Before age 9, Srinija Srinivasan ’25 had never heard of rhythmic gymnastics — a form of floor gymnastics that incorporates apparatuses such as hoops, balls, clubs, and ribbons. But after missing an artistic gymnastics class, that all changed.
“The only option for a make-up class was in rhythmic gymnastics, so I tried it out, and I really loved it,” Srinivasan said. “It’s very elegant and beautiful but still showcases strength and coordination.”
Intended majors: Biology, Government
Hometown: East Brunswick, N.J.
High school: East Brunswick High School
Since discovering the sport, Srinivasan has become a top-ranked rhythmic gymnast. As a 12- and 13-year-old, she participated in the Rhythmic Youth Elite Squad, a program that gives the top 30 U.S. rhythmic gymnasts under age 15 the opportunity to work with Olympic athletes and judges. At 13, she became a national champion in the rhythmic gymnastics floor routine. By the time she was 16, she placed second in ball and ribbon in international competitions in France and Italy.
Now, Srinivasan has her eyes set on a spot on the 2024 U.S. Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Group (or team).
“It’s always been a goal of mine to try to get there, and I feel like it would be a culmination of all the work I’ve put into the sport so far,” Srinivasan said.
It’s very elegant and beautiful but still showcases strength and coordination.
With the Olympics in mind, Srinivasan follows a rigorous training schedule that culminates in just over 30 hours of training per week and consists of both conditioning and skills practice. On top of her intense training, she is taking five classes at Hamilton, rather than the usual four, to stay on track for her biology/government double concentration.
“She’s probably the most determined person I’ve ever met,” her friend Andrew Fredericks ’25 said. “She has these tremendous goals, and she operates at a different level of determination to achieve them.”
Every Thursday, Srinivasan makes the five-hour trip back to her New Jersey home to train with her coach. While this means she has to miss some classes, professors’ understanding and willingness to work individually with students were key reasons she chose Hamilton in the first place.
“On Fridays, my biology professor is kind enough to set up a Zoom so that I can attend class and ask questions while still doing what I love,” Srinivasan said.
Srinivasan will continue her classes and individual training until she makes it onto the National Prep Group, at which time she will need to put her studies on hold to train with the team in Chicago. The makeup of the six-member National Prep Group A and Group B is determined through tryouts and can change several times before the final Olympic team is determined. Srinivasan hopes to join the group as soon as possible, which may be as early as June 2022.
“It’s going to be hard work, but everything that’s worth it takes time,” Srinivansan said. “And even if the goal can seem far off sometimes, I’m going to work to get as close as possible.”