Monash Taekwondo star gears up for international competition

If any Business or Marketing students are looking to pick a fight with one of their group project members, we would certainly recommend steering clear of Monash student and Taekwondo star Tyla Lockwood, who is gearing up to compete at the Dutch and Belgian Open Taekwondo Championships in March.

The competitions are qualifiers for the Australian World Championship team, and Tyla has ramped up her training schedule in her efforts to impress.

Coming back from 3 months of rehab after a foot injury last year, Tyla said returning to training in December was a “culture shock”, but her recovery was hastened by an invitation to train with 25 of Australia’s top Taekwondo athletes at a High Performance Hub opened last year in partnership with the AIS.

“I was in so much pain, but you’re in an environment where you push through those barriers. There were a lot of ice baths,” said Tyla.

“My foot hated me, but it was a lot of fun.”

Tyla (right) started learning Taekwondo when she was 10 years old, but said she "got really into the fighting side of things" when she finished high school. 
Tyla is now back to doing four to five Taekwondo and two strength and conditioning sessions every week. Like many of the athletes in Monash’s Elite Student Performance Scheme, balancing her sporting career with University commitments is an ongoing struggle.

“It’s really tough, I’m taking off two and a half weeks off Uni to do this competition. I will arrive back [in Australia] on a Wednesday at 6.30am and start back at Uni at 10am,” she said.

“In Taekwondo there’s a lot of sitting around at competitions, so at least I can do a bit while I’m waiting.”

Tyla said receiving a scholarship grant from Team MONASH helps take some of the pressure off financially, and she has been able to continue her studies by deferring units and doing some Summer semester study.

Hundreds of athletes are registered to compete in the Dutch and Belgian competitions, and the most successful of the Australian team may get the chance to represent the country at the World Taekwondo Championships in Manchester this May.
Written by: Nell O’Shea Carre, Media Coordinator

Our top 5 moments of 2018!

Monash Cheer had an amazing 2018
What a year 2018 was for Team Monash. A year full of success, personal bests and people getting involved just to have some fun!
We’ve somehow managed to narrow down these great moments into a top 5 for all of Monash to enjoy and bask in the success of the year just gone.
5. For number 5, who could forget the outstanding effort from three of Monash’s table tennis superstars? The University’s own Heming Hu, Sawan Serasinghe and Matt Chau all competed at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. A truly incredible achievement getting to represent Australia on such a grand international stage and perform at the highest level.
4. 2018 was well and truly the year of Table Tennis for Monash. Reflected by both our Men’s and Women’s table tennis teams winning their respective National University Championships! It was a special moment to see both men and women from Monash dominate as individuals and as a team, what a statement the victories were!
3. Speaking of both Men and Women of Monash dominating together, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the terrific effort of our Mixed Netball side. The team not only won at the Uni Sport National Championships, but in doing so, they went back to back! Two years, two National Championships, let’s all get behind them in 2019 as they push for a 3-peat.
2. Our runner up for the top 5 moments of 2018, was our amazing cheerleaders for their awesome efforts at the World University Championships in Poland. It was an honour just too even compete in the championships, but Monash Cheer also managed to snag themselves 3 silver medals, a special performance from a truly special cheer team, amazing. 
Jack Gerrard dominated Nationals in 2018
1. Now unfortunately there can only be one top moment for the year, yet despite us being spoilt for choice, we did manage to pick a winner and what a winner this man is. 

Swimming Champ Jack Gerrard put on an absolute clinic at the National University Championships and his performance was one that is impossible for us to ignore. 

Jack not only won 9 medals including 6 gold, but he also broke 3 NATIONAL RECORDS and even managed to qualify for the World Short Course Championships in China!
Overall, congratulations to everyone who got involved in any of Team Monash’s programs, events and activities in 2018. 

It takes a lot to put yourself out there and have a go and so we commend everyone who did. 2018 was a great year, but Monash loves a challenge, so let’s do our best to make 2019 an even more memorable one!

Written by: Joseph Arthur, Media Coordinator

Soccer star turned VFLW pro Amy Silver can do it all

Photo: Amy Silver

For many people, the idea of being an elite athlete in a chosen sport is something of a pipedream, then for the majority of people, the idea of being an elite athlete in two different sports, simply put, is absolute nonsense.

However, every now and then you hear about those special few individuals that can pull off the double life of a multi-sport elite athlete. 

Monash University’s own Amy Silver happens to be one of those individuals. The fourth year Law and Arts Honours student has played both Football and Soccer at a very high level.

A member of Monash’s Elite Student Performer Scheme (ESPS), Amy has gone from winning a National Championship for Victoria in soccer, to joining the VFLW as a footballer, her sporting talent can be matched by few others.

“I always loved football and used to play at lunchtime with the boys in primary school. As I got older there were no avenues for me to pursue football, so I played soccer instead.”

Amy has recently enjoyed significant success in both of her chosen sports. Whilst on exchange in the UK at Leeds University late last year, Amy was named as starting striker on the University’s Women’s ‘Firsts’ Soccer team.

