Get up close and personal with Coast Sport Ambassador – Nicola McDermott
Learn more about Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist and local high jumping star, Nicola McDermott as she shares intimate insights with us on what it takes to train and perform at an elite level and what she is hoping to achieve on her amazing sporting journey.
How did you first get into high jumping?
I first got into high jumping through little athletics when I was 7 years old. At my first school carnival I realised I had a gift for sport (which I had not expected since I was not good at swimming, tennis or any other sports I had tried previously.)
How does Coast Sport support you and why did you choose Coast Sport?
Coast Sport are a fantastic help! We are working with physiotherapy to not only help me keep in good shape but to enhance performance. They have given me a screening and shown where my weaknesses are, so we are working on how to strengthen these areas through a tailored program.
I also use their other Coast Sport services including nutrition. I recently got off a 36-hour flight to Europe and using their advice and programming felt noticeably better than previous trips.
What are you currently training for?
I have just finished the Commonwealth Games campaign and now am in Europe starting my international campaign for their summer. I am over here with the purpose of jumping high and gaining experience. My next international major meet will be World Uni Games and World Championships next year.
Describe a day in the life of Nicola?
A day in my life usually consists of catching the train early in the morning to class at university, followed by a few meetings with gym staff and coaches, then travelling back to train on the Central Coast with my coach Matt Horsnell and squad. Then at home I do a stretching and physio program for recovery and continue studying before trying to get to bed at a reasonable time.
What’s your most significant achievement?
Gaining the bronze medal with a PB jump at the Commonwealth Games in front of a home crowd on the Gold Coast. There was a lot of pressure on me to perform after not performing well at my first ever senior international competition of the World Championships in 2017. I was in good shape and knew that if I executed everything right I had the potential to get a medal for Australia – and that’s what happened! It was a turning point I believe in my career because I know now how to perform under immense pressure.
What’s your ultimate sporting goal?
My ultimate goal is to get Australia to the next level for high jump. No woman has ever jumped over 2m which is a goal of mine. I believe consistent jumps over 2m will gain Olympic and World Championship medals. I am in it for the long haul and I believe jumping this high will pave the way for more women in the future to jump over 2m from Australia.
How do you keep motivated and stay focused?
I know why I do it. I love this sport, it not only is challenging but so rewarding. We keep it fun at training, my best friends are in the sport and my community supports me so much in going after my goals. I love the platform it gives me to show how true sportsmanship changes the sporting world and allows me to be a role model for the next generation which I am honoured to have.
Do you have any sporting heroes or people you look up to and why?
One of my sporting heroes is my friend Eloise Wellings. She is a 5000m and 10,000m Olympic runner. She missed out on 3 Olympic Games after qualifying due to injury yet persevered to make 2 more (London and Rio). She speaks openly about her experiences in the sport and is a great role model for perseverance and character to younger athletes. She also supports a charity ‘Love Mercy’ where they help communities in Uganda with medical facilities and seeds to help get women and families out of poverty – and uses her running to help spread the cause of the charity. She is so much more than just an athlete and it encourages me to be more than just a high jumper too.
What advice can you give to other up and coming athletes?
Good things take time. I have been with my current coach Matt Horsnell for over 10 years. And we have found that every year I have improved. Success is a long-term relationship – but when you learn to enjoy the journey of getting there rather than the destination, life becomes fun and striving towards it isn’t a struggle but part of a healthy lifestyle. Remaining humble and loving to the people around you and acknowledging the people who helped you along the way is critical to remain in the sport for a long time.
What do you usually eat prior to a competition?
Before a competition I like to feel light. So, on the day I have a really big breakfast which is usually yoghurt, nuts and fruit, and then throughout the day I will have crackers and avocado, maybe a muesli bar or two depending on the time of competition.
What’s your favourite quote?
We are what we believe we are – C. S Lewis
Watch this space for updates on Nicola and her journey here.
Could you be the next Coast Sport ambassador?
Are you a local athlete who is performing well and is looking for a sports provider to help take you to the next level to achieve your sporting goals? Contact Coast Sport to find out more, call (02) 4356 2588 or email [email protected]