Amidst the hectic and stressful period that is Year 12, emerging Victorian racewalker Kyle Swan has found another type of learning a welcome break as he attends the Under 19 Talent Squad at the Australian Institute of Sport this weekend.
The nation’s capital is once again welcoming Australia’s next generation of track and field talent, to learn more about sports psychology, ASADA compliance, injury prevention, nutrition and the rigours of international travel alongside training and recovery sessions as they transition from junior to senior ranks.
Swan, who made his Australian team debut at 2015 World Youth Championships in Cali (COL) for the 10,000m walk is relishing the opportunity that the camp provides.
“I’m really enjoying it in amongst all my studies,” Swan said.
“There’s a lot to learn about how to get the best out of yourself that isn’t specifically on the track and we also get to do a fair bit of training too.”
“There’s educational aspects like learning about sleep, recovery and nutrition - it’s all really useful.”
The Year 12 student at Melbourne High School is a gifted academic talent and is likely to study science or biomedicine when he graduates and says his studies are starting to ramp up with final exams approaching.
“It’s a pretty busy time for me,” Swan said.
“We’re starting to come up to the pointy end of the year now with exams which is in six weeks, so quite a bit of my free time at this camp I’ve spent studying in my room.”
“It’s going well though - I just need to find the balance between getting all my school work done and keeping up my training and fitness levels.”
Coached by 1998 Commonwealth Games representative Brent Vallance, Swan most recently donned the green and gold at the 2016 Race Walking World Cup in Rome (ITA) in May 2016, but has his sights set on the World Under 20 Championships in Tampere, Finland next year.
“I’m still not 100% sure what I’ll be doing in terms of study next year,” Swan said.
“It partly depends on what teams I might make like the possibility of making the team for the World Race Walking Cup or the World Under 20 Championships.”
Other under-19 athletes attending the four-day in-residence camp include recent IAAF World Championships representatives Riley Day (Qld), Ella Connolly (Qld) as well as 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallists Alexander Kolesnikoff (NSW), Bendere Oboya (NSW), Sean Szalek (WA), Carley Thomas (NSW), Neil Janse (Qld), Jake Doran (Qld), Ben Schmidtchen (Qld), Sebastien Moir (NSW) and Jordan Doris (NSW).
Read more about the Australian team at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas here.
The camp, held twice annually, provides an excellent opportunity for athletes and coaches to develop a network of support, focusing on transitioning junior athletes into senior ranks.
Introduced in 2007, the camp is designed to add value to individual athletes’ existing programs. Athletics Australia’s National Junior Coaches join the Under 19 athletes and their coaches at the camp as they target the 2018 World Under 20 Championships in Finland.
“The Under 19 Talent Squad is in its 11th year and the program continues to move from strength to strength,” Sara Mulkearns, Athletics Australia Junior High Performance Manager, said.
“We have worked hard to partner with the Australian Institute of Sport and other sports academies and institutes to develop a program that expands the knowledge of our developing athletes. It’s also fantastic to include the talent and experience of the personal coaches, with collaboration ensuring the best possible outcomes for athletes as they develop and seek qualification to future Australian teams.”
The Athletics Australia Under 19 Talent Squad features athletes recognised as having the potential to compete at the IAAF World Under 20 Championships before going on to become senior international athletes.
The timing of the camp ensures those athletes taking part in the camp can build on their knowledge base as competition starts to pick up for the 2017/2018 domestic summer season.
Athletics Australia’s Under 19 Talent Squad is Emerging Level of the National Athlete Support Structure, directly contributing to the Australian Institute of Sport’s Winning Edge program.
For more information on Athletics Australia’s Under 19 Talent Squad as well as their coaches please click here.