This week you can read all about Emily Dunk, a young girl we have been coaching for about 12 months now. We have watched her not only develop her skills on the bike, but she has also matured a lot and is learning how to communicate and train with athletes who are much older than her. Her monthly training program is often a challenge to write as she enjoys such a range of sporting activities. As a young athlete, we certainly encourage her to keeping doing all the sports she enjoys and not to specialise just yet.
So you are quite an athlete girl, Emily and seem to enjoy doing a lot of different sports each week. What sports have you been doing over the past 12 months?
I did a few different sports last year including Netball (district and captain of the school rep team – we came second overall), Cross Country and Athletics (200M and 800M), Karate, Swimming as well as Triathlon. Oh, and cycling! I only rode a Road Bike for the first time ever last January just before my first Triathlon. Dad was going to make me do a triathlon on my old mountain bike but it was too small!
In Karate, which belt do you currently have? When do you go for your next belt?
I’m on my Blue belt and hope to get my Purple Belt by the end of the year, maybe my Brown belt if I work hard enough.
Not only do you learn karate moves but I understand you have to do lots of core exercises including push ups. How many push ups would you sometimes have to do in a session?
It depends really. Sometimes its only 20 but often its 50 and also some sit ups. Karate is all about discipline, so my sensei teaches us to learn about how our bodies feel under pressure and sit ups are intense!
And swimming. You swim each week either in the open water or pool – how far do you normally swim in each session?
It all depends on what the training is. In the pool it is normally between 2.5 to 3.5km with a combination of different strokes. I’ve just changed swimming coaches to John Van Wisse. He’s awesome – he gets me doing about 3km in the bay in a session which is challenging but I’ve just started using a wetsuit in the ocean which helps a bit.
What is your favourite swim stroke?
Probably breast stoke. I represented my school at District swimming in Breast-stoke (and Butterfly!). I’m pretty quick at Freestyle too which is good because I have to do this in Triathlons.
During the winter you usually play netball – what position do you like to play the most?
I love playing Goal Keeper and Goal Defence. I’m a really good shot at goal shooter too but it so much fun as a defender and stopping the other team from scoring!
What else is on my list – ah yes, cross country running – I understand you never train for running but just turn up and do very well. In fact, I remember you telling me you don’t really like running as it makes you so sore the next day. How successful were you in the Cross Country running last year?
I did ok. I came 6th at School Zone level and missed the State Final by 2 spots. I came 2nd at school and districts to get to Zones. I like running but its not my favourite sport!
Next on my list is cycling. We have been coaching you on the road and track for nearly 12 months now.
What do you enjoy about our training sessions?
Um. Enjoy? I’ve made some good friends which is great, but the best part of training is definitely the poached eggs afterwards. Seriously though I really love training with other kids who are training for competition and are doing it because they want to get better and do better in racing. You guys are a huge help also and keep me focused and make sure its stays fun also, kind of!
Is road or track your favourite, or you like them both?
I love them both. And I love Triathlons too. I can’t pick but thats ok I think.
Can you tell me 5 skills or things you have learnt how to do on your road bike since we’ve been coaching you?
Hopping out of my seat for climbing or sprinting
Being able drink and eat when I’m riding
Taking my hands off the handle bars and balance enough to ride no hands
Riding my rollers
And how about on the track? What are some new things we have taught you as part of the indoor velodrome training?
Definitely beginning able to get to the top of the banking!
Hopping out of my seat on the velodrome, like at the start of a Flying 200. I know I said that for my road bike but its so different doing it coming down off the corner banking.
And all the track lingo and words.
I only started riding last year so everything is still new.
On the weekend, I understand that you competed in a triathlon (what is the name of the series?).
Congratulations on coming 5th and without doing any run training! How many triathlons have you competed in this season?
I’ve been racing in both the XOSize and the Gatorade series. I’ve done three this season and six in total. I’ll probably do another 3 or 4 before the end of the season.
Which event was your best result?
Last year I came first in a couple, but they where not competitive ones. My best result this year is 4th in two of them (and fastest rider in both of them). Like cycling, I’m a first year in my age group and there have been 20 to 30 girls in the races, so its pretty competitive. I’m probably the only girl racing locked out on a restricted gear. At Nationals they restrict the gears like in cycling to 6 meters but all the other top girls have been using their big gears in the selection races so they’ll find it tough changing now.
Due to your great results, I understand you have now been selected to join the State team and represent Victoria in the Australian Triathlon Championships. Well done Emily. Whereabouts are the Australian Triathlon Championships going to be held?
The series is an aggregate one like the Junior Tours. They take the top six in each group and I came 5th over all as I missed a race when I did the Great Victorian Bike Ride. They haven’t told me properly yet but they got me to try on the State uniforms and everything after the race last week. Nationals are in Queensland at the end of March so that’s pretty exciting.
We know you are just about to start Year 7. That must be exciting to be starting high school. What school will you be attending?
I’m going to Mentone Girls Grammar school. I’m really excited. They do lots of different sports and have their own swimming pool. They are trying to set up a Triathlon and cycling team and last year they started a track cycling program with CSV, so I hope they do that again!
Finally, what are your plans for the next 12 months?
I’m not sure really. I really want to enjoy school and start learning French and make new friends. I’m looking forward to Track states and the Junior Tours, as well as going to Queensland.
Well, thanks for answering our questions today Emily. And also, congratulations on being promoted up to D grade yesterday at Glenvale, after your consistent results since Christmas.