#TeamUniSA Profile: Steve McKenna Student-Athlete

Kirralee Thomas


This week we profile one of our elite student-athletes, Steve McKenna. Steve is a decorated triathlete who last year recorded one of the fastest debuts in history at the full ironman triathlon distance - completing it in eight hours and 17 minutes! Steve won our 2019 UniSA Male Athlete of the Year Award, having also been a finalist for the same award in 2018. Learn more about Steve and how he’s adapted his busy schedule this year.

What course are you studying at UniSA?

DBLD Law and Marketing.

What sport/s do you play?

Triathlon (swim, bike, run).

What are the highlights of your sporting achievements?

Ranked second in the world for the 2019 Challenge Family Triathlon series (now ranked in the top 50 long course triathletes in the world).

As an elite athlete, how has your training/competition been affected by COVID-19 this year?

Training: I couldn't swim in a pool for a few months, otherwise it wasn’t a big issue.
Racing: Completely written off for 2020 so far, hoping that some Australian races go ahead by September/October, but definitely no international racing until 2021 at least :(

What does a typical day look like for you while balancing training and study?

My days change so much that it’s probably best to add up the weekly hours as some days are 100% training and some are 50/50 etc. However, in a week I generally train around 20-30 hours (too much... triathlon demands a lot of time!), work 15-20 hours, coach 4-5 hours (I'm online coaching eight amateur athletes) and study with whatever time I have left! I’m a part-time student completing 2-4 subjects per year with such a demanding schedule outside of Uni. I actually planned on quitting my casual employment so that I could train and study more in 2020 (to finish my degree finally), but COVID is a jerk and I kept the day job! Haha.

Steve McKenna images

How are you connecting with your coach/squad?

Not too much has changed, I connect online before and after as my coach lives in Byron Bay, NSW. I prefer the distance as working, studying and training autonomously is never an issue for me.

What music are you listening to at the moment to keep you motivated?

Never seems to change for me, regardless of wanting to chill out, fire up or motivate myself it is always the same indie bands I'll listen to... The Jungle Giants, Circa Waves, the 1975, Holy Holy, The Kooks, Two Door Cinema Club, The Wombats, Phoenix... All day every day.

Name some of your hobbies besides sport?

Outside triathlon, I also love wine, cheese, beers and music with friends and don't really have time to fit in any new/other interests - socialising is definitely my only release and unfortunately it’s pretty rare, but when it happens I can fully appreciate the moment and enjoy myself and the company of those I love.


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