Second year physiotherapy student, Kathleen Sullivan, recently walked away from the annual Australian Age Diving Championships in Sydney with two silver medals. Kathleen, who competed in the 19-29 masters age group, believes her chosen course of study complements her training, particularly in the area of biomechanics.
When did you start diving?
I started when I was 11 after being selected at a summer holiday camp. I then progressed though the state and national athlete pathway into the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS), but now dive recreationally as the elite training regime was not for me.
Why do you love it?
I enjoy the pay off when I learn a new dive or get a difficult skill, but I mostly enjoy how different it is from anything else I’ve tried. I found that going to training after a long day of study makes me feel great and is a fun way to keep fit.
What does it take to be skilled enough to compete nationally?
I constantly set new goals for myself, from trying to change a small part of my technique or aiming for a personal best. I find that it is sometimes challenging to meet these goals, but they help me to prepare for nationals each year. Persistence is also key for diving. Sometimes it’s hard to get bogged down when trying a new dive, but I find if you keep at it training session after training session, and you eventually get it right, it all pays off.
What is the age range for your event in the competition?
I have just turned 19 and am competing in the 19-29 masters age group.
Do your physiotherapy studies inform your training in any way, or did your experience with diving inform your decision to study physiotherapy?
I have found that studying biomechanics has influenced my diving, in terms of my mechanics on the board and figuring out how to make my dives go higher rather than a further distance from the board. What my coach has been saying has been linking with some of the principles we have learned in class regarding center of mass, base of support and the kinetic chain.
What was it like to compete at the championships?
It was fantastic! Being in a new age group made me strive to dive at my best and I was very pleased with my performance, coming away with two silver medals. I enjoy going every year not only to dive but also to judge and attend coaching workshops.
Future diving goals?
Keep competing at the age nationals and possibly open nationals down the track, try to outdo my personal bests and learn a few new dives.
Further study goals?
As I am only one and a half years into the degree, I am not sure yet what I want to specialize in. At this stage I am most interested in neuro physiotherapy, as learning about neuroanatomical has been eye opening!