Sprinter Caitlin Sargent-Jones is improvising as she works towards her dream of competing in her second Olympics next year.
Ms Sargent-Jones, who was Indooroopilly State High School Sports Captain in 2009, had aimed to win a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were to take place in July and August. The Olympics have been postponed to next year as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts global sporting competition.
“Training is more or less the same schedule but with all facilities being closed, I’m just having to adapt and use what is available to me, such as the gym at home and grass tracks,” she said.
“It’s not ideal, but running can more or less be done with very little resources so right now I’m extra grateful that it’s my chosen sport.”
Olympic sprinter Caitlin Sargent-Jones was Indooroopilly State High School’s Sports Captain in 2009.
Major sporting achievements
8th in the 4x400m relay at the 2016 Olympics (Rio de Janeiro)
2018: Fifth in 4x400m relay at Glasgow Commonwealth Games
2014: Fourth in 4x400m relay at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
2011: 16th in the 4x400m relay
2013: 26th in the 400m
Australian Champion (400m) 2012, 2013
Silver medallist – 2011, 2019
Bronze medallist – 2014, 2015, 2017
Do you have any special memories of your time at Indro?
I have very fond memories of my time at Indro. I wouldn’t necessarily pick out individual memories but rather the culture and atmosphere. The community of Indro is so diverse and I truly believe that prepared me so well for the ‘real world’ – interacting with people of all different walks of life, both as an athlete and in my work as a health professional. I also loved that Indro saw the value in each student’s individuality and encouraged each of us to celebrate our differences, as well as our similarities.
What drew you to athletics and how did you balance secondary school and your athletics career?
I started athletics around Grade 5 and found I had a natural talent for it. I really enjoyed it, so I continued on with it and by the time I was at Indro I was training with my coach Eric Brown (whom I’m still with now). Obviously my training schedule was not as intense then as it is now, but I was definitely very busy. I was training most days, playing saxophone in two bands at school, doing dance outside of school on top of my study, so there was definitely a balancing act going on. One of the reasons my parents chose Indro was for its academic reputation and study was always my top priority. Essentially it came down to being organised – managing my time well each day as well as looking ahead and seeing that I had an assignment due the day of a competition and working out with my teachers how to manage that. This was an important skill to learn early as I had the same challenges at university – often with weeks off from class at a time to compete overseas.
Olympic sprinter Caitlin Sargent-Jones competes for Australia in the 4x400m women’s relay at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
You studied physiotherapy at The University of Queensland, and you’re still heavily involved at UQ?
I remember having something else down on my QTAC application and changing my first preference to physio the last day before cut-off. I am so glad I did, because I really loved my degree and the whole UQ experience. I had been training at UQ for some time already, so it was nice to study out there and essentially have almost my whole life out there. I would arrive at 8.00am for class and leave around 6.30pm when I was finished training, Monday to Friday. I owe a lot to UQ in regards to providing great facilities to train at, as well as the flexibility to travel and compete whilst doing my degree. I’m still involved with the UQ Athletics Club (currently secretary, past vice-president) and I’m on the selection committee for the UQ Sports Blues and Sports Awards.
What do you like about being a physiotherapist? Do you have any advice for students considering a career in physiotherapy?
The biggest joy for me comes from helping people – seeing their quality of life improve and their appreciation for the role you played in that. I am so grateful to be working in a setting where I am able to spend the time with people that they need and to truly care for them. The ‘human’ side is the other thing I really love – getting to know my patients and the incredible lives they live. There are so many fascinating people out there, doing amazing things and I value getting to be a small part of their journey and hopefully helping them along the way.
To anyone wanting to study physio, I would encourage them to spend time in various physio work settings if they can. Physio has a very broad scope (from private practice treating back pain, to stroke rehab, to aged care, intensive care and everything in between) and it’s good to get an idea of what being a physio might look like. Otherwise I would say, make sure you are a compassionate person who likes working with people and solving problems.
Who inspires you?
My sports psych and I talk a lot about Brene Brown’s work – so I take inspiration from anyone who is putting themselves “in the arena” by being vulnerable and courageous. Anyone who is doing their best to be their most authentic self, go for their goals and isn’t afraid to fail and get back up for another go.
What are your goals?
Main goal for me is still Tokyo 2020 (it’s still being called that, even though it will now be Tokyo 2021). I would love to claim a spot in the individual 400m and also be in the 4x400m relay and hopefully go one better than making the final (like we did in Rio) and claim a medal.
What’s important in your life now?
Obviously athletics and physio take up a lot of my time, but I enjoy being busy, so on the weekends you can usually find me baking and cooking. I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen and then sitting down to share that with my husband or my family. I am also passionate about sustainability. I do my best to minimise my impact on the environment by shopping locally and making as many things from scratch as I can (soap, bread, cleaning products, stock, curry paste, etc). I’m definitely not perfect, but I’m always doing my best to learn more and improve my habits.
Do you have any advice for our students?
Firstly, I would encourage students to try to really enjoy this time of your life. I know being a teenager can be tricky and a lot of people are trying to work out who they are and what they want from life, but Indro is a great school to help you figure that out and high school is a great time to make friends. There is no rush – you don’t have to decide everything right now and you can change your mind and take a different path later on. Think about the things in life that are truly important to you and use that to guide you on your way. Other than that, I would tell students to find the people who really love and support them and keep those people close. We are always strongest together and I know I wouldn’t have accomplished half of what I have without my close family and friends.