Student Athlete Profile- Stephanie Freeman

 

What is your sport?

Taekwondo

How many hours per week do you spend training/playing?

I normally train about 18 hours a week. In the mornings I do fitness work such as 5km runs around Lake Burley Griffin or anaerobic threshold work out at Erindale. Twice a week I do strength and conditioning training around lunch time and then in the afternoons I do sparring and technical training. However while I am over in Korea I am training four times a day and training over 47 hours a week!

What study are you undertaking at ANU? What year of study are you in?

5th year Double degree of Arts and Science

How do you juggle the commitments of playing sport and studying?

Studying full time and being committed to a sport requires excellent time management skills to ensure you have time to study and do assignments, train and work. You need to be organised and plan for the long term to ensure that you can notify relevant people of when you will be away competing

Does sport assist you in your academic pursuits?

I believe that doing sport does assist in academic pursuits as it trains you to be focused and get work done efficiently and effectively, as you have limited time to study due to sporting commitments. I feel I have achieved more academically as I challenged myself to do the very best I could just like I do in taekwondo.

Greatest sporting achievement.

My greatest sporting achievement would be winning my first international medal. I achieved this goal in May where I fought in the New Zealand Open and won a bronze medal. This is such a big achievement for me, as I am only a red belt in taekwondo but I fight in the black belt category which means that I am fighting and medalling against much more experienced competitors.

What is your long term sporting goal?

I would love to one day compete at the Olympics or World Championships. These events are the pinnacle of sporting achievements and would provide invaluable life experiences.

Who has had the greatest influence on your sporting career thus far?

I would probably have to say my coach and my team mates. They are incredibly supportive and always push me to be the best I can be. My coach was a high level taekwondo athlete and is now a world renowned coach while my team mates are international level athletes who are incredibly strong both mentally and physically. This is very important as we all push each other further than we think we are capable of, enabling us to be the best athletes we can be.

Who is your sporting idol & why?

My idol would have to be Jade Jones who is a Great Britain taekwondo athlete She is a two time gold Olympic medallist in the women's -57kg category. She is my sporting idol because she demonstrates great sportsmanship and proves that with hard work and determination anything can be achieved.

Any superstitions or unusual game day preparations?

Perhaps my most unusual habit is always putting on my right shoe before the left. It’s something I’ve always done and now if I don’t I fear I might not shoot well!

Tell us something interesting or fascinating about yourself

I have an identical twin sister, Jenna who is a long distance open water swimmer. In 2016 she competed in the Olympic trials for 10km open water and was the 12th Australian. She has also competed at an international level by competing in open water swims such as a 15km Hong Kong swim where she won gold and broke the record. I was also a National level swimmer and specialised in long distance Open Water (5km and 10km events) before taking up taekwondo.

Favourite Music Artist:

I have a big range of music that I like to listen to, although my favourite artist at the moment would probably be Halsey.

If you found yourself on Masterchef and had to cook one dish to win it all, what would your specialty dish be:

My speciality dish would be spicy cinnamon date loaf. I recently tried making it for the first time to use up left over dates and it was really yummy!

 

International Travel Grant: Athlete Post Competition Report

Event: Chuncheon Korean Open International Taekwondo Championships

Post Competition Report:

I travelled to South Korea for just over 3 weeks in order to train at the Chungnam Physical Education High School and compete at the Chuncheon Korean Open International Taekwondo Championships. This was the first time I have travelled to Korea and also the first time I have competed and represented Australia as part of the Australian team. I trained at the high school for about 2 weeks with 14 other athletes from all over Australia. We had 3-4 training sessions a day which could go for over 3 hours and in the 30˚C heat and lots of humidity, it was very mentally and physically taxing. The morning training involved a 4km run followed by 20 minutes of hill sprints, then strength work. The day sessions were typically speed and sparring training while the night session was normally more technical training. After the 2 weeks of training at the high school, the team then travelled about 2 hours to Chuncheon where the Korean Open was being held. It was a week-long competition with over 2,500 people from 60 countries.  I weighed in on the second last day of the competition and fought on the last day. I won my first fight 17-3 and then lost my next fight in golden point against the world number 43, one fight before the quarter finals. The intensity of the training sessions in the lead up to the Korean Open definitely helped me to prepare for the competition which was host to many highly ranked competitors. I learnt a lot from the training and competition, not just in terms of new skills for taekwondo but also in terms of the cultural differences. There is a big culture of discipline and respect in Korea and the students were all extremely respectful of each other and their teachers. I have come away from this trip with newfound knowledge that I can pass on to my team members which will benefit us all greatly, allowing Australian taekwondo to grow. The most memorable aspect of this trip was making friends with the Korean high school students. They were all extremely accommodating and courteous, going out of their way to make us all feel welcomed. This was very much appreciated by everyone, especially those whose first time it was in Korea. Their friendship made the cultural and language differences much easier to adapt to.