On the bars with Jordyn Mannino

The sophomore from Manhasset, New York, discusses performing on the uneven bars and floor for the gymnastics team.

Jordyn Mannino of the gymnastics team claps chalk onto her hands in Hutchingson Gym.

Twice so far this season, sophomore Jordyn Mannino of the gymnastics team has earned Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for her high marks on the uneven bars and floor.

She was presented the ECAC Coaches Choice Award on Jan. 23 following a 9.675 score on the bars and a 9.800 floor score at a dual meet at Yale.

On Feb. 5, she was named ECAC Specialist of the Week after finishing second on the bars with a score of 9.825 and fourth on the floor with a score of 9.775 at the Teal Meet at the Palestra. Her marks helped Penn achieve a combined score of 193.900, a season high at the time.

From Manhasset, New York, on Long Island, Mannino has been doing gymnastics for about 15 years. She says she appreciates the camaraderie that is cultivated by being a part of the team.

“I truly like the team aspect of it, especially this team now,” she says. “It’s a great group of girls and I truly consider them 21 of my best friends. I’m excited to come into practice every day and just be with them and work hard and keep getting better.”

On Saturday, March 23, the gymnastics team will compete in the ECAC Championship in Ithaca, New York.

Penn Today sat down with Mannino in the Tse Sports Center to chat about the work of being a gymnast, what makes a good routine, why she enjoys the floor exercise, the team aspect of the sport, and her interest in health.

Jordyn Mannino looks pleased after nailing a landing from the uneven bars.
Photo by Penn Athletics


What sorts of practice and training are involved with being a gymnast?

Our preseason is from the beginning of September to December. In the morning, we’ll have either a run circuit or weight training, and then in the afternoon we’ll get on the events and actually train our skills. Now that we’re in season, we focus more on hitting pressure sets, so it’s trying to mimic what it would be like in a meet.

Do you train over the summer as well or is that sort of your downtime? 

Not as intensely, but yes, we do maintain over the summer. We go to our club gyms where we trained prior to coming to college. It’s fun to come back with all my old teammates and just see what everyone’s up to, and maintain, and just try to prepare for the upcoming season.

Do you come up with your floor routine yourself?

Our assistant coach Kirsten [Becker] actually comes up with all of our routines. It’s really fun to go out there and compete them, especially because the whole team gets involved, you’re not just doing it by yourself. On the sidelines, everyone is dancing with you and getting you really amped up and it’s super exciting and fun. I truly love it because I don’t feel like I’m out there alone doing it. I feel like I truly have everyone doing it with me. That’s my personal favorite part of meets.

Sophomore gymnast Jordyn Mannino smiles while performing a floor routine.
Photo by Penn Athletics


Do you do the same routine throughout the year or does it change?

Throughout the year, you do the same routine, but every two years you get a new one.

To an outsider, it can be difficult to see the different intricacies that separate a good routine from an average routine. Are you able to tell when you are able to pull off a successful routine?

Yes, we have a pretty good idea. And a lot of what we’ve been doing in practice these past couple of weeks is focusing on the small details and trying to make them as perfect and consistent as possible. But you definitely know when you hit a good routine and it’s really exciting.

What are some of the small details that make one routine better than another? 

Mostly on bars, it’s hitting all of your cast handstands, and pointing your toes, and sticking landings. As a group, we’ve been focusing on that and really trying to apply it in competition.

You talked about the team aspect of gymnastics. Even though you perform and are scored as an individual, gymnastics is a team sport?

Yes, definitely. I do everything for my team.

Sophomore gymnast Jordyn Mannino high-fives with her teammates.
Photo by Penn Athletics


How does that relationship or dynamic work? 

Even though you’re up on the event by yourself doing a routine, you still have the support of all your teammates behind you making sure that you’re confident in yourself and that you trust yourself as much as they trust you. It’s very reassuring to know that it doesn’t matter if I make a mistake because they’re still going to support me 100 percent of the time. We build off of each other and we really try to pick each other up as a team. You’re not ever doing it alone.

You have not yet declared a major, but you’re leaning toward health and societies? What interests you about health and societies?

I’ve always been very interested in public health and health policy so I just felt this major really fit. And my parents are in the health field also, so I just have always really enjoyed that and I’m excited to pursue it.

Sophomore gymnast Jordan Mannino poses in Hutchinson Gym.