Thursday January 30, 2014Bridget Sloan ready for Year II of collegiate experience
By Jimena Panduro, UF Communications
Perfection- that’s what Bridget Sloan has delighted us with for the past year.
Sloan is the reigning NCAA all-around and balance beam champion, a four-time All-American, member of the 2013 All-Southeastern Conference first team, winner of the 2013 Honda award – all achieved as freshman.
In one season at Florida, Bridget Sloan’s decorated career, which already included a World Championships all-around title and a 2008 Olympic silver-medal before arriving in Gainesville, has been filled with honors and achievements.
At UCLA, during the first meet of the season, Sloan felt she wasn’t quite there yet, something was off. But at Auburn, after a winning all-around performance which garnered her the SEC Gymnast of the Week honor, she felt better; whatever was off had finally clicked.
Last Friday, just when you thought the incredibly outgoing Indiana native couldn’t possibly garner more accolades, she did.
To put it in her own words, it was awesome.
Sloan scored a 10.0 in her floor routine, the very first 10 of her collegiate career. And the first floor perfection for the Gators since 1997.
Things got even better when right after her performance, teammate Kytra Hunter also earned a 10.0, giving Florida its first back-to-back perfect scores in any event since 1996. To say that it was a night to remember would be an unfair description of the magic that took place in the O’Connell Center a week ago.
“We’re all at a very good point mentally. We understand that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You have got to take it day-by-day and we really have done that the last couple of weeks,” Sloan said.
Curiously enough, that’s what Sloan’s career feels like so far, a magical marathon that is barely around mile seven.
Her spunky personality and endless positivity is one of the items which drives her teammates to push harder and as the team often says, fight until the very end. Though the 2014 gymnastics season is only in its fourth week, Sloan has already captured two out of the three possible SEC Gymnast of the Week honors with the second one coming this past Tuesday, when she received the honor after the show-stopping night she had against Georgia last week. This one, she shared with fellow Gator Kytra Hunter, which made the recognition all the more rewarding.
Though the accolades come fast and often for Sloan, she is still appreciative of every single one of them.
“I mean, it feels awesome. Any award that you get throughout the week is great, especially being freshman of the week last year and now gymnast of the week this year it’s great. It shows how much hard work you put in, and at the meet you really let it shine,” she said.
Bridget Sloan is just getting started, really, and who knows what the rest of her decorated career will bring next.
But one thing is for sure; when it comes to Sloan, expect the unexpected.