Anchored in the efforts to spotlight Ontario University Athletics (OUA) student-athletes, the initiative See How She Got Started showcases and tells the story of how some of the conference’s talented student-athletes first got involved in sport and have made their way to the varsity stage on which they currently shine. It is also hoped that their stories can inspire young athletes to aspire to compete in varsity-level sports.
Year of Eligibility -
Program of Study -
Social Development Studies
How did you first get involved in your sport?
I’ve been golfing since I was five or six years old with my dad's clubs. My dad got me into the game and his best friend used to teach me at my old home course before it was torn down and before my dad's friend passed away.
What most interested you about your sport that made you want to pursue it at a high level?
The competition and the community. Knowing there is a community of women out there who could play at such a high level draws me to play high level golf.
Was there a specific moment/experience that led you to believe you could compete in your sport at a high level, and if so, what was it?
I would say being able to watch the Ladies Professional Golf Association's (LPGA) Manulife Classic Golf Tournament that was held near my hometown. It was so great to be around people associated with the LPGA. I also got the chance to meet my idol Jennifer Kirby, a Canadian LPGA golfer who's from the next town over from my hometown.
What is your fondest memory/experience of being involved in your sport thus far?
My fondest memory is definitely having the chance to come to play as part of the University of Waterloo golf team. I love having the ability to be apart of a community of girls who have the same interest and share the love for a sport. It's so much fun to be able to pack the team into a SUV to go to tournaments together. Travel time to tournaments is amazing team bonding time.
Is there someone who inspires you to continue to pursue your sport at this high level (i.e., coach, professional athlete, family member, etc.) and what makes them an inspiration to you?
My coach Carla Munch is someone who inspires me to keep playing. I have had multiple knee injuries that have taken me out of sport for periods of time. She’s the only coach I’ve ever had who has taken the time to help me learn to swing again and be there each time I dealt with an injury and once I was ready to try again to get back into the sport. I have also lost my mom and old coach to cancer. So knowing they both would be so proud of how far I’ve come and the resiliency I’ve shown, that inspires me too.
What excites you most about continuing your athletic journey at the varsity level within the OUA?
I love being able to travel and meet more people who love the game and to see university golf grow into such a community. The chance to build friendships and relationships both on and off the course is a great part of the game.
What is/are some of the more unique aspect(s) of your sport that others may not know about?
Golf is a very physical and mental game. You have to be able to plan your shots in your head and adapt to when your shots don’t go plan.
If someone else was looking to start playing your sport, what one piece of advice would you give them to get them started?
Just go and start. Go out and just practice hitting the ball. Don’t worry about all the technicalities. Having the ability to even hit the golf ball is a learned skill. Take the time to build that skill and then you can go from there. For most, golf is just about the fun to be outside and being social while exercising.
What is one critical thing that you do to try to continue to experience improvement within your sport (i.e., specific drill/exercise, training regimen, routine, etc.)?
I’m constantly doing physiotherapy on my knee as well as strengthing it in the gym. I’m also working on making sure I square up the club face and not letting the club come over the top. I do spend time to work on keeping my swing as pain free as possible.
What would you say to your 10-year-old self about playing and staying in sport?
I would tell her to keep going. It gets better. Sports can be so competitive - especially in a male dominated sport like golf. There’s someone out there that’s going to be inspired by you one day, so just keep going, do your best and have fun with it.
Is there one strategy that you find works well for you in creating a positive student/athlete balance in your life?
It's super important to be organized. I use a planner to make sure no tournaments conflict and to make sure I can organize the work I have to do effectively. It's also important to tell your professors right away that you play competitive sports for the school and if there is any due dates you may need to make up. Strong communication between you and your professors is super important.
Head to the SWSCD Athlete Advisor, your online athletic business directory. Find, rate and review programs, local community offerings and businesses that will help you do your thing.
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Have a sport, recreation or physical activity accomplishment you'd like to celebrate and shout out through SWSCD? Become a SWSCD member and share your story directly on SeeWhatSheCanDo. Or, simply add the hashtag #seewhatshecando to your public social media posts and SWSCD can help you inspire others around you.
Blog by Caroline Wiley. Caroline bridged her 20+ years of professional experience in the sport and recreation industry together with her passions for photography and supporting women in sport to create SeeWhatSheCanDo. Her vision is to create a welcoming space where active women find a sense of belonging within their own local community, see themselves in authentic and awe-inspiring ways and find resources to help them be their best active selves.
Photos courtesy of Ontario University Athletics and SeeWhatSheCanDo unless otherwise indicated.
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