Flinders University’s SHAPE Research Centre will drive a new culture of excellence in South Australian surf life saving through a newly launched Surf Sports High Performance Training Academy.
SHAPE Centre Director Professor Murray Drummond was at the official launch on Sunday, where SA’s top athletes heard that the Academy was intended to keep them in the state while bringing them up to world class standard.
The Academy, a partnership between Surf Life Saving SA, Flinders University and the SA Aquatic Leisure Centre, will be separated into three tiers – tier one for elite athletes, tier two for aspiring athletes and tier three for juniors.
All athletes will have to apply through Surf Life Saving, ensuring it focuses on the best and most talented surf life savers in South Australia.
As well as improving the general standard, the Academy is in response to the urgent need to prepare SA’s athletes for the Surf Life Saving World Championships in Adelaide in 2019.
Surf sports manager Mike Schetter told ABC TV news, who covered the event on Sunday, that South Australia’s flat metropolitan waters did not provide the best training ground for professionals.
He said that as a result, many were moving interstate, searching for tougher competition at the big surf beaches of Queensland and New South Wales.
“We’ve got incredibly committed and dedicated athletes,” he told the ABC. “But we just haven’t, in the past, had the resources to support that or to keep them here.”
He said the new academy would help give South Australian competitors the tools to excel and reach “high performance” levels.
“[Flinders University] will provide a full testing regime for all of our athletes [and] they’ll then provide full nutrition and hydration advice for every athlete,” he said.
“They’ll provide a full sport psychology service plus a sport psychology session for every one of our athletes.”
Surf Life Saving SA chief executive Clare Harris told the ABC that the testing and a new three-level training program would help boost the state’s results leading up to the 2018 World Championships in Adelaide.
“I don’t think we’re at the same standard as what’s in Queensland and New South Wales,” she said. “However, we’re going to do everything we can to get our athletes to that standard so they can come home with some gold medals.”
Professor Drummond said Flinders’ SHAPE Research Centre’s participation meant Academy participants would have access to some of the most advance sports training and monitoring equipment in Australia.
“The new centre will link Surf Life Saving SA with SHAPE’s extensive knowledge, highly qualified staff with some of the best training expertise available,” he said.
“Flinders’ participation, which includes assistance from our Faculty of Education, Humanities and Law, our Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and the University’s Flinders One Fitness, will ensure a centre of excellence to rival anything in Australia.
“With what’s on offer, our surf life savers will have every opportunity to lift their game to match the best athletes out there.”