Phoebe Wardlaw dazzles at the Malaysian Dance Championships

Phoebe Wardlaw (Right) and partner Clayton. Photo: feather finish.
I often wonder what it’s like to not have two left feet when on the dance floor… Sadly it’s a reality that I have come to accept.

Not so for Monash Psychology student Phoebe Wardlaw, who is one of Australia’s finest ballroom dancers.

Phoebe started her ballroom journey at age 10, having previous taken ballet and jazz classes.

“I always wanted to dance ever since I can remember. I was first introduced to ballroom dancing by my grandmother who use to dance herself and I loved it from the moment I started,” said Phoebe.

“When I first started, I couldn’t stop dancing or practicing what I had learnt no matter where I was.”

“I remember I used to practice in the middle of the class at primary school without a care in the world, I loved it so much.”

In the following years, Phoebe entered in her first competitions as her talent as a dancer became apparent.
Phoebe (Right) and Clayton compete.
Photo: Phoebe Wardlaw.

At age 14 she registered with her first partner and started competing competitively in the youth C- grade events.

After working up the age group ranks, Phoebe entered the highest level of dancing, A grade, with her current partner, Clayton, in 2013.

The pair would go on to dance nationally and internationally.

“Competitive ballroom dancing takes a lot of dedication, time and passion to reach your goals."

“It is a very technical style of dance and involves a high level of stamina and fitness.”

“We train on average five times a week for lengthy hours and compete about every month throughout the year, leading up to the biggest competition of the year in December- the Australian Dancesport Championships.”

All her dedication and hard work led to Phoebe competing at the recent Malaysian Dance Championships.

The event took place at the One World Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, in a grand ballroom.

Phoebe and her partner competed in the Adult Amateur Standard event, which included couples from around the world, with some ranked in the top 30 in the world.

The pair set their sights on making the finals, but unfortunately finished 7th, with the top 6 progressing to the finals.

“We were really happy with this result.”
Photo: Phoebe Wardlaw.

“More importantly we felt that we had improved from our last competition and that the hard work and training was paying off.”

“We were really happy with how we went and feel motivated for nationals in December, back in Melbourne.”

This, however, is just the beginning of Phoebe’s career and she plans to continue developing as a dancer.

What does the future look like for Phoebe? Well, she hopes to keep travelling and developing.

“I would love to travel more with my dancing, I know there is so much more development to be done and so much more experience to gain, which makes the future so exciting.”

“My goal is to go overseas and learn off world class coaches in Europe, with the ultimate goal being to compete at the Blackpool Championships, the most prestigious ballroom dancing championship held in England.”

With the National Ballroom dancing Championship fast approaching in December, Monash University wishes Phoebe and her partner all the best, as they take on Australia’s finest! #monashpride

Written: James Oana and Joseph Arthur
Media Coordinators

Continuing his family's skating tradition - Skyler Kah's Voice

Skyler (third from the right) with his Australian team-mates. Photo: Skyler Kah.

How did you get into skating?

Well I started skating when I was about 6 year old but began to take it a bit more seriously when I got into highschool. Dad went to the Olympics three times for skating, Mum represented Australia a couple of times and skating is how my parents met. Currently, our whole family (Mum, Dad and my younger brother Josh) train together at least two times a week and dad is still the third fastest in our club after my brother and I. It's really a sport that is a permanent part of our family.

How was the trip to Canada and the USA?

So the plan was to get to Canada two weeks before World Cup 1 and get used to the ice. Believe it or not, there is quite a lot of science that goes into what makes the fastest and grippiest ice to skate on. Temperature, impurities of the water, how the ice is resurfaced by the zamboni all contribute to these factors. Upon arriving at Melbourne airport we didn't realise Canada needs an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) just like the US does. Our USA ETA was all fine and dandy but we just hadn't applied for one to Canada. So in the rush of things we quickly filled out the online application and accidentally hit a wrong button somewhere. We missed our flights because of this and it took a week of ringing around to embassies and consulates across time zones to sort it out. Luckily we still had time to get there for the competition so we hopped on the plane a week later. Only to sit on the plane for three hours while a gear warning light was flashing in the cockpit and our flight was cancelled. So for the second time being sent home disappointedly, we weren't sure if we were ever going to make it. The third time visiting the airport meant we actually got through to Canada. Woo!

