Published on 10 October 2016
A plan to build a $4.2 million Sunshine Coast Aquatic Exercise Facility next to USC’s Olympic-standard pool on campus at Sippy Downs is off the blocks after receiving a State Government grant.
The USC Spartans Swim Club gained a $1.4 million grant from the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing in a recent round of infrastructure funding called Get Playing Plus.
The money has kick-started the next phase of development within the University of the Sunshine Coast’s national standard sports precinct.
The precinct already has USC’s High-Performance Olympic and Paralympic swimming program operating near the region’s only tartan athletics track, and the Coast’s first national netball team, the Lightning, will be training and playing on campus within months.
USC Professor of Sport Science (Biomechanics) Brendan Burkett said the aquatic exercise facility would enable innovative training and recovery for all athletes, along with new research to guide rehabilitation and exercise programs for the broader community.
The new indoor facility will complement the University’s 50m outdoor pool, which gained a high profile this year as 10 USC Spartans swimmers trained for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics.
It will include: a six-lane, 25m, graduated depth, heated pool; a state-of-the-art “endless flow” recovery immersion pool; and ancillary facilities.
“This will be a fantastic addition to our campus, with benefits for high-performance sport, sport science and medicine in teaching and research, as well as the health and wellbeing of both the USC and wider communities,” Professor Burkett said.
“We hope the whole region embraces this innovative aquatic exercise service, which will integrate new facilities, coaching staff, training opportunities, and university-led research and encourage a new modality of exercising in water – a perfect fit for our climate.
“The contrasting water temperature environment will allow high-performance athletes and any community members to stimulate their recovery from injury, sport or impairment. This will also provide an incredible resource for student learning and research work.”
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said USC was now working to raise the remaining funds, with the aim of completing the project in 2017.
“The USC Sports Precinct has always been available for the Sippy Downs and wider community, and we can’t wait to share this new aquatic exercise facility in the same way,” Professor Hill said.
“We expect links with locals, visitors, nearby schools, regional schools for carnivals and meets, training squads, elite athletes, and clubs for athletics, basketball, rugby, volleyball, futsal, netball, roller derby and soccer.”
The USC Spartans Swim Club is affiliated with Swimming Queensland and Swimming Australia and trains at the USC pool. Its two coaches, Jan Cameron for the Paralympians and Chris Mooney for the Olympians, were selected as official Australian coaching staff for Rio.
The club finished third on points at the 2016 national swimming championships and 10 members were selected in the 65-member Australian team for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics – the greatest number of any university club in the country.
About hot and cold contrast water immersion therapy:
Hydrostatic pressure pools are excellent environments in which to conduct recovery activities. By simply being immersed in water, the hydrostatic pressure can increase blood flow, improve circulation and therefore enhance the recovery of soft tissue muscles.
A new feature to stimulate recovery is to contrast the water temperature from hot to cold. Typically, warm water (around 32 degrees Celsius) helps the muscles to relax and the joints to be more flexible. In contrast, cold water (around 15 degrees Celsius) helps reduce the swelling in muscles and joints.
The USC Spartans swim team has been working with sport scientists at the University of the Sunshine Coast and other leading institutions to establish the protocols for the length of time to be immersed and the best way to alternate this process.
The new aquatic exercise facility will enable this process to be accessed on a larger, more permanent scale, and expand these unique recovery procedures to the entire community.
— Julie Schomberg