Aussie GymCat tumbled her way to Tucson from Down Under
It's never easy being away from home when you go to college, and for Arizona gymnast Maddi Leydin home is 8,238 miles away in Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
Growing up in Melbourne, Leydin was introduced to the sport of gymnastics at six and a half and continued to improve skills as an All-Around competitor. At the age of 15 Leydin won the National Senior All-Around title and continued to tumble her way to more achievements.
Competing in the 2011 Australian Commonwealth Youth Games Leydin earned top five on vault and beam helping the team take third overall.
But she didn't stop there.
Leydin went on to become the 2013 Australian All-Around Champion with a score of 51.225. She then went to represent Australia in the National Champions and was then a member of the 2015 Australian World Gymnastics team.
Leydin wanted to further her time being a gymnast and began to think about college, but doing so would mean leaving home.
"We [Australia] don't have anything like college gymnastics or even college sport in Australia so it was a big difference for me, but it's been easy to come over here."
When Leydin knew she wanted to come to the states to pursue gymnastics, her coach got her in contact with the University of Arizona gymnastics team.
"I chose Arizona because I loved the campus, the weather and the people here. I felt like it was the best fit for me," Leydin said. "It is a bit different, just the culture and even me having an accent here, but it's been pretty easy and everyone has been welcoming."
Moving half way across the world is never an easy transition, but with the family atomosphere of Arizona gymnastics, she felt right at home.
"My biggest fear was being away from my family and my friends," Leydin said, "but I got a new family and new friends so it's been pretty good."
The sophomore GymCat has impacted the team since she arrived in Tucson. During the 2017 season Leydin competed in the first three meets and earned a career highs of 9.700 on vault and 9.775 on the floor exercise. Leydin was able to compete during the NCAA Regionals during her freshman year and earned herself a new career high on vault with a 9.750.
While tumbling through gymnastics, Leydin is able to balance both her academics and her time being a GymCat and is currently studying Psychology. She plans to go back home to Australia after she graduates and to continue studying in hopes to one day become a teacher or pursue a job in her field.
Now in the 2018 season Leydin currently competes on floor, beam and vault. She is aiming to compete All-Around in the future and is practicing new skills and improving her gymnastics.
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