This year, Jackson Symonds (Sorrento SLSC) etched his name into the surf life saving history books as he earnt his fifth Open Beach Sprint title, a new Australian record, as well as his fifth Open Athlete of the Year award at the SLSWA Awards of Excellence. However, Jackson isn’t just a great athlete, he’s also a team player and a dedicated coach.
We managed to catch up with the fastest man on the sand to ask him some important questions about his training, advice for up & coming athletes, and some of his favourite things. Get his responses below…
How often do you train? During the on-season, I train six to seven times a week, which is made up of three running, three gym, and one flags session.
My coach (Claire Rafferty) is really nice and doesn’t make me do too much during the off-season. On a good week I might run twice, sometimes Claire runs with me to keep me company. I also do a lot of work with my strength and conditioning coaches (Flow Performance) to work on any weaknesses, and to build a good foundation for the following season.
What advice would you give to emerging athletes hoping to follow your footsteps? The best advice I could pass on is to firstly, keep chasing your goals. Whether they are short or long term.
Secondly, listen to your coaches. We have some of the best coaches in Australia here in WA, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in their chosen field that they are willing to pass on.
Thirdly, it’s hard to achieve individual and/or team success alone. I think having a squad with the right culture is important.
What’s something most people don’t know about you? Most people probably don’t know I have an older brother. I might regret saying this, but he’s probably a more talented athlete than me.
How many more years do you hope to compete for? I’d love to be able to race at a high level for a couple more years as I still have a few things I’d like to try and achieve, then I can happily retire before I reach Masters.
What was the first sport you ever played? I played Rugby Union for Cottesloe.
What is your spirit animal and why? I’d probably say a monkey because I’m a bit cheeky and annoying, but can be kind of funny sometimes.
What is your favourite date on the SLSWA calendar? I’d probably say the week of AUSSIES, competing with the Western Suns state team. Being able to race for WA is pretty awesome and something I hope I can do for a few more years. There’s always a lot of banter and it’s the rare chance you can team up and race with mates from other clubs instead of racing against them.
But I think most people would know Mad Monday is my all-time favourite day
Do you have any post-race rituals? I wouldn’t say I have any post-race rituals, but I’ll always make sure I shake everyone’s hand who raced and thank my coaches, regardless if it’s a pre-season carnival or Aussies.
If you could eat pre-season food for the rest of your life, what would it be? I love a good meat pie.
Describe your perfect weekend? Beach, coffee, a round of golf then a couple of quiet drinks with some mates followed by a nice early morning kebab.
Dogs or cats? Dogs.
Does Pineapple belong on Pizza? No. There are people who put pineapple on pizza?
If you could time travel, when would you go? I wouldn’t mind being able to go back to the mid/late ’90s when Australia was good at rugby union, as it’s been a tough 10+ years watching them struggle.
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