24 June 2014
USC student Caitlin Gilliman, 18, isn’t just one of the fastest young kayakers in the world, she is also one of the best time managers.
The Caloundra teen is studying a combined Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science at USC while also finishing high school and preparing for the International Canoe Federation World Junior Championships in Europe.
“My USC studies have been great and I have managed to work them in around my training schedule,” Caitlin said.
“I’m a member of the U18 Australian Sprint Kayaking Team and we fly to Italy on June 29 for a training camp and then on to Hungary for the titles.”
Caitlin’s commitment to her sport means she spends more than 30 hours training each week, including regular 4am starts. She also continues to work as a kayak instructor at her high school, Pacific Lutheran College.
She said the flexible learning opportunities provided by the school enabled her to complete a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation and qualify for university while still pursuing her final Year 12 accreditations.
Fortunately, she doesn’t have to go far for advice on how to juggle her many commitments. Caitlin is one of six sporting siblings whose mother, Maureen O’Neill, graduated from USC last year with a PhD specialising in Education Studies.
“Her thesis was titled, ‘High performance school-age athletes at Australian schools: a study of conflicting demands’,” Caitlin said.
“So, yes, mum is a real inspiration. I can ask her anything.”
Caitlin said she planned to combine her love of sport with her USC degrees to teach physical education at high school. But first, she wants to do well in Europe.
“I always aim for the A Final,” she said.
– David Cameron