IOWA CITY, Iowa – Learning to stand out and adjust to freshman year in college is a lot to ask and that is just what gymnast Bridget Killian is doing.
Killian has never been one to believe that she stands out though.
“Growing up, I never really was all that confident,” Killian said. “I was always content with being unseen and feeling average.”
It took a team – the GymHawks — to allow Killian to realize that standing out is part of what makes everybody so unique.
“Standing out is embracing what makes you, you, and sharing that with the rest of the world,” Killian said. “I feel so blessed to have a team that not only accepts me for me, but loves me for the person I am.”
Killian, a native of Wheaton, Illinois, has started in every competition for the Hawkeyes this season, competing on vault, beam, and floor. She has notched career-high scores on all three events within the past two weeks.
While Killian’s scores rise, so does her confidence and her ability to stand out.
“Being a part of this program has taught me to want to stand out,” Killian said. “It has taught me to not only be comfortable with who I am, but love what makes me unique in my own awkward, quirky way.”
That self-realization would not be possible without others around her to support her.
“It is so hard to put into words how grateful I am for the coaches and the rest of the team for teaching me to always be who I am and supporting me to reach the person I ultimately want to become,” Killian added.
It’s now that Killian has realized that when she walked into the Fieldhouse last summer that she wasn’t joining a team, she was joining something much bigger.
“This team is a family and it is an honor to be a part of it,” Killian said. “As a family, we each bring something unique to the program. We are genuine, strong, empathetic, goofy, humble, passionate, loyal, and so much more.”
The family mentality begins at the top with a culture developed by head coach Larissa Libby.
“Larissa always pushes us to be ourselves,” Killian said. “We know that it is okay to be ourselves and it helps our confidence.”
Heading into the rest of the season and her career, Killian knows she made the right choice coming to Iowa and believing in the Hawkeyes.
“I always thought I wasn’t that good of a gymnast, but now I enjoy competing because that is what the program has taught me,” Killian said. “This is Iowa gymnastics and it is why we stand out.”