Murdoch students rising to the Challenge

June 28, 2012

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Murdoch University students are pitching in to help swimmers and tri-athletes at Challenge Stadium compete at their highest levels.

For third-year Exercise Physiology student Steve Scarfe, working with the Stadium Triathlon Club (STC) is good experience and an extension of his hobby. Between December 2011 and May 2012, Mr Scarfe participated in eight triathlons, with more planned later in the year.

“STC is one of the best clubs in Perth. When I needed practicum hours for my degree, I approached head coach Rob Suriano and told him I wanted to contribute,” he said.

“I’m doing a lot of coaching, which involves writing swimming and running programs and making sure people understand what they need to do to improve. It’s great experience.”

Dr Suriano is enthusiastic.

“Although Steve had been participating in triathlons for a number of years, his work at STC has seen him view the sport from another angle,” he said.

“He’s assisting a range of athletes, from those attempting a triathlon for the first time to those preparing for the gruelling Ironman triathlons, so he’s getting great insight.”

Fellow Exercise and Physiology student Jacqui Brooks is putting her skills to the test with a range of athletes at the Challenge Stadium gym.

“My dream is to work with athletes, but it’s a highly competitive field, so this is a good way to make contacts and get hands-on training,” she said.

Ms Brooks is mainly doing strength and conditioning with swimmers, several of whom have competed in the Olympic trials.

“I’ve been working on evaluating athletes to see if they have any weaknesses. If they do, we tailor training to their specific needs. A lot of what I’ve done is looking at ways to simulate swimming motions to improve techniques by improving posture and by isolating muscles.”

Among those who have benefited from Ms Brooks’ help is Kat Downie from the West Coast Swim Club, who is in the mix for the 2012 London Paralympics team.

“The work I’ve done with Kat is a strength program mixed with plyometric exercises in order to improve explosive power as well as the speed of muscle activation. Kat makes the most of her time in gym and is very dedicated. With any luck we’ll see her on the podium this summer.”

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