her 2.5 into the front tuck, causing her to stumble it back, though again she didn’t sit it. The fight is strong in this one.

I was hoping she’d come back to kill it in event finals, but aside from the gold on vault, it was a bit lackluster, with bars especially rough. I mean, she still got the silver on beam with mistakes, and the bronze on floor with some tiny issues, including one pass going out-of-bounds, so it wasn’t a disastrous weekend. I just expected a bit more from her, considering her potential and how dominant she’s been in the junior field over the past year or so.

2003-born Sara van Disseldorp won the all-around bronze with a 47.883, showing her best work on vault and floor, while Nienke Langenhuizen was fourth with a 47.000, Tanishaley Neto was fifth with a 46.800, Maud Lammertink was sixth with a 46.433, Laura de Witt was seventh with a 46.367, and Tilila Oughzou was eighth with a 46.200.

Van Disseldorp ended up falling on her first vault in finals, but came back to win the gold medals on beam and floor, with floor looking like one of the tidiest routines in the entire junior competition. De Witt won the bars title while also picking up the silver on vault, Juliette Pijnacker — tenth all-around — won the vault bronze, Langenhuizen picked up the bronze on bars as well as the silver on floor, and Oughzou won the beam bronze while finishing fourth on floor, normally her best event, and while her E score was one of the best, something must’ve went wrong because her D score was about seven tenths lower than she’s typically capable of, so she went from being a gold medal threat to finishing just off the podium.

Full results from this year’s Dutch Championships are available here.

Article by Lauren Hopkins


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