Daniel D'Hotman Blog 2

Today was the third day of the Last Degree as we begin our journey from 89 degrees South to the Pole. Our team of 7 has been gradually increasing mileage; we travelled 8.8 miles today (7.5 nautical miles) with temperatures around -20. A warm day in Antarctica!

The most difficult aspect of this journey from a physical standpoint is the altitude. Whilst the Polar plateau is around 3000m above sea level, a gravitational vortex at the Pole means the altitude can feel more like 4500m. What does this mean for us? Less oxygen, which in turn makes everything more difficult. To be precise, it equates to around 50-75% of the oxygen we experience at sea level. I was fortunate enough to train for this at altitude centres in Melbourne and Vancouver. But in Antarctica, the altitude is combined with temperatures reaching -40 and bitter winds of 30 knots, all together making for a gruelling day.

As we walk over the great white plane of the Poler plateau, I find myself reflecting on the inherent difficulties associated with Polar travel. Whether it be getting dressed, going to the bathroom, or even getting a drink of water, Antarctica makes everything a mighty challenge. What Barney, Kyle and Martin have gone through in travelling more than 50 days and 500 miles across this desolate landscape is truly remarkable. I'm looking forward to meeting up with my close friend Barney soon, and celebrating with him as he completes an historic feat - the first expedition to the South Pole using only renewable energy.

This expedition has also prompted me to reflect on a number of aspects of leadership, particularly from our guides. We have two guides: Devon, a rugged Canadian, and Johanna, a Norwegian who holds the record for the fastest solo trip to the South Pole (700 miles in 38 days!). Every day Devon and Johanna balance the different skills and desires of our group against overall progress to the expedition goal of reaching the Pole, which means they have to know when to push us harder and when to take a break. This is a fascinating dynamic that plays out in the harshest environment on earth, where making the wrong decision can lead to exhaustion, injury, and potential evacuation by helicopter.

Finally, we must remember that this mission does not end when we reach the South Pole. All of us have a role to play in translating Barney and the SPEC team's bravery into tangible change through the upcoming ClimateForce campaign. If you would like to help clean up 326 million tonnes of carbon, please visit 2041.com for real solutions that can be implemented in your life.

All the best and talk soon.

Daniel D'Hotman

Daniel D’Hotman Blog 1

Hello all!

My name is Daniel and I recently finished my final medical exams in Australia. I’m currently training in British Columbia, Canada, for the Last Degree, where I will join the final 60 miles of the South Pole Energy Challenge with five others.

Barney Swan and I met 13 years ago, in Far North Queensland, Australia. Since then we have remained best friends. Despite living on opposite sides of the world, we have travelled on 3 continents and starting a business together. When the opportunity arose to join Barney on SPEC, the ultimate adventure, and work towards improving renewable energy technologies, a cause we are both passionate about, I did not hesitate.

It is an enormous honour to join Barney in Antarctica, for both the physical challenge the Last Degree presents, and the exciting opportunities that SPEC offers to promote cooperation between private industry, individuals and governments to clean up our energy sector.

Upon returning to Australia, I want to maximise the impact of 2041’s education program to bring SPEC’s message to 20,000 Australian children and a variety of businesses and corporates. Australia is a small country, but we have one of the highest levels of green house gas omissions per capita globally. This must change. We want SPECs education program to empower the students of today to make better decisions - for their children's sake.

As a young person, I am shocked by projections of sea level rise from NASA and others. It is particularly concerning to see the devastating impact that this will have on the developing world. The enormous social and human cost aside, the energy choices we make now will impart hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to future generations. This money could be used on healthcare, schools or public transport; instead, we are wasting it for short-sighted economic gain today. I want to be part of the solution to changing the fossil fuel paradigm. SPEC is an important step on this journey.

I’ve attached a few photos below, from training in an altitude chamber to cross country skiing in Whistler. Every day I train, I think of Barney and the other brave members of SPEC who are marching 10 times the journey that I will embark on. Their phenomenal strength and courage allows me push the personal limits of my endurance. Let’s keep them in our thoughts, and hope for a safe and successful end to this amazing expedition.

Finally, I wanted to thank all of the extraordinarily generous donors who allowed my dream of attending this expedition to become a reality, including Judith Neilson, Monash University, The Boston Consulting Group, and Lululemon Athletica.

I’ll be checking in again in Punta Arenas before heading South. See you all in the Big White! 


AUG Team Profile - Golf

How has your team gone in the past?

The team came 8th in 2015, and then we backed it up with a 2nd place showing in 2016. 

How is the team looking?:

The team is looking good! We're all incredibly excited to go one better than last year and have gelled well as a team so far, with the inclusion of team rookies Callum Bakken, Sean Smith and Ben Fynmore. Ben took out the team long drive contest on an indoor golf simulator with a 265m whack, and it will be fun to see how he goes on the Palm Meadows Golf Course, this years venue.

The goal of your team?

Ultimately, the goal will be to be competitive and to improve on our position from last year. Golf is an individual sport by and large and the opportunity to compete as a team doesn't come along very often, hence, it is important to us that we enjoy the tournament and each others company, get to know our playing partners and contemporaries from other unis and represent Monash in the best way possible.

Who are the teams to beat in the competition?

RMIT is always competitive and they beat us to top spot last year, so we will be wary of the threat they present. However, we wont know the strength of the competition until we get to the Gold Coast, as it varies greatly from year to year.

Who to look out for?

One player to watch for sure would be our star rookie, Callum Bakken. We expect big things from him and am excited to see how he goes in his first AUG appearance. As always, sweet swinging Will Kendall will pose a serious threat if his putter gets hot, as will last years top performer, Cameron Kaye. The team is also excited to see how lefty Sean Smith and our resident bomber, Ben Fynmore perform. 