We stayed 15 minutes away from the ice rink with a friend called Rob who trains with us in Melbourne and lives between Australia and Canada. He also bared the title of Official for the Australian team and helped film some of the races.

The World Cup runs over Friday, Saturday and Sunday and we had training every day of the week coming up to it. We got to train with some of the fastest people in the world and because Australia had only three athletes this competition, we were put in relays with teams from Canada, USA, Japan and the French.

Skyler (left) with his brother and father. Photo: Skyler Kah.

How is a speed-skating competition run? And how did the World Cup go? 

At each WC, there are 4 distances you can skate which include a double distance. For Calgary the distances were 500m x2, 1000m and 1500m. In Salt Lake City, the distances were 500m, 1000m x2 and 1500m. Each skater can pick 2 distances to skate. On the Friday you skate both distances and depending on how you go in your race you will be placed into repechage races in the mornings of the weekend for overall world ranking or into the heats with a chance for gold.

In Calgary and Salt Lake I skated 500m and 1000m.

Calgary ice at the Olympic oval in the University of Calgary is so good. My fastest lap time in Melbourne was about a 9.0 second lap and in Calgary I could do 8.5 second laps. This leap in speed changes quite a lot of things. With more lean in the corners my boot was beginning to touch the ice and cause the blade to lift off and lose grip. In my first 500m seating race I fell on only the third corner because of this and so I decided to move the offset of my blade over on my boot to accommodate for this gain in speed. It was still not enough of a change and so in my second 500m race on Saturday, I stacked it on the 4th corner. In the 1000m races I came last on the Friday race and 4th on Sunday however I came out with a personal best of 1 min 27 sec which also lifted me from partial qualification of the Australian Team to full qualification and basically means that I will be getting complete funding to World Cups 5 and 6 in January.

With two falls out of four races, I had new goals of staying upright next weekend. On Tuesday we flew to Salt Lake City, Utah for WC 2. We had training on Wednesday and I was feeling confident in my feet. On Wednesday night we went out to dinner and tried these ‘cheesesteaks’ which appeared very American. It included shaved steak in bread with some onions. That's it. I'm not sure how they prepared it but I was throwing up all night and all day until about 5pm Thursday night and I had races on Friday morning. Still not having eaten anything apart from sipping on some powerade, I entered my two races on Friday feeling very dizzy. I still wasn't feeling like any food until after my 1000m race on Saturday which was actually a good race, even though I still came last. I'd lost about 4 kg over the 3 days but was prepared to give my last race, 500m on Sunday, my best effort. And I did. With shaky knees and a couple of slips I smashed out a time of 42.434 seconds. To put this in perspective, the world record was made that weekend at a time of 39.505 sec and my previous fastest time was a 44.005 sec 500m. I was satisfied with that.

Photo: Skyler Kah.

Hopes for the future?

Coming away from these World Cups, it has made me realise how much more training I need to do to be competitive and get through some of the heats. My next goal is to get to that stage where my overall ranking is among the middle of athletes, instead of finishing around the bottom of the pack.

In the long term, perhaps the 2022 or 2026 winter Olympics are in sight but I really have to figure out how I'm going to organise my training around my studies of Medicine. This year I have been very busy - skating 4 times a week, training with Monash Cheerleading three times a week, enjoying some gymnastics one day a week, working two days a week and studying during my transit to all these activities. It's made me continually tired but it's also very rewarding.

Keep up the good work Skyler, Monash is right behind you as you juggle your studies and pursuits as an elite athlete #monashpride

2018 Chancellor's Cup Golf Day Wrap-Up

A group photo of all participants at the Chancellor's Cup Golf Day. Photo: Team Monash.

An overcast day would not stop a SELL OUT 92 participants gracing Sandhurst Golf Club for the annual Chancellor’s Cup Golf Day.

Raising money for the Cure Bain Cancer Foundation, Elite Student Performers Scheme and Monash clubs, the generosity of all involved was unparalleled.

We raised $700 for the Cure Bain Cancer Foundation alone, as we continue to support Alysha, a former student athlete, who was diagnosed with Brain Cancer.

Reflecting on the day Team Monash Director said.

“For its 21st anniversary the 2018 Chancellors Cup Golf Day was blessed with good weather, great supporters and some very enthusiastic golfers which culminated in a spectacular experience for all, both on and off the course.”

