Athlete finds way to train while studying at home

Rising Ipswich and District Athletic Club race walker Camryn Novinetz.


AS a highly motivated athlete in a specialist event, Camryn Novinetz doesn’t mind the current online teaching program.

While she misses the regular contact at West Moreton Anglican College, the year 11 student is setting a positive example.

The rising Ipswich and District Athletic Club race walker explains why.

“I find it quite good because you can work around training and that with school work,” Novinetz said.

“So if you’ve got like a lunch break or whatever you have, you can just maybe do some stretching or something, which in a classroom you can’t do.”

Her Brassall household is currently a study and training venue during school hours.

“I don’t mind it though,” she said of having to train on her own at the moment.

“I’m very self motivated so it’s not too hard to get in a good session by myself.”

Before the coronavirus shutdown, Novinetz defied illness issues to produce some of her best competitive performances in club and school events.

She finished a gallant fourth in the under-20 division at the Oceania 10km road race walking championships in February.

Her time of 15 minutes and three seconds was pleasing given she was returning from battling sickness for a couple of months.

“After coming back from the illness, that was probably the highlight of my year so far,” she said.

“But the biggest achievement was for nationals in 2018.  That was the first time I won at nationals.”

Her satisfying 3km race walk success in heavy rain and terrible weather on that occasion was representing Queensland at the Australian school titles in Cairns.

Since then she’s continued to impress.

In a personal best effort in February, she broke through the 24 minute barrier for the first time in winning her QSAC track meet age group over 5km.  She did 23:51.

She often competes against older athletes, regularly displaying her tenacity.

A day after winning the under-18 state 5km title in March, she finished second in the under-20 10km race walk.

A head cold had upset her training in the lead-up to that impressive double success.

Novinetz, who turns 17 in October, first discovered her race walk passion in under-10 with the Ipswich Little Athletics Centre.  She won her first race that year at the state titles in Cairns.

Although she also competes for Met West in cross country and other distance events at school, race walking remains her primary focus.

“It just feels natural to be doing it,” she said.

“A lot of people say ‘doesn’t that hurt your hips’ but to me, it just feels right.”

She has been working with coach, dual Olympian David Smith, since the end of 2016.

Her program, when not restricted by the coronavirus, features regular core exercise and gym sessions, work around the Ipswich Cycle Park track, Saturday park runs and a Sunday Mt Coot-tha climb.

Novinetz also appreciates the support she receives at the Ipswich and District Athletic Club, especially from club president Vic Pascoe.

The personable teenager would like to one day represent Australia internationally in race walking.

Although performing well over 5km, she so far prefers 10km events.

“The longer the better because I feel like I can hold a similar pace for the 5 and the 10,” she said, already looking ahead to the next World Junior Championships.

Beyond that, future Commonwealth Games or Olympics are longer-term goals.