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Trinity Thomas Is Inching Closer To History

Trinity Thomas of the Florida Gators competes in the balance beam during the Division I Womens Gymnastics Championship held at Dickies Arena on April 14, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas.
C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

It's OK if you've missed Trinity Thomas's quiet march toward a new NCAA record. There are only so many hours in the day, so many articles any person can read, and college gymnastics has only recently started getting its long-deserved SportsCenter treatment. Consider this a little heads-up. You still have time, but not much, because Thomas could make history before the season is even over.

The record in question is the one for most perfect 10s in college gymnastics. The current record is 28, jointly held by Jenny Hansen, who competed for Kentucky, and Jamie Dantzscher, who was at UCLA. Thomas, at Florida, is currently sitting at 23 10s, putting her in fourth on the all-time list, and there are still many meets to go, as well as the SEC championships. Thomas has already smashed another mark on her way to this record. Last week, she became the first NCAA gymnast to pull off a fourth Gym Slam—meaning she has received a perfect 10 on all four apparatuses four times.

(Yes, they still use the perfect-10 system in college gymnastics, even though it has long been abandoned for elites. Here is an explainer if you need one.)

Here is No. 23 from last week:

Now, sure, there are people who will scoff and say that Thomas has the advantage of being allowed a fifth season due to COVID-19. But sports records are never made and broken under pristine conditions; comparisons between generations are doomed to be imperfect and imprecise for too many reasons to count. The length of sports seasons change. The training available to athletes changes. The rules constantly change. In college gymnastics, the imperfections of the perfect 10 system have been well analyzed. Also, yes, I am a Gator. In my household, this matter is considered closed.

(Side Note: And yet, how fun would such a debate be? Can you imagine a world where the local sports bar has college gymnastics on the TV—or, gasp, multiple TVs—and everyone screams with every landing and yells at every score reveal? The person to your right will not shut up about how that was totally not a perfect 10 and the person on your left insists it definitely was a 10 and that person just wishes their team was that good. And afterward everyone laughs because there's a frenetic joy in the pointlessness of a good sports debate with no right answer. One such bar does exist; I just would like there to be many more.)

Thomas doesn't need the record to establish her credibility as one of the greatest college gymnasts. Last season, she finished first on uneven bars and floor at the NCAA championships and beat Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee for the NCAA all-around title. Her Gators team came within 0.1125 of beating Oklahoma for the NCAA Championship last season, and the Gators are clearly en route to another title run this year. So let's be real: Thomas will probably smash this record soon, ideally at a home meet in Florida where the orange-and-blue crowd absolutely will lose its collective mind. She might even inch a little bit closer tonight, when the Gators take on No. 18 Arkansas. You could overthink this, but why bother? Just mark your calendar.

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