MILFORD >> Tiffany Coleman describes her 15-year old sister as graceful and artistic.
Melanie Coleman chooses a contracting view to depict her two-year older sibling.
“Powerful and strong,” Melanie says quickly.
The two look and smile at one another.
“We’ve been told if we were put together, we’d be like the best gymnast ever,” Tiffany Coleman says with a laugh. “She’ll (Melanie) do skills that I won’t do, and I’ll do skills she won’t do.”
While the two aren’t able to morph into the picture-perfect gymnast, the pair have brought their own unique traits to the mats and have been an added boost in their first year competing for the Jonathan Law gymnastics program.
“The fact we are scoring higher, that’s big,” Law head coach Pat Simon said of the Coleman’s addition to the team. “But the biggest thing is them helping their teammates. Their peer coaching is phenomenal.”
The sport of gymnastics started at a young age for the two. They began “as soon as we were potty trained” Tiffany said. Gymnastics was a way for them to stay active and fit, and soon became a lifestyle.
“We started at Cartwheels in Milford and then moved to New Era Gymnastics in Hamden, right around junior high,” Tiffany Coleman explained.
Melanie, a sophomore, said the two began advancing levels and realized they were pretty good. Both are now Level 10 gymnasts.
“It’s just fun,” Melanie Coleman said. “It’s fun doing things that other people can’t, and it’s always an accomplishment to do something you’ve been working so hard on.”
The two grew up in the club system and were given more flexibility this year to add high school gymnastics to their schedule. Tiffany, a senior, also said she wanted to branch out a little more in her final year at Law and try new activities.
A typical day will feature an hour or so at Law’s practice, then travel to Hamden and practice from 5:30 till 9 p.m. at New Era.
“Then shower, eat, wake up and start it all over again,” Tiffany Coleman said with a smile.
While it’s a hectic schedule, competing for their school has been a rewarding and welcomed experience.
“It’s great, I love being cheered for and having a team,” Tiffany Coleman said.
Added Melanie: “It’s nice having that team aspect.”
Though in just their first year on the Eagles’ roster, it was almost predestined for the two to one day compete for Simon.
Simon coached their older sister Valerie, who was an all-state gymnast and graduated in 2013. And even before that, Simon coached their mom, Susan.
Simon said he’s been able to see a lot of similar mannerisms in the generations.
“They just go with the flow, their mother was that way too,” Simon said. “Sister (Valerie) was that way too. Just that attitude of do the best you can. They are always so pleasant and so much fun to have.”
Both Melanie and Tiffany said it’s a unique and special situation for all of them to compete at Law under Simon.
“She loves it. She absolutely loves watching us,” Tiffany Coleman said of their mom.
Recently the two helped lead Law to a second place finish at the Southern Connecticut Conference Championships.
The two said they share a friendly but competitive rivalry.
“It bothered me a little bit,” Tiffany said of Melanie beating her in all-around. “But it’s good for her.”
Next up is the Class S state meet on Saturday at Pomperaug (5:30 p.m. start). The Eagles enter with the third highest average score (128.23).
“Woodstock is seeded first, so I think we’re looking at second or third,” Tiffany said. “But the goal for us is to just place.”