Wilsonville senior signs with University of Iowa gymnastics
At 3 years old, Zac Tiderman went to the doctor for his sixth set of stitches.
"He was very active and falling off of everything," recalled Tiderman's mom, Tracy.
To teach him how to fall, the pediatrician recommended putting Tiderman in karate or gymnastics.
The Tidermans chose the correct sport as Zac, now a senior at Wilsonville High School, recently signed a national letter of intent to compete in gymnastics at the University of Iowa.
"I've always known what I wanted to do," said Tiderman, who has spent at least four days a week in the gym since he was 4 years old, starting at Westside Gymnastics in Tigard before moving to OMEGA in Beaverton eight years ago. He never tried any other sport.
"There's a lot of repetition," Tiderman said. "Every day you'll come in and do them until you do them perfect so you can do them under any kind of pressure.
Tiderman chose Iowa after also going on visits this fall to Ohio State and Penn State. Nebraska was interested in Tiderman as well.
"Iowa was just the best fit for me," Tiderman said. "I know their team more personally. I like their coaching style there, and it was more of a family atmosphere. It felt like I fit in there more."
Peyton Hobson, a former teammate of Tiderman's at OMEGA, is a sophomore on Iowa's men's gymnastics team. James Friedman, a current OMEGA teammate, also has signed with Iowa.
Two years ago, Tiderman, Hobson and Friedman placed fourth out of 50 teams at the 2018 Junior Olympic National Championships in Oklahoma City.
Tiderman has competed in the last six junior nationals, every year since he was 11.
He also has participated in the past two U.S. Championships, which features the top 20 boys in the nation. Last August in Kansas City, Missouri, Tiderman won a bronze medal in vault.
"It's (U.S. Championships) the most elite meet you can go to," Tiderman said. "Winning a medal there was pretty big."
Tiderman competes in six events — vault, floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars and horizontal bars.
Tiderman has wanted to do gymnastics in college since he was little and started attending camps at schools like Michigan and Oklahoma when he was 11. The summer before his junior year of high school, Tiderman went to Iowa for the first time.
Tiderman watched Spencer Goodell, another OMEGA teammate, sign with Oklahoma, where he is now a sophomore.
"It was more motivation to get to where they were," Tiderman said, referring to Goodell and Hobson. "It means a lot. I've been doing this all my life and it's good to finally see something accomplished."
Tiderman has overcome a number of injuries over the past couple of years, tearing the supraspinatus in his shoulder, fracturing the L5 vertebrae in his spine, and breaking his foot.
"Two years ago, I had really bad wrist problems, Tiderman added. "My bone was deteriorating from all the movement so I had to take six months off for that. You're always in pain with gymnastics and you work through it. You have to decide whether to take time off or work through the pain. It's really hard (to take time off) because you see everyone progressing. I ice every day. I do a lot of physical therapy and rehab. You have to figure out the right balance to keep yourself healthy. I recently injured my back and that was the biggest one because there's always pain."
He has added weight training, and after seeing a nutritionist, Tiderman discovered he was not eating enough to fuel four-hour practices every day. He went from eating 2,500 calories a day to 4,000.
"It's hard to reach that goal," Tiderman said. "It's a lot of food. It's hard to find time to eat, too. It's a pretty busy schedule. I don't feel heavy when I eat that much though. It goes away (burns) pretty quick."
Tiderman has traveled all over the country for gymnastics. His next meet is this weekend — the Windy City Invitational in Chicago. He also has worked at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and even trained in Hungary last summer.
"Committing to Iowa, everything is worth it now," Tiderman said.
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