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Take 5 with Vanessa Zamarripa

June 30, 2010
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Brian Taylor

Among the most stylish gymnasts in the country, Vanessa Zamarripa joined UCLA on a full scholarship two years ago after a storied history as a Level 10 gymnast. Training at Midwest Twisters, (O’Fallon, IL), her J.O. resume included virtually every title imaginable, from the junior through the senior ranks at the state, regional and national levels. She continued her trail-blazing ways at UCLA, finishing third in the all-around at NCAAs her freshman year and achieving five All-American honors. Zamarripa just topped off her sophomore year by helping her team take home their sixth NCAA team title and also claimed individual gold with two nearly flawless vaults. She also placed in the top ten in the All-around and on floor exercise and garnered five All-American honors.

Equally impressive as her results are her dedicated work ethic, mesmerizing choreography and stylish execution. We had the opportunity early in the NCAA season to watch the Bruins in training one week and we were incredibly impressed by her focus and determination during each training session. And we’ve always had an appreciation for her attention to detail and style in her gymnastics.

Over the weekend of the NCAA finals, Zamarripa announced the possibility of competing Elite for the first time (she previously tested for Elite during her club days, but suffered an injury during testing). And it’s no surprise that with her work ethic and determination that she qualified recently at the Bieger competition. “She’s a very unique, and incredibly humble,” says UCLA Assistant Coach Chris Waller. “She can focus like a laser and loves to compete more than anything.”

Though beautiful on and off the competition floor, Zamarripa isn’t one to seek the spotlight and, in fact, prefers to let her gymnastics do the talking. Still, Inside Gymnastics caught up with the stylish Zamarripa (who is also featured among the 50 Most Photogenic Gymnasts in our current issue) for our Take 5 Quick Chat of the week….

How did it feel competing in your first Elite competition?

Honestly, it really did not feel any different from any other competition I have competed in. After competing in so many competitions for UCLA these past two years, the qualifier felt like any other meet I would be doing.

Do you plan on competing at the CoverGirl Classic? And if so, should we expect any changes to your routines?

Yes, as of right now we are planning on competing at the CoverGirl Classic at the end of July. I am planning on upgrading almost every event, but for right now those (specific) upgrades are still in question. We really have not decided which ones to do, so it will be a surprise not only to me but for everyone come CoverGirl and Nationals!

What are your goals for Nationals?

I just love competing. I am going just go out there and try to do my best, like I do at any other meet. Another goal is just to enjoy the experience. It is just another meet, but it is one of the biggest meets I have ever done.

Are the 2012 Olympics your ultimate goal?

I just want to go out and compete as much as I can, and the best I can and see where this all takes me. But [the] 2012 Olympics is a goal that I have in the back of my mind.

Where do you feel your strengths are for Team USA?

Well from what I have been hearing from a lot of people, they say the way I do my gymnastics. I guess the way it looks… I personally feel after I do all my upgrades I could contribute on any event, and mostly vault. Another way is my experience. With college I have competed so many times, I have gained so much experience in dealing with competitions and the pressure that comes along with it.

Look for a photo feature on Zamarripa in our July/August issue, which also contains a preview of the 2010 U.S. Championships.

Photo Courtesy of UCLA

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