The team competed in the Northern 1A league of the British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) league, Northern 1A being the second highest University league in the entire country. 
2018 Varsity Champions: Leeds University Women's 'Firsts' Soccer
Photo: Amy Silver

Amy scored a hat-trick on debut and managed to find the back of the net at least once in every game she played throughout the season. 
She finished the season as the teams highest goal scorer and the highlight of the teams outstanding year came when they were crowned Varsity Champions for the first time in 13 years after defeating rival University Leeds Beckett 3-2.

“The Firsts had never beaten [Leeds] Beckett in soccer. In the 2018 Varsity, we beat them 3-2 in which I scored the opening goal and Leeds University won Varsity overall for the first time.”

Since returning from exchange, Amy has stepped away from soccer to focus on football.

“I had played competitive soccer since I was 12, but only started [competitive] football at 20. The day before I went on exchange I played in AFL Victoria’s Young Guns Game which was comprised of the best young players in the state.

“Towards the end of 2017 I was invited by the St Kilda Football Club to come down and trial for the team, and the 2018 VFLW season was my first year of football.”

Although it may sound like it’s been nothing but one success after another for Amy, she has overcome her fair share of adversity on her journey to becoming the athlete she is today.

After finally getting her chance many years later to give competitive footy a crack, Amy suffered an ankle injury 3 minutes into her debut for St Kilda, tearing several ligaments.

“It was my first proper game of AFL football and against Carlton, the team I had supported my whole life. After a 7-month pre-season, I was so excited to finally play and it took me almost 2 months to recover.” 
Amy has big things planned for her future with St Kilda
Photo: Amy Silver

Fortunately, Amy was able to rehab her ankle properly and return to the team to play out the second half of the season without any issues.

However, playing for St Kilda in VFLW is just the beginning for this soccer star turned pro footy player. You don’t become a multi-sport athlete by taking your foot of the gas every time you succeed and Amy has aspirations to play in the AFLW when St Kilda joins the competition.

“As the Saints have a licence to enter the AFLW competition in 2020, everything has really ramped up this season. My aim is to play every game and be an integral part of the team.”

It’s become very clear that Amy is hungry for more success and all her past glory is just fuel to her competitive fire. Expect big things from Amy in the coming years, because her journey as a footballer has barely even started.

Be on the lookout in 2019 for how Amy’s season is progressing, this won’t be the last time you hear her name.

Written by: Joseph Arthur, Media Coordinator

Get to know Monash Blue winner Alison Downie

Monash Blue winner and footballer Alison Downie
Get to know Monash Blue winner and Alumna Alison Downie

Alison Downie, alumna and 2003 Monash University Blue recipient graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 2008 from Monash University. Alison transformed her career from basketball with the WNBL Dandenong Rangers and reinvigorated her professional sporting career by being drafted by the inaugural AFLW Carlton team in 2016 where she has enjoyed two seasons so far. During her basketball career, Alison won three WNBL championships and was named Rookie of the Year in 2002.
In the 2017 inaugural AFLW season, she was listed in the All-Australian squad and placed 3rd in Carlton’s Best and Fairest. She has played all 14 possible games available and you can check out one of her interview's here.
One of Alison’s fond memories from her time at Monash was the annual University Games where in one of the years her team took out a gold medal in the basketball competition. She also still stays in touch with a bunch of the ladies from the team. We look forward to having you back in the near future to speak to our upcoming students.
Are you a Monash University Blue award winner?
The 2019 Monash University Blue Awards will be held on March 22, 2019. If you’ve won a Monash Blue, please share your story by emailing us at

Lacrosse star and former Monash student Tim Graham is heading stateside

Photo: Tim Graham

Few people would be more excited for what’s to come in 2019 than former Monash Engineering and Science student Tim Graham.

The Lacrosse young gun is moving onto bigger and better things this year, after receiving a Lacrosse scholarship from Cornell University in New York. 

Graham was previously part of Monash’s Elite Student Performer Scheme and credits the University for “making sure I [he] had every opportunity to succeed”.

The scholarship opportunity is a product of Graham’s terrific play at last year’s FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championships in Israel. 

Tim was deserves plenty of credit for being a major catalyst towards Australia finishing 4th place overall, highlighted by his strong performance in the Tournaments Quarterfinals against the host side of Israel. 
Tim and the Australian’s were bested in the 3rd place playoff by the Iroquois Nationals, following a semi-final loss to The United States, the tournaments eventual winners.

Photo: Cornell University

Graham completed high school at St Kevin’s College and was a Monash University student up until the end of 2018, where he was part of both Monash’s cricket and AFL clubs. 

An impressive all-around athlete, Tim’s scholarship at Cornell comes as no surprise.

Graham was a two time captain of the U18 Victorian Lacrosse team, he was named the tournament MVP at the 2017 U18 Australian Lacrosse Championship’s and was named a three time All-Star at the U18 Australian Lacrosse Championships from 2015-2017.

His sporting resume and many individual accolades speak for themselves and we can expect big things from Tim as he completes his freshman year at Cornell. 

A promising young career with an undoubtedly bright future. You can follow along with Tim's journey on the Cornell University website and we here at Monash wish him all the best for the upcoming 2019 season. #monashpride

Written by: Joseph Arthur, Media Coordinator 

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

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