“In addition to raising some much needed funds for sports clubs, University programs and nominated charities, the day also reinforced the great community spirit that pervades whenever Monash University people get together for an occasion such as this one.”

“A heartfelt thanks to all who made this day such a success.”

The day was capped off by an impressive win by team ‘Seek’, who won by 3 strokes.

Congratulations to the members of the winning team - Allan Sweeney, Charles Parnham, Jonathan Nelson, Shane Logan. 

The 2018 Chancellor's Cup Golf Day Winners. Photo: Team Monash.

The winners of the challenges throughout the day:

Nearest to Pin (hole 6) - Dale Evans

Nearest to pin (hole 11) - Chris Ingleton

Nearest to Pin 2nd shot (hole 13) - Cam Gozling

Longest drive (hole 18) - Brian Man

Straightest Drive (hole 12) - Brad Jury

Putting Green – Closest (or in) - Michael Hunt

A big THANK YOU must go to all our sponsors and supporters, without them the day would not have been possible!

Thank You to –


-Monash Electrical


-Mattresses Direct to Public



-Monash Sport

-Monash Alumni

-Monash Bookshop

-Monash Wellbeing and Sustainability

-Monash Respectful Communities

-Sandhurst Golf Club

Jack Lloyd and Tom Trotman compete at the Sailing Global Teams Racing Challenge

Tom and Jack with the Australian Sailing team. Photo: Jack Lloyd.

Monash University had not one but two students compete at the recent Sailing Global Teams Racing Challenge in New York.

With teams from all over the world, our boys Jack Lloyd and Tom Trotman represented Australia at the inaugural event.

Both Jack and Tom had recently competed at the UniSport National Championships before heading to New Port, New York.

Looking to take their good form from Nationals, where they won a silver medal, Jack and Tom had to get used to the different conditions and rules.

“The format of racing was quite different to any other form of sailing I've done before,” said Jack.

The regatta paired countries against each other with each country having two boats; the team with whose boat comes in last place loses the match-up.

Jack said that the practice day on the Thursday, which was the day before the competition started, was crucial to their chances during the competition.

They used the day to get used to a boat that they had never sailed in before, in addition to getting used to the waters.

With competition starting in windy conditions on the Friday, Jack, Tom and their crew quickly adjusted to the foreign conditions and worked out the strengths of the other teams.

Photo: Jack Lloyd.

Jack highlighted the local New York team and the Brits were the teams to beat.

The Australian team started slowly but as the weekend continued, they found some form and finished the last day strong.

The Australian team finished 9th overall and qualified for next year’s event in Cowes, England.

“We came away from the regatta learning a lot about this new style of racing and knowing what we need to do to improve on our first experience in this new format.”

“From here, I have a very busy schedule with fleet racing traveling to NSW, TAS and NZL in the coming months for various regattas and possibly Miami early next year.”

“In addition, we will begin preparation for next year’s Global Teams Racing Challenge, but before any of this, I have to get through my exams first!”

“Thanks to Monash University for all their support in the previous few weeks, none of this would have been possible without the support of the Elite Student Performer Scheme. I look forward to representing the University for some years to come.”

Awesome stuff Jack and Tom! #MonashPride

Written by: James Oana
Media Coordinator

Yii Ying Tan selected to compete at the Kingsburg International Piano Competition

Monash University Music and Commerce Student Yii Ying Tan has been selected to compete in the prestigious Kingsburg International Piano Competition held in Yantai, China on 6th to 8th November.

Playing in front a world-class jury, Yii Ying will compete in both the young artist category and the open category. She will be the only competitor to do so.

Yii Ying will perform Arno Babajanian’s 'Poem for Piano' in the young artist category, as well as a 30 minute program in the open category, which will consist of Mozart, Chopin, Berg, Prokofiev and a commissioned piece by Ian Goh.

The process of selection required applicants to either attend a live audition in a city around Asia or upload YouTube videos.

Yii Ying said that she was surprised upon learning of her selection in the competition.

She joked that there were a lot of conflicting emotions running through her mind, as she was having a bad day up until she received the good news.

“I literally just walked out of my piano lesson when I read the email and I wasn’t sure whether I should go back and ring my teacher’s doorbell,” said Yii Ying.

“So, I just stood there for a few minutes.”

