Tell us about yourself, Steph-bassador:
I trained for months through Melbourne winter for my first ever triathlon at the age of 13, only to have it cancelled just weeks out from the event! I entered the local kids try-athlon but never let the disappointment of my first cancelled triathlon leave me and I always had a desire to give the sport a go again one day.
I have lived and travelled throughout Asia, as well as some of the Pacific and Africa for various work, volunteer and study opportunities, and also spent two years working in the Northern Territory. When I moved back to Melbourne, I bought a road bike with the thought of maybe one day entering a triathlon and looked for a masters swimming club to join. With no luck, I started swimming on my own until I stumbled upon the TA sandwich boards at MSAC on a Monday night, about 15 months ago. I joined in for a one-week trial and could not believe how friendly and welcoming everyone was!
When I’m not swimming, riding or running, I work in sport for development, previously with Netball Australia and currently for the International Cricket Council/Cricket Australia. The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade funds and works with different sports and nations across the Pacific and Asia, utilising sport as a tool for community development. I’m very passionate about the power of sport to influence communities and individuals, particularly for women, whether it’s the prevention of non-communicable diseases in young women in Tonga, empowering school girls in Nepal to be leaders, or turning around the health and well-being of someone in suburban Melbourne. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, sport has the power to change lives!
I’ve learnt so much in the short time with TA. Both the sport and TA have far exceeded any of the few expectations I had. I’ve achieved goals I’d never even dreamt of and being chosen as an ambassador for the 2017/2018 is another incredible moment. It is a privilege and I am very excited for the year ahead, and of course lots more learning! It is an honour to be a part of the TA family and I am constantly inspired by every single athlete (yes, you!) and coach. There’s a spot for everyone, regardless of background, ability or goals – whether it’s to run a little further, ride a little faster, swim a little more at ease or to get on a podium – everyone is supported in achieving their goals, no matter how big or small you may perceive it to be.
If I could pass on any of my learnings so far…
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. TA have an amazing group of coaches, athletes, mentors and other support, like the team at Lakeside Sports Medicine, who are only too willing to help. Our sport is a crazy one at times (and don’t our family and friends like to tell us about it!!), but something I’ve learnt recently is the value of hearing someone else say ‘that’s completely normal’ or ‘that happens to me too’. There is huge value in knowing that you’re not alone in what you are experiencing and that’s one of the biggest benefits of being part of the TA community. So, ask away and do whatever you need to do to understand what you are doing and why. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.
- Following on from asking…is listening! Listen to your coaches, mentor, training buddies and body. Recover like a champion and sleep, it’s a challenge for a lot of people but recovery is just as important (if not more so!) as your training, and never underestimate the power of sleep. Those that know me know that in an ideal world, I’d be in bed at 9pm every night! That’s obviously not always possible, and not everyone’s cup of tea, but figure out what works best for you and maintain it.
- Have balance. Don’t get caught up in doing what everyone else is doing or buying what everyone else is buying. Do what you need to do to achieve your goals and stay true to that. It’s very easy to get caught up in the wave and excitement of triathlon but it is possible to achieve your goals with a few training sessions a week, and a trisuit, bike, and pair of runners!
- Consistency is key. All you have to do is get yourself to training, the rest will happen thanks to our amazing coaches and training buddies. Do whatever you need to do to get out the door and leave it to TA to worry about the rest!
Thank you to everyone at TA for your support and encouragement, I look forward to cheering, training and racing with you over the next year and getting to know you all better. Have fun, enjoy yourself, and don’t lose sight of the reason you started our great sport in the first place.