Good luck and bring home the GOLD!!!🏆😍 #monashpride

#bleedblue #MonashGolf #teammonash

AUG Team Profile - Men's Football

Men’s football has been on an upward trajectory over the last several years. Finishing 5th in Sydney (2014), despite comfortably beating the eventual champions in the group stage, 3rd on the Gold Coast (2015), and 2nd in Perth (2016). The team unfortunately lost to the University of Melbourne in the gold medal match last year and are looking for revenge.

The team is looking to match last year’s result. However, unlike last year they will be pushing to convert a birth in the gold medal match into a victory. Considering the talent of the squad, it would be a disappointing outcome to not, at the very least, walk away with a medal.

Football has always been a tight competition, especially when the Games are on the Gold Coast and teams bring stronger squads. Monash will look out for the traditional powerhouses of university football, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney. However, overlooking teams like UNSW, VU, UTS and La Trobe could be costly.

This year’s team is the strongest in recent history with many talented players fighting for their place in the starting XI. The entire squad of 19 is good enough to be in the starting XI, highlighting the strength of the team. In addition, Monash has welcomed the return of Coach Brian Vasey, who brings a wealth of experience coaching at the top level in Victorian football.

In such a strong squad it is tough to highlight just one or two players. However, look out for one of our beloved players called Simba. He has been known to take teams apart with his speed and dribbling ability. The football team has added several strong new players, keep an eye on Tony, notorious for his ability to embarrass his teammates, he has been unreal in training. Also watch out for Ryan who's been nothing but class in the middle of the field.

Good luck to the boys as they push for a gold medal! #monashpride #bleedblue #teammonash

AUG Team Profile - Men's Futsal

Men’s futsal have a long history of success. In the past three years the men's team have won Gold (2014), Silver (2015) and Bronze (2016) at AUG. In addition to Silver (2015) and Bronze (2016) at SUG.

The team is currently going through a transition period. The ‘golden generation’ have passed on the baton to the new generation, with no futsal players from last year’s team in the squad. The new team has been working hard to form the chemistry needed to succeed in futsal. They have been putting in 100% effort with training and picking things up extremely quickly, they are shaping up to be a strong and competitive side.

The team has two goals. The team wants to make it to the gold medal match and take out the competition. However, they are also aiming to develop a strong foundation, to allow them to extend their abilities into future competitions representing Monash.

Men's futsal for the last few years have been dominated by Monash, RMIT and ECU all three of these teams have been extremely competitive and produced spectacular games of futsal and finals to be involved in. However, like the Monash team, the team is expecting a few changes to the other team lists this year.

This year we have three young guns to watch out for. Firstly the new GK Samir he comes from a strong futsal background and will be for sure one of the best in the competition. We also have two new players Matt Bucello and George Cummins who have shown to dominate the court and produce some great plays.

AUG Team Profile - Squash

How has your team gone in the past?

The Monash team in the past has been the Sydney Swans of University games – consistently making the finals, but suffering badly from injury and circumstance. The last gold for the men’s team was in 2015, whilst the girls took home silver last year.

How is the team looking?

The team this year is looking scarier than Toby Greene’s right hook. The women have a solid backbone of tennis experience and are led by veteran Shaylee Mann, whose skills would give most of the men a run for their money. Leading the men’s team, with squash ability in inverse proportion to his height, is pocket dynamo Darren Chan. Both teams bat deep and confidence is running high.

The goal of your team?

The team is obviously hungry for success, a great aspect of University games is getting to play solid squash with players from around Australia. There are some very good players at University games, and the team is excited for a challenge against athletes they wouldn’t otherwise get to play.

Who are the teams to beat in the competition?

Scoping out the competition before University games is about as straightforward as getting a perfect round in footy tipping this year. Nevertheless, it always pays to watch out for La Trobe. Their banter is usually vastly superior to their squash ability, but they’ve upped the ante in recent years with a couple of young guns who’re putting the squash and banter on an equal footing. Adelaide University are returning this year with a new-look outfit – it’s not clear whether this will be a Collingwood or Sydney style rebuild, but Adelaide are traditionally very competitive!

Who to look out for?

The odds are shortening on Darren Chan to go the entire tournament without dropping a single set, following a stellar performance recently in which he took the World No. 40 to five sets! Look out for University games
rookies Nic Gibbs and Benedict Long to play excellent squash at second and third seeds on the men’s team – Nic is banging on the door of Victoria’s top 50 and Benedict isn’t far behind.

On the girl’s team, look out for Zoe Lineham and Anita Karapanos, who are both converting years of competitive tennis and excellent fitness into high performance on the squash court. Shaylee Mann at first seed brings a wealth of squash experience as well as drop shots that would make James Willstrop weep.

Good luck to the squash teams, all of Monash is right behind you!! 🏆

#monashpride #bleedblue #teammonash

AUG Team Profile - Men's Badminton

Men’s badminton is the team to beat. Having won the gold medal at the 2016 Australian University, the target is firmly on their heads.

The team is looking as strong as ever, with a victory over rivals the University of Melbourne in the Varsity Challenge, earlier this year, cementing their status going into the competition.

The men’s badminton team have asserted that going back-to-back is not the only goal for the week, but also going through the entire tournament undefeated as a realistic aim.

The team have identified the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney as difficult opponents. Both are traditionally strong, and are bringing strong teams to try a defeat the reigning champions.

Who are players to watch out for? The team boast Olympian Matthew Chau and are hoping his talent and experience will guide Monash University to another gold medal.

Good luck guys, we know you’ll be amazing! #monashpride #bleedblue #teammonash

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