6 November 2020
Swimming has not been quite as compromised as some other sports in these times of restrictions (only a 6-week break) and this has allowed Izzy Vincent (Yr 9) and Emily White (Yr 11) to continue performing at an elite level.
Emily has been swimming competitively since she was 9 years old. She first represented Australia as a 14 year old when she travelled to Papua New Guinea for the Oceania Championships in 2018. Izzy is newer to the sport and began her involvement in swimming at the end of 2017.
We took the opportunity to ask Izzy and Emily to reflect on their careers and tell us what it takes to be involved in sport at the highest level.
What is your favourite memory of your career so far?
Izzy: Attending the Swimming Australia Para Development Squad camp and competing in the World Para series meet in Melbourne at the start of this year. The camp and meet gave me an incredible opportunity to grow as a swimmer and a person. I had the chance to have coaches from all over Australia look at my technique and help me improve, as well as meet the best swimmers from around the country and the world. It’s been great to keep in touch and we look forward to catching up again at other national meets. I had such an amazing time; it was quite surreal to be eating dinner with some of my biggest inspirations and to have connected so closely with them.
Emily: My favourite memory of my swimming career so far would have to be my first Junior Australian team, which I was chosen for when I was 14 years old. I travelled to Papua New Guinea for the Oceania Championships in 2018 where I competed in seven individual events and three relays. My team got along very well and we bonded very fast over the 2 weeks that I was there.
You have been involved in swimming for a long time and you must have had help in dealing with the pressure. Who is in your support group and how important have they been in your success?
Izzy: Swimming is a sport that requires a lot of training and of course early mornings. My family motivate and support me for the training leading up to meets. They make sure that I have loads of food and everything I need, and they are the taxi service. Of course, your coach is really important. I am so lucky to have such an amazing support team of not only my awesome family but a great group of friends, both in and out of school, who often come to my races. At my first Age National meet in Sydney my friend Mia Parkin surprised me before my race by popping out from behind a mannequin in a speedo shop. Having my support crew watch my races, bring along signs and use their loud voices relieves so much stress and replaces it with laughs and good adrenaline. I really appreciate the kindness and encouragement that I receive.
Emily: From a young age, my family played a key role in supporting my swimming career, as they have always found it most important that I am constantly enjoying the sport. My coach, as well as my teammates and friends from school, have always supported my career, ensuring that I get the best out of myself. Pembroke and all my teachers have always been supportive in my schoolwork and in making sure that I am given plenty of time to complete work on time and to a good standard.
What advice do you have for others who might want to be involved in sport at an elite level?
Izzy: Being the best you can be in a sport is not just about how much you train but your attitude, determination, overall mindset and how much you’re willing to put in. The results should come if you can get that right. Having a support team is 100% necessary, as is having good relationships with those in your sport who you may be in a team with, sit next to in marshalling, or room with on a camp. Finding your ideal pre-race or game process is also helpful to make you feel more ready, energised and confident, rather than feeling absolutely sick.
Emily: Sport at an elite level requires a lot of communication and time management. The people around you always want the best out of you, so it is important to make sure that your support group know your progress and how you are tracking. Elite sport is not all sunshine and rainbows 24/7 but, overall, it gets the best out of me both athletically and academically.
Emily and Izzy’s list of achievements is immense and far too long to print here. To give you just a hint of their level of success though, at the recent SA Short Course Championships Izzy won nine gold medals and one silver, and Emily won ten gold medals, one silver and two bronze.
Izzy is an inaugural participant in Pembroke’s Athlete Development Program, a new elective for Year 9 and 10 students focussing on all aspects of athlete development. To find out more, visit: www.pembroke.sa.edu.au/athlete-development-program.
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