UniSA Sport helping bring McKenna's 'separate lives' together

Kirralee Thomas


Going back-to-back in the Male Athlete of the Year at the 2020 UniSA Sport Awards Night meant a lot of triathlete Steve McKenna because it brought all of his ‘separate lives’ together.

And when he is an inaugural participant in the UniSA Sport Athlete Development Program in 2021, it will bring all his lives closer together again.

McKenna has been studying a double degree of Law and Marketing at UniSA for over nine years while travelling around the world competing in triathlons.

He also juggles part time work and coaching with his study and sporting career.

That’s why the award means a lot to McKenna.

“It’s kind of hard to separate all the lives I have going on from work, training, coaching and uni,” McKenna said.

“It’s good to be part of something within uni as well, it brings everything together, all of my separate lives.

“My study couldn’t be further apart from this professional career I’m doing with triathlon so bringing it all together and being recognised for it is very nice.”

Recently McKenna felt something had to give and he quit his part time job which he wasn’t able to do earlier this year due to COVID-19.

The risk instantly paid off, when McKenna won the Hervey Bay 100 in Queensland against all of Australia’s best triathletes.

“Aussies are some of the best triathletes in the world and there were two ex-world champions in the race as well,” McKenna said.

“So, it meant a lot with who was in the race and especially after taking the risk with the job.”

Now that McKenna doesn’t have the extra income, it makes the creation of the Athlete Development Program even more important.

As an inaugural participant, McKenna gets access to the UniSA Sport facilities and Allied Health Support and can get a tailor-made strength and conditioning program.

“I’m really looking forward to the access to the gym and pool in Pridham Hall, conveniently right next door to the law building where I study which will be amazing,” he said.

“It will save a lot of money having access to state of the art, brand new pool and gym, obviously it all adds up – the pool entry costs over the weeks and years.

“The gym is brand new and huge and if my technique is not quite right it’s going to be beneficial getting the professional help there and if I have any issues, I can book in with a student physio, so that will be incredible too.”

Having this access will help McKenna as he strives for a big 2021 – hopefully completing another three subjects and competing in, and hopefully winning, every race he participates in.

The main target at the end of the year is the World Championships and hopefully improving his ranking from 50th in the world to the top 10 and hopefully UniSA Sport’s support will help him reach it.

See the full list of inaugural Athlete Development Program participants here.


As a Team UniSA member you'll benefit from discounted memberships, get access to 25+ UniSA Sport clubs, have the chance to represent UniSA at intervarsity or community sporting events, and more!