Press and Media Coverage

MAY 26, 2021

8 San Diego Rhythmic Gymnasts achieve the rank of Level 10 Elite, the highest in the sport

Local gymnasts from Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic and Aesthetic Group Gymnastics (EMC) were selected from a national pool of 213 athletes, and are now qualified for trials at the USA Rhythmic Gymnastics National Team Championships.

(San Diego, CA) The results from the 2021 National Rhythmic Elite Qualifier are in: 8 of the 25 newly-minted Level 10 Elite gymnasts in the United States call San Diego home. This is the first instance in the history of USA Gymnastics where one club had eight qualifying gymnasts at the same time.

Emerald City Gymnastics is home to USA’s Aesthetic Group Gymnastics National Team. The following accomplished gymnasts train 30 hours per week at EMC under the direction of EMC President, Elena Baltovick and Head Coach, Svetlana Prokopova.

Megan Chu, age 13, Mesa Verde Middle School 

Kirin Kimura, age 15, Scripps Ranch High School

Lauren Kramer, age 14, Marshall Middle School

Rachel Lu, age 15, The Cambridge School

Sarah K. Mariotti, age 14, Laurel Springs School

Valentina Moya, age 12, Meadowbrook Middle School

Katie Tang, age 14 Carmel Valley Middle School

Natalia Ye-Granda, age 13, Notre Dame Academy

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Ms. Baltovick found creative solutions to keep the EMC gymnasts advancing their craft. Reflecting on the past 15 months, Ms. Baltovick said “it has been very difficult to continue training through the pandemic. As a solution to the facility closure, we continued training on Zoom and outdoors at local parks and beaches in order to maintain the gymnasts’ stamina, artistry, and athleticism that they have worked so hard to cultivate.” Ms. Baltovick is especially grateful to the ongoing support of the gymnasts’ families: “We are blessed that all of the EMC parents had full faith in us and in our program. All of the hard work from our gymnasts and coaching staff has led us to these amazing opportunities.”

The next step for these Olympic hopefuls will be to compete at the 2021 USA Gymnastics Championships, scheduled for June 24-27 in St. Louis, Missouri. The USA Gymnastics Championships is qualification for the Pan American Games, scheduled for September 2021 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Pan American Games are the most prestigious and competitive event in the entire American continent. 

In addition, two of the 4 United States gymnasts who were selected to represent the USA at the Pan American Championships on June 25-27 in Guatemala City, Guatemala are Megan Chu (ranked #1 in the USA) and Sarah K. Mariotti (ranked #3) from EMC. After earning the ranks of 1st and 3rd in the United States, Megan and Sarah have competed in Romania and Bulgaria over the course of the last month.

EMC Head Coach Svetlana Prokopova reflected on the past year, “My hardest challenge this season was to keep kids motivated when we couldn’t train in person. I am very proud of the gymnasts, and how they were able to keep focused and to work towards their future goals, which have now become a reality.” EMC Assistant Coach Dasha Baltovick shared, “I love coming to work and sharing my passion for the sport. Everyone at our gym is a team player, I have learned so much from Head Coach Svetlana. I am honored to inspire young athletes, and strive to be an example for them as a former member of the USA National Team.”

Other notable accomplishments from EMC gymnasts include:

Junior gymnast Angel Lu (age 15, The Cambridge School) achieved Level 10 and is ranked #33 in the United States. 

Senior gymnast Liza Kolesnichenko (age 15, Scripps Ranch High School) was also promoted to Level 10 and is ranked #21 in the United States. 

Senior gymnast Jessica Tijam (age 16, [incoming] Mt. Carmel High School) represents the Philippines Senior National Team.

About Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic and Aesthetic Group Gymnastics 

The mission of Emerald City Rhythmic (EMC) is to empower girls to participate in the unique, beautiful, and expressive sports of Rhythmic and Aesthetic Group Gymnastics. Founded in 2009, EMC coaches have equipped dozens of gymnasts with the athleticism, grace, and strength of character required to compete at the highest level of these sports. 

In addition to the EMC recreational programs, the Junior Olympic rhythmic gymnastics competitive program has become home to many USA Gymnastics Elite Squad Members, State, Regional, and National Champions, fourteen (14) United States National Team members in rhythmic gymnastics, and twelve (12) United States National Team members in aesthetic group gymnastics.  Our Aesthetic Group Gymnastics Junior Team is ranked 7th in the World (2019), and has competed in World Cups and the World Championships since 2018.

To learn more, visit our website at