By Anna Rose Johnson

We recently caught up with Sarah Finnegan, who is perhaps most well-known for her stunning spins on balance beam. After a highly successful elite career that included traveling to England as an alternate to the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, Sarah is now enjoying an incredible NCAA experience at LSU. In this Q&A, Sarah discusses competition memories, finishing out her sophomore season, and plans after college.

Inside Gymnastics: How’s your training going?
Sarah Finnegan: Training is going well! We are closing out our regular season and are managing our bodies more so that we can be ready to go for postseason.

Inside: Tell us about your meets so far this season!
Sarah: With each meet this season, we always got a little bit better on something. Whether it was fine-tuning some routines, going through different lineups to see what works best, or improving on our team score, there was always something that we were able to commend about each meet.

Inside: How is your sophomore season different than your freshman season?
Sarah: I think I’m more confident this season than my freshman season. Going in last year, I didn’t really know what to expect in college gymnastics and I definitely was not used to competing weekend after weekend. This year, I know more of what to expect and have a good approach on how to prepare myself for each meet.

Inside: What have been some of the greatest moments of your NCAA career so far?
Sarah: Breaking school records. Every time we improve on something as a team [it] is a great moment in my book. Going off from last year’s runner-up finish was a great way to end my freshman year. We had the highest score and highest finish in LSU gymnastics school history at the National Championships. But honestly, the greatest moments in my collegiate career are when I’m with my team. On the bus, on a plane, in the gym, at meets; we always have SO much fun no matter what we’re doing. I wouldn’t want to spend my NCAA career with any other group of girls.

Inside: What were some of the highs and lows of your elite career?
Sarah: Being an elite was an honor. I was able to travel to different countries, meet new people, and I was given some great opportunities. But that didn’t come without hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. I’ve dealt with some injuries and have had two elbow surgeries. Some of my greatest accomplishments as an elite was [when I competed] in the Pan American Games in 2010 in Guadalajara, Mexico; going to competitions in Jesolo, Italy in 2011 and 2012; and being named as an alternate for the 2012 Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team in London, England.

Inside: What are some of your favorite competition memories?
Sarah: Some of my favorite competition memories include finishing runner-up last year at nationals. But honestly, I can’t narrow down a favorite memory because I love being a part of this team so much.

Inside: Do you think you might continue competing after your NCAA career is over?
Sarah: Probably not. I enjoy gymnastics and appreciate everything I’ve been able to experience with it, but I want to start a new chapter in life after my collegiate career is over.

Inside: Would you consider coaching gymnastics someday?
Sarah: As a side job, yes! I am really good with kids, and I think I would be able to help out little girls as a gymnastics coach.

Inside: What are your goals for the remainder of the season?
Sarah: To continue to improve going into postseason—SEC Championships, Regionals, and Nationals.

Header image © Chris Parent/LSU Athletics

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Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com