Fincham Prepares for National Championships
April 18, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C.-- Junior gymnast Rachel Fincham will compete in the 2012 NCAA Women's Gymnastics National Championships on Friday, April 20. Fincham is slated to compete in the second semifinal, which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.
At the NCAA Regional, Fincham finished first on bars with a score of 9.9 to punch her ticket to the National Championships. The score of 9.9 was Fincham's third of the season, and it was the fifth time that the Wolfpack gymnast has finished first on bars.
With Fincham advancing to the NCAA Championships, the Wolfpack has now had an individual qualifier for the past five years.
In addition to qualifying for the National Championships, Fincham was named to the All-EAGL First-Team on bars as well as the EAGL First-Team All-Tournament on bars during the season.
The Pack junior does not only excel in the gym, but also in the classroom, as she is a three-time EAGL All-Academic Team selection.
Fincham is the only event specialist on bars that will compete at the National Championships, which means that she is the only gymnast to win the event from a non-qualifying school.
The rotation schedule has Fincham assigned to compete on bars along with the top-ranked Florida Gators and Sharaya Musser, an all-arounder from Penn State.
Fans can follow the meet online with live stats by clicking HERE. The team finals on Saturday, April 21 at 4 p.m. will be streamed live via ESPN3 as will Sunday's individual event finals at 1 p.m.
Q: First of all, how excited are you to be going to the NCAA Women's Gymnastics National Championships?
Fincham: "I'm pretty excited, we leave on Wednesday so I am getting more excited as the time gets nearer. It didn't really set in at first and I was more disappointed that I couldn't go with the whole team, but the team has been really supportive and they have been supporting me the whole way so I'm really excited to go now."
Q: What are your expectations for this weekend?
Fincham: "I'm competing with Florida on bars, and sometimes scores often get stacked at meets so when someone gets a 9.95 or 9.925 then the next person is more likely to get a higher score as well. If I place among the top six then I could become an All-American which would be great for me, as well as for our coaches, because I would only be the second one in school history."
Q: What do you think went well, as far as your routine goes, at the NCAA Regional in order for you to finish in first place?
Fincham: "We've been working alot this year on perfecting the little things that you don't usually think about like body shapes and pointed toes and we've been doing alot of work with that so I think that's why everyone had pretty much their best routine on bars at the Regionals."
Q: What have you been doing since the Regional to prepare yourself for the National Championships?
Fincham: "I've been doing pretty much the same thing, I go into practice and some of my teammates come in with me, it's not required obviously. I just do the same thing I've been doing all season so I keep building confidence and not try and change anything so I don't psych myself out."
Q: How has first year assistant coach Bob Starkell helped to further develop your routine on bars?
Fincham: "He's awesome, he's a perfect fit for our program as a whole. He is really good at getting in your head and making you want to do better without yelling. He's the one that brings in the little things that you wouldn't ordinarily think about that makes your routine just that much better."
Q: You've said before that bars is kind of your thing, what about the uneven bars makes it your favorite or best event?
Fincham: "I started gymnastics when I was four. Throughout my entire career I've always liked the uneven bars a lot and it's just so much fun for me and when I do well I get even more excited about it. It's just something I focus on a lot because I know I can make myself better each and every day."
Q: What's going through you mind before each routine on bars, as far as how do you block out all of the distractions and everything?
Fincham: "I'm usually the last person to go on bars so I try to focus on my teammates' routines, because it makes me less nervous. Right before getting ready to go, I just tell myself that I do this everyday, I do this everyday."
Q: Do you have any pre-meet superstitions on anything that you do before every meet?
Fincham: "Before every bars routine I have to cough. It's something that started when I was really young when I was sick at one meet and I did really good, so I have to cough now before every routine on bars. I usually just rest throughout the day and we always eat bagels before the meet as a team."
Q: You're a three time EAGL All-Academic team selection, how do you balance your school work with your athletic schedule?
Fincham: "I think it's important that I found something that I am interested in, I really like to learn about the human body and the sports side of it as well. Coach Stevenson does a great job of staying on us as well to make sure that we stay on top of our academics."