Yii Ying competing at the East Coast International Competition. 
Lincoln Centre, NYC. 2017. Photo: Yii Ying Tan.

Although it was a relatively modest reaction, there is no doubt Yii Ying should be very proud.

Only a select few were chosen to compete, with the winner of the Open category receiving a scholarship or a weeklong masterclass with the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

With the lure of an opportunity of a lifetime, Yii Ying has been working hard for months.

“Usually, I try to practice at least 3-4 hours a day, but when you enjoy it, it doesn’t feel that long.”

Yii Ying is hoping that her efforts will help her get into the Royal College of Music in England – the ultimate goal.

Interestingly, she did not intend on studying music at university, rather she planned on going down a completely different path.

Intent on studying commerce and specialising in accounting, Yii Ying changed her mind last minute to include music and commerce in a double degree, realising that music made her happy.

Something six-year-old Yii Ying would not agree with.
Yii Ying competing at the East Coast International
Competition. Lincoln Centre, NYC. 2017.
Photo: Yii Ying Tan.

After beginning piano lessons as a child, Yii Ying recited that she disliked piano because the teachers just made her play the c note over and over again in the first couple lessons.

“I remember thinking: ‘oh no, piano is so boring.’”

Thankfully, Yii Ying changed her tune and is using her talent on the international stage.

When asked about her expectations for the competition Yii Ying said:

“I just hope that I play well and everything goes smooth.

“I’m also preparing for a recital which is coming up in Malaysia next January, which is 50 minutes long.”

We are sure that you’ll do great Yii Ying.

Monash University is right behind you! #monashpride

Written by: James Oana
Media Coordinator

Jack Cai: National Rubik's Cube Champion

Okay, I confess. I have never actually finished the Rubik’s cube that has been sitting in my room since I was five.

I do take solace in that fact that I have completed one side.

But, to think that Monash student Jack Cai (Bachelor of Music) can solve one in under 20 seconds, while blindfolded, makes me question my intellect… or lack thereof.

Jack has broken multiple records on his way to becoming the National Champion.

At the recent 2018 Australian National Championships Jack won:

The blindfolded 3x3 Rubik's cube, with a time of 19.97 seconds.


The multiple cube blindfolded event, requires a competitor to memorise a certain number of cubes, before solving them, all while blindfolded. Jack solved 18 out of 19 cubes blindfolded in 59 minutes and 20 seconds - outrageous!

Jack also surprised himself as he placed third in the one-handed event with a 15.46 second average.

Jack solving a Rubik's cube blindfolded for Arnie. Photo: Jack Cai.

Jack’s journey to being a National Champion all started in high school when he saw a friend solving a Rubik’s cube in class.

Finding it captivating, he went home and tried to solve one on his own.

“I don't think I was even able to solve one side when trying it out myself sadly,” said Jack.

"But with the help of a YouTube tutorial, I managed to solve the whole cube using a layer-by-layer method.”

“From then onwards, I was pretty hooked and just kept on solving it, improving my times gradually through a lot of practice,”

The fascination with solving Rubik’s cubes never wavered as Jack learnt to solve other ‘twisty’ puzzles like the Pyraminx.

However, it was the appeal of solving the standard Rubik’s cube one-handed or blindfolded that would ultimately lead Jack to trying speedcubing.

Speedcubing, as the name suggests, is where you solve the Rubik’s cube and its variants as quick as possible.

Jack went to his first competition in 2014.

Unfortunately, nerves got the better of him and he failed all of his blindfolded attempts, but the experience was invaluable.

In July of 2017, Jack was able to rise above his nerves and break his first Oceanic record, solving a Rubik’s cube blindfolded in 25.16 seconds.

Since then, he has smashed 10 more records, but highlighted that none matched the level of excitement he felt after breaking that first record.

Despite owning several records, Jack has his sights firmly on breaking a world record or becoming the World Champion in 2019 when the 2019 World Cube Association World Championships graces Melbourne’s shores. 

When asked about his favourite aspect of Speedcubing Jack said:

“While I do find the aspects of cube solving such as memorisation and finger dexterity interesting, I think the thing that I love the most is the community behind the sport.

“Compared to certain other sports, I think cubers are a lot more supportive of each other.”

“Seemingly the biggest of rivals can also be the best of friends.”

It’s quite common for cubers to share their techniques and strategies with the betterment of the sport in mind, rather than personal gain.

