National Spotlight Series

Andrew Nicoll and Whitney Picker

The pair stormed the senior international competition at the Australian National Championships this year, taking out 3 gold medals. We catch up with Andrew and Whitney and find out what they love about gymnastics and what they have had to over come to achieve their goals so far.

Interview 

When did you first start gymnastics and why?

Andrew: When I was 3 – my parents put me in kinder gym to get some gross motor skills, then eventually I moved to my current club which is an acro club.
Whitney: I first started general gymnastic when 3 years old.  I moved across to Acrobatic Gymnastics when I was five years old. 

How often do you train?

Andrew & Whitney: 5 days a week, 18hrs.

Do you do any other sports or types of training?

Andrew: I go to the gym a few times a week for extra strength.
Whitney: No. I use to do physical culture but due to my gymnastic commitments I had to stop. 

Who is your gymnastics idol?

Andrew: Nile Wilson, a British MAG gymnast.
Whitney: Nile Wilson, he does Men’s Artistic Gymnastics and came third at the Olympics. Nile is a very hard worker and very motivational.

What is the best experience you have had in the sport? 

Andrew: Representing Australia at the 2018 World Age Games.
Whitney: The best experience was competing in the World Age Games in Belgium in 2018.   I loved watching all the Australian international athletes train and compete.  I made some really good friends and met some wonderful acrobats from all over the world. 

What was the best thing about National Championships 2019? 

Andrew: Coming off the floor happy with our routines, and proud of what we had done.
Whitney: A highlight from the 2019 National Championships was receiving our first place medal.  All the hard work we had put in had paid off.  I really enjoyed competing at such a great venue with all the other athletes from around Australia. 

Who would you thank the most for helping achieve your goals at National Championships and why? 

Andrew: My parents, for providing me with all the food and time I need to get where I want to be, my coaches for all their help in all aspects of our training and helping us get to Nationals, and my partner Whitney, for letting me push her in her strength and flexibility, and working extra hard in and out of the gym.
Whitney: I would thank all my coaches and parents for helping me train and being at every competition to cheer me on.

What is your goal for the next 12 months in Gymnastics?

Andrew: To become the first senior mixed pair to represent Australia at the World Championships in 2020.
Whitney: My goal would be to qualify for the next World Championship which will be held in Switzerland in 2020.  I would love to have the opportunity to represent my country again.  Andrew and I will be working hard to improve our skills, get better scores, become stronger and improve our routines. 

What has been the hardest thing to overcome so far in Gymnastics and how did you get through it?

Andrew: In the lead up to Nationals, a niggling injury in my wrist turned into a bigger one, meaning we couldn’t train our skills the week leading up to Nationals, and for a bit we were unsure if we would be able to compete. After seeing physios many times, doing all my exercises and anything else I possibly could to help my wrist, as well as finding any way to maintain my strength without using my wrist, I was fortunate enough to be able to compete on the day. We relied on all the training we had done before the injury, and just competed as well as we could, putting the injury out of our minds.
Whitney: Earlier this year, I had an ankle injury and a concussion which affected my ability to compete in the State Trials. I got through this by staying focused and determined to get back to full training as soon as possible. While I had to rest my ankle, we were able to train other things like our handstands skills. 

What do you do outside of the gym? 

Andrew: I’m in my second year of uni studying Commerce and Information Systems, I enjoy spending time with family, and also camping
Whitney: I enjoy school and I like walking my dog and spending time with with my family.

What do you love about gymnastics?

Andrew: I like that it’s completely different to every other sport, and how most people can’t do the things we do. I love the feeling of achievement after getting a new skill, or competing well, and also all the work it takes to get there
Whitney: I love the diversity of it and how it is different to every other sport. I love the challenge of learning new skills, perfecting them, getting stronger and training hard.  I have made a lot of great friends as well and we all love training together.  Although we work hard, we have a lot of fun!


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