Tue 30 Mar 2021

Bringing Olympic prep to Bell Street

An Olympic athlete was put through her paces by WITT’s Sports Academy team on Thursday, bringing a taste of the Games to Bell Street on the same day that the Olympic Torch Relay began in Fukushima, Japan.

Anne Cairns will compete for Samoa in Canoe Sprint at the 2020/1 Olympics in Tokyo, and she also raced at the Rio games in 2016. She and partner Carl Barnes, who competes nationally in ocean surf ski and waka ama events, got the blood pumping in the Sports Academy lab as they underwent specialised testing last week.

Anne and Carl were put through a modified Conconi Test, which includes taking measurements of lactate, heart rate and V02 during the test. This helps identify lactate threshold to ensure correct training zones.

Anne said participating in high performance testing was a great way to prepare and benchmark.

“The testing provides really valuable markers for training zones, as well as the possibility for re-testing which can show improvements made over certain training periods.

“While the testing was similar to what I've had before, the equipment was more comfortable and advanced compared to when I last was tested. The process was really well set out and things ran smoothly.”

Anne said the calibre of testing available at WITT is of real value to high performance athletes.

“The parameters and markers that this type of testing can provide is hugely valuable to athletes learning about where they are at in terms of their fitness, as well as how their training regime is having an effect.

“Using the data for training zones is really beneficial, and having the ability to re-test to check the effects of a training block or period means continued improvements can be gauged.”

A New Plymouth local, Anne travels to Palmerston North four days a week for work and still finds time to train almost every day. 

“My average week consists of two sometimes three sessions per day, this includes paddling, gym, yoga and cross training aerobic exercise,” she said.  “I train seven days on, one day off with some half days off at times as well.”

WITT Health and Wellness Manager Kieran Mckendry said while the Sports Academy supports students to reach their sporting goals, it’s also an asset available to the whole community.

“Being able to provide local and national athletes with high performance testing is great for WITT and for our sporting community. It also gives our students more exposure to the technical and data-driven side of sport science.

“We’re excited to be offering high performance testing services to athletes and teams later this year, it’s something that’s quite new for our region and I think it’ll be of real value to Taranaki athletes.”