Under the guidance of Athletics Australia National Distance Coordinator Tim O’Shaughnessy and three-time Olympian Sarah Jamieson, as well as group mentors Madeleine Pape, Victoria Mitchell, Georgie Clarke, Lisa Corrigan, Lauren Shelley and Eloise Wellings, the 20 aspiring athletes took part in a series of training and education sessions aimed to enhance their understanding of the sport and further thier athletics careers.
Across four days of athletics action participants in the camp discussed injury and rehabilitation, strength and technique in the pool, sports psychology and high performance as well as undertaking a series of training and team-building exercises.
Coordinator Sarah Jamieson said the camp played an important role in the athletes’ transition to senior competition.
“The aim of the camp was to get all our talented younger distance runners together and for them to have a good time while learning from external presenters and also our older, more experienced athletes who acted as mentors in an informal environment,” Jamieson said.
“We wanted to provide the athletes with some knowledge they possibly hadn’t heard before to help them to reach the next level in their athletics career, if they could walk away from the camp with a couple of things they’d learned to help them become better then that’s the aim.
“We pinpointed girls who were too old for our junior programs but hadn’t really cracked a senior team and people who we could see as having the potential to make a Commonwealth or Olympic team in the next four years.”
Throughout the camp participants, some of whom competed in the Zatopek:10 at Melbourne Olympic Park on the eve of the camp, spent time with mentors sharing their experiences and gaining valuable advice.
“It was the mentors’ role to hang out with the athletes, live with them, cook with them and just pass on advice so they don’t make the same mistakes and they do learn from things that people have done well to enhance their careers,” Jamieson said.
“We set up a Facebook group at the end of the camp to stay in contact and support each other so if someone’s going through a tough time with injury or someone’s had a similar injury we can swap notes and help each other out or let people know when races are coming up that you might want to do and tell people about so they can come along and make it a better race.”
Participants in the camp including Tara Palm, Emily Brichacek, Jess Trengove, Bridey Delaney and Melinda Vernon, already familiar faces on the local and international athletics scene, will no doubt feature once again on the domestic and worldwide track and field calendar in 2011.
The distance community will regroup later this month for its annual pilgrimage to Falls Creek, which sees Australia’s elite and emerging distance runners converge on the alpine mountain for a week of gruelling altitude training to see in the new year.
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