Her sporting resume is pretty damn impressive
Athletics and touch have always been my two sports since pretty much forever. I started little athletics down in Canberra when I was 6 and I did that all the way through school. I used to long jump, 100m and discus, but over time discus became my specificity just because of coaches and injuries. I've always loved touch football but it was definitely always came second to athletics, so whenever it got too much then I didn't play touch footy.
I got a scholarship to uni for athletics because I did alright at nationals - I was the under 18 national champion for discus, came second in the long jump, sixth in the 100m sprint and fourth in the heptathlon.
I took a gap year after high school, came up here for uni and moved into college. That was cool because you get to do all the college sport. I could do everything from touch footy and AFL to netball. I did as much as I could in first year with college in the intercollege cup, and then was sports director last year. That was kind of fun because I got to run it all and join in with the Inter College Sports Association (ICSA). I was secretary of that and got to help run all that as well. I got to go to unigames with the UNSW Athletics and Touch Clubs and now I'm on the executive of the athletics club as well, again as the secretary.
The touch football team is also fun. I didn't play touch for the last three or four years in high school, but took it up again when I got to uni because I thought it would be fun to have that team aspect to balance discus training which is pretty solo.
Touch has been awesome because the club has been really welcoming and everything. The year I started a whole group of new girls started, so we could form a team of people who were are all about the same age. We've done pretty well in the Sydney-wide competition as well so that's good!
When I was young, the lack of female representation professional level sport was difficult. That's probably why I stuck to athletics because you had people like Cathy Freeman and Jane Saville who were in my sport as women. That's obviously changing a lot now with the introduction of the women's AFL league and the women's Big Bash league, but there is still that lack of female sporting heroes when compared to the guys.
My big sister was the only girl in an under 10s Rugby Union team, and then started AFL when she was 11, again in an all boys team, before switching over to women's AFL at 15. These aren't traditionally 'female' sports but I guess having someone that close to me who didn't not do a sport because she was a girl meant that I've never seen being female as a barrier in the sport - I've never felt I couldn't do it because I was a girl or anything like that.
Pharmacology, Japanese and sport... doesn't exactly come to mind as a common combination!
The only time that the three aspects of my life, sport, pharmacology and Japanese, have come together was on my gap year when I was standing in front of the 1964 Olympic stadium in Tokyo. I was super proud of myself for finding my way there through Japanese signage to this stadium, and I was super stoked because it was the Olympic stadium! No one else seemed to notice it was there anymore, but when you have that Olympic knowledge in your head you're like 'yeeahh this is cool.' Just by chance I turned around and right next to the stadium was GlaxoSmithKline, which is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. The only other connection is that learning the names of drugs for pharmacology is pretty much like learning a new language anyway!
I feel like not being specific or specialised is the definition of my whole life. I mean, I couldn't choose which uni degree to do, so ended up doing two things that are extremely different. I also can't choose which sport to do, so I do multiple different ones and even do all kinds of different disciplines within the sports!
It's definitely complicated trying to study and play sport at the same time, but it's good fun. I think because I've done sport forever, I can't study all day and not do some exercise. I need to go out and run on a field or something in the afternoon to then be able to study again at night.
I also find that generally if Japanese is really hard then pharmacology and athletics will be ok, or if both of the academic things are bad then sport will be ok. It adds a nice balance to things because if one element of my life isn't going 100%, then normally one picks up nicely. It's good because you never end up super frustrated, you've always got something to work towards.
I definitely wouldn't know as many people at uni without sport. Student sport is definitely a community that you become a part of. Before I came here I didn't really see other student athletes. Down in Canberra you have the Australian Institute of Sport, so anyone who was training there was just doing athletics and that was their whole entire being. While that is really cool and I admire them for that, it's nice to see the balance and people who have other ambitions they're really interested in and can do while fitting training in around it. I always felt a bit at odds with other sporting people because I had an academic interest, or at school because they were academic and social but I had the sporting interest. So it's nice to come to uni and find people who are doing the same thing as me. It's assumed that you would do all sorts of things at university, like study, play sport and be social at the same time. It's very different from being the odd-one-out!
It takes time to develop skills. Everyone starts off totally uncoordinated and confused. Take little steps, even if it's just going to the training once one week, then twice the next week. Listen to what people are telling you and you will improve quite significantly if you just think about what you're doing. No one cares how bad you are to start with because no one notices. They only notice if you're having a good time and actually putting in the effort.