COLUMBIA — Missouri freshman gymnast Lauren Swankoski fell off the balance beam during the third rotation of Saturday night’s "Beauty and the Beast" meet at the Hearnes Center.
Immediately after she finished her routine, a team-low score of 8.975, Missouri coach Rob Drass told her to let go of what had just happened. He said she was going to follow that up with the best floor routine she had ever done.
He was right.
Swankoski recorded a career high score of 9.875 in the floor exercise.
Swankoski and the Tigers defeated New Hampshire 195.125-192.975 on Saturday night to improve to 4-1 this season.
“Every event is a new event,” Swankoski said. “You can’t carry it over. You just scratch whatever happened in that event and go out to kill in the next one.”
Their record in the "Beauty and the Beast" event is 4-0.
"Beauty and the Beast" features the Missouri gymnastics and wrestling teams competing simultaneously on the Hearnes Center floor.
It’s a one-of-a-kind experience at Missouri, as fans of both sports noticed.
Whistles and buzzers don't sound during a gymnastics meet, and wrestlers usually don't hear ‘Tiny Dancer’ mid-match. Plus, the large crowd on hand created a lot of noise and distraction for both teams.
“It’s a good distraction,” senior Sarah Shire said. “There were so many people there tonight. We work so hard. We want to show it off to as many people as possible. We enjoyed the crowd, we had a good time, and we came out with the win, which is ultimately the important thing.”
“For the wrestlers or the gymnasts, you just have to be 100 percent focused on what you’re doing and not let anything else creep in,” Drass said.
The gymnastics team practiced for the event by playing “distraction CDs” during their practices during the week.
Missouri followed up its first loss of the season a week ago at Nebraska with a win Saturday. It improved its scores in three of the four events.
“We ran into so much adversity at Nebraska, what we tried to do was learn some lessons,” Drass said. “If there’s something we could control, that we could do differently, we tried to learn that lesson.”
Missouri recorded the second lowest scores of the season on three events, but still increased it’s lead over New Hampshire after each rotation.
All three of Missouri’s all-around competitors, Shire, sophomore Mary Burke, and Swankoski, beat New Hampshire’s lone all-around competitor, Chelsea Steinberg, who entered Saturday’s meet ranked No. 14 in the country.