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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, November 30, 2023
Courtesy of Hannah Aeschlimann

Facebook post inspires former gymnast to take up coaching

A post on Facebook reignited Hannah Aeschlimann’s passion for gymnastics.

In 2018, Ashley Wu, one of Aeschlimann’s former coaches, posted that she needed assistance coaching the Madison United Gymnastics team. 

Aeschlimann was juggling work obligations at the time that challenged her commitment. But she remembered the positive experiences her high school gymnastics coach fostered — experiences she hoped to deliver for a younger generation.

“I loved the team I was on and loved all the relationships I had with my team when I was that age,” Aeschlimann said. “I wanted to be a part of that again.” 

Starting in 2018, Aeschlimann became one of many gymnastics coaches volunteering throughout the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Aeschlimann volunteers with Madison United Gymnastics, a co-op team established in 2006 for students from La Follette High School and Madison East High School. The team practices and holds its meets at Madison East. 

Aeschlimann first started gymnastics in middle school, attending Badger Gymnastics workshops. She also did four years of high school gymnastics at Madison Memorial High School and was on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s club team for a semester before transferring.

Her favorite part of coaching is being able to see the students try to perfect a new skill for the first time. She also enjoys being able to see them build and improve their skills and routines throughout the season, regardless of their skill set. 

“It is so cool to see kids that have been doing gymnastics their entire lives cheer for their teammates that have only been doing gymnastics a very short time and help each other out,” she said.

Coaching girls from two different schools is difficult, Aeschlimann said. The students have to build a team bond and personal relationships despite not seeing each other often. 

Luckily, there are families that host team dinners on nights before meets, events Aeschlimann believes foster friendships and trust between her athletes.

Aeschlimann strongly believes school sports and physical activities are huge benefits to the Madison community. She loves how students are given opportunities to set and achieve goals as well as cooperate with others while building relationships. 

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She is especially proud of the close relationships she builds with her students. Many students have asked her to write recommendation letters or invited her to their graduation parties. When given the opportunity, Aeschlimann is eager to go support students who participate in sports outside of gymnastics. 

Many students come back to visit Aeschlimann, and she loves being able to hear about their lives in college or any other post-high school plans. 

The parents are very supportive and always cheer for the team from the stands, Aeschlimann said. She loves being able to see parents at meets, especially parents that have students in different grades on the team.

With the gymnastics season starting soon, Aeschlimann is extremely excited to be able to see gymnasts, parents and other coaches return alongside new head coach Meghan Blake-Horst. 

Practice began Monday, Nov. 6, in preparation for their first meet on Dec. 2.

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