‘There were mats floating:’ Flash flood causes major damage to Watertown’s Rock River Gymnastics Center

Rock River Gymnastics Center

WATERTOWN -- After major flash flooding on Friday, Aug. 17 cleanup efforts are underway in parts of southeast Wisconsin.  At the Rock River Gymnastics Center, one coach is dealing with a big, costly mess.

As she was getting ready for her busiest season, it wasn't the floor routine Lori Holland had in mind.

"Walking in, I was up to water to my knees," said Holland.

The owner of Rock River Gymnastics Center -- located near Wakoka and Hart Streets -- is now flooded with the job ahead.

Lori Holland

"This entire area was covered in water," Holland said.

"There were mats floating and it was just a matter of where do we even start," said Jennifer Whitt, Lori's sister.

Holland and her family are now mopping up the mess caused by Friday's downpour.

"Squeegeeing water to the closest door we could find," said Whitt.

The process, Holland says, is not easy.

"It's a cat and mouse game because you move it and you start to spread it out but then it settles," Holland said.

The water is settling into the equipment needed to run the gym.

"All the mats are foam inside. Most likely it will all be... unusable," said Holland.

Holland says they'll be costly to replace.

"I could estimate $20-30,000 in just mats, easily -- probably more," Holland said.

With every puddle Holland pushes away, it's her gymnasts she's thinking about.

"They would be devastated to walk in here right now," said Holland.

"It's very sad because this is a place a lot of kids come to and enjoy," Whitt said.

In the end, this is only a small deduction from the overall score. Holland is confident she'll stick the landing.

"We'll get through it," Holland said. "I'm always telling my girls, my gymnasts to be strong. I have to be a teacher and I have to handle it the way I would want them to handle a situation. So that's what you do."