Saverino represents country in international competition

Megan Malartsik, Staff Reporter

Karolina Saverino wasn’t initially sold on the idea of becoming a rhythmic gymnast when her mother first introduced her to the sport. 

“When I started rhythmic, I didn’t enjoy it,” Saverino said in an email. “My mom kept me in the sport because she saw that I had potential and my coaches said the same. After a few months I couldn’t get a ribbon stick out of my hand.”

 The once-4-year-old Saverino who was uncertain of the sport is now a junior at Elk Grove who hates missing practice, especially as rhythmic gymnastics has become her “passion and life.” She competed for a world championship while representing the United States in Japan and Spain.

Rhythmic gymnastics consists of performing on the floor with a variety of objects such as clubs, hoops, balls, ribbons and ropes. Athletes perform their routine while incorporating elements of dance and gymnastics.

When the sport began to take over Saverino’s life at such a young age, she found motivation to work toward her goals everyday by creating close relationships with her teammates and coaches.

“It’s become a routine for 13 years of my life and that number keeps going up as the years go by,” Saverino said. “I learn so much from dedication to communication and I keep learning new life skills by the day.”

The excessive amount of work she puts into her routine is reflected through the competitions she competes in annually. Saverino enjoys the adrenaline rush brought to her by these high-level meets. She described the pressure as a “nerve wracking experience,” because all of the work done at the gym must quickly be perfected with “one shot on the floor,” she said. 

Saverino and her team dedicated long hours in order to qualify for the Grand Prix in Spain and the World Championship in Japan. Saverino and her team placed in the top ten.

“I couldn’t be any more proud of our performances in both countries,” Saverino said.

Saverino has been trained to handle the stress of competitions throughout her many years of competing, but she finds that the intensity in which she practices gives her confidence in the success of her routine. She keeps her mental game strong to fight off the nerves, but she says her true secret to success is owed to her superstitious consumption of a banana before every competition. 

Her AP English teacher, Rita Thompson, quickly realized how much of an honor it was for Saverino to represent the U.S. at such a prestigious level of competition. As her teacher, Thompson adapted to her educational needs while Saverino was overseas.

According to Thompson, Karolina is “always aware of her schedule” and does an excellent job communicating her needs, obligations and absences to teachers, allowing them to adapt to her needs and create ways of getting her assignments and making sure she is learning.

“She’s always planning ahead, which is helpful for us, and always allows us to help her so she doesn’t get overwhelmed,” Thompson said.

Her instructors agree that Saverino’s athletic levels differentiate her from normal teens, but her ability to communicate and advocate for herself is another asset that puts her ahead. 

Other students who perpetually are behind, I don’t think they’d be able to handle that travel and responsibility because it’d be constantly trying to scramble and figure out what happened,” Thompson said. 

Accommodations are tough for both her teachers and Saverino but her ability to communicate and build relationships with teachers offers understanding and aids the process of traveling/practicing while learning academically at the same time.

“I truly appreciate all my past and present teachers that are understanding of my other commitments. They are extremely patient with me when I have to make up assignments,” Saverino said.