By Tamas Mondovics
Tampa Bay Rhythmics Gymnastics, led by Owner and Head Coach Tyana Marlowe, was pleased to bring its competitive season to a close with its traditional week-long, end-of year-camp, showcasing its talented gymnasts, standout stars, as well celebrity supporters such as Rhythmic Gymnastics National Champion and 2012 Olympian, Julie Zetlin.
For the second time in as many years, Zetlin has traveled from the west coast to spend a week with Marlowe’s girls sharing her coaching expertise and experience with the young gymnasts who hope to one day become Olympians themselves.
“It’s a pleasure to come back and spend another week with the girls here,” Zetlin said of the gym located at 6542 Krycul Ave. in Riverview, which brings together gymnasts from FishHawk, Bloomingdale, Valrico, Brandon, Riverview and other nearby communities.
“It is nice to see a great variety of talent here, and I hope to return again next year.”
Zetlin did not have to look too hard before zeroing in on one of the gyms most talented gymnasts who has been drawing attention in the Rhythmics world.
Under Marlowe’s supervision and coaching, 14-year-old Apollo Beach resident Sydney Rhoads has quickly grew into a junior elite level gymnast with the potential to lead the competition entering the next phase of her athletic career.
Marlowe said that in a span of three years, Rhodes developed from entering the sport for the first time to this year qualifying for the elite national championships and finishing as the 16th best ranked junior in the country.
“For an extra talented rhythmic gymnast it usually takes about six to eight years to get to this kind of level,” Marlowe said, adding that in her first year of competition Rhodes became the level six national champion.
After becoming the level eight junior Olympic champion and then topping that success off with the level nine junior Olympic championship win, Rhoads qualified for the level 10 elite national championships.
“I have been involved in this sport for over 30 years and this is a very rare occurrence,” Marlowe said. “This child has the Olympic potential.”
Rhoads will now train in the senior division hoping to reach the elite status.
“This sport is a great fit for me and I am looking forward to taking my abilities to the next level,” Rhoads said.
While she is enjoying the limelight and her parents support, Rhoads is blessed with a lovely younger sister, Sophie, 13, whose disposition and obvious humility under her sister’s shadow of success is not only a great addition to the rest of the Tampa Bay Rhythmics roster of gymnast, but another talent to keep a close eye on.
Marlowe, along with her top notch coaching staff, is always open to welcome new students and future Olympians.
For more information about Tampa Bay Rhythmics, visit www.tampabayrhythmics.com.