Jack also loves that he has an excuse to travel to international competitions.

He has visited places like the New Zealand, Taiwan and France.

The next international event Jack will be attending is the Malaysian Cube Championship, held in November.

Jack has set his sights on winning at least three different events and breaking a few more Oceanic records or, maybe with a little bit of luck, Jack may even break a world record!

Either way, Monash University is right behind you Jack!

Go get ‘em! #monashpride #bleedblue

Written by: James Oana
Media Coordinator

Jack Gerrard: Creating a splash at Nationals

Starting his swimming journey at age nine, Jack Gerrard has come a long way since his days growing up in Cairns, Queensland.

In 2010 at age 15, Jack left Far North Queensland and moved to Melbourne to focus on his swimming and education.

Fast forward to 2018 and Jack is now studying Medicine at Monash University, is Club Captain of Melbourne Vicentre Swimming Club and has represented Australia on the international stage.

It has been a tough 24 months for Jack going from the high of a BRONZE medal at the 2016 World Short Course Championships to missing out on most of 2017 through injury which impacted his Commonwealth Games campaign.

Despite Juggling full-time study in Medicine and training, Jack was part of the Monash University swim team that went to the Gold Coast and competed in the National University Championships (NUC).

The Men’s team won the Division One Championship with Jack a big reason for their success.

“I was pretty stoked winning the overall men’s championship, because I know Monash hasn’t done it for a long time,” said Jack.

“Part of me going to National Uni Champs, was because I’ve taken gap years and I’ve had to move assessments time after time [due to my Swimming] and I wanted to go and represent the Uni and give something back.”

“More or less as a thank you for everything they’ve dealt with on my part, to come away as the winning men’s team was a bit of a job well done.”

Jack (top right) with the Monash Swim Team. Photo: Team Monash

Jack walked away from Nationals with FIVE GOLD medals, THREE SILVER Medals, ONE BRONZE medal and THREE GAMES RECORDS.

Not too shabby… Oh who are we kidding, Jack was unreal!

Talking about his individual success Jack said “I wasn’t expecting too much going in, to be honest, so it was a bit of shock more than anything else.”

“I thought going in, maybe I could get a few medals and do the university proud, but after the first day, you sort of get a feel of how you’re going to race and where you’re at.”

“From there I realised I was swimming well and focused on doing my best each day. My results were definitely a pleasant surprise.”

A funny anecdote from Jack’s racing…

Disappointed he didn’t break the games record for the 200m freestyle the day before, Jack let officials know that he would go for it in the 400m the next day.

Jack blitzed the field over the first 200m and smashed the record before using the final 200m as a cool-down because of the short turnover between events.

It was truly remarkable to watch.

NUC was a chance for Jack to compete at a high-level, try some new things and take some risks.

He noted that he hadn’t swam in so many events at one competition since his junior days, but highlighted that he liked the change up.

Instead of preparing meticulously for a race, athletes are thrown in the deep-end and forced to adapt.

“I really enjoyed that the races were so close together… I did 5 races in one session and the sessions are only about an hour and 15 minutes,” said Jack.

“It just meant you would race and sometimes you’d get to go swim-down quickly and race again, or sometimes you’d just have to hop back out and have a couple minutes before you race [again].”

“But, I thought it was pretty cool, to be able to try and race as fast as you can race after race.”

All smiles for another gold medal at Nationals 2018. 
Photo:Team Monash
When reflecting on his week Jack said that many of his races had someone who had made the Australian team, but noted that despite the tough competition, the meet was more relaxed than typical events.

“It was easier to focus on yourself and not be afraid to try different things, and given there was no prospect of selection for any team, the stakes weren’t as high. If you smash it in the first 100 and die, then at least you learn.”
Jack took away a lot of positives from the NUC meet, in particular his ability to race “back-to-back-to-back.”

The manner in which he swam also gave Jack a lot of confidence especially with the Australian Short Course Championships right around the corner.

The Australian Short Course Championships will be in late October and held in Melbourne for the first time in several years.

The Australian team will be selected from the Australian Championships, which are a precursor to the World Short Course Championships.

“Ideally, taking the form from NUC, I’d love to perform even better, make that team and represent Australia again.”

All of Monash is right behind you Jack as you take on the world! #monashpride

Written by: James Oana
Media Coordinator

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