When Val Adams is going for the shot put gold at the London Olympics on Monday 6 August, an AUT academic will be one of the most interested spectators in the crowd.
AUT postgraduate supervisor Professor Mike McGuigan is the reigning Olympic champion’s strength and power coach when she is in New Zealand.
Professor McGuigan is one of a number of academics and postgraduate students who will be guiding Kiwi athletes towards their Olympics goals.
It will be a tense time for McGuigan who has been monitoring Adams’s power and strength outputs at AUT Millennium as she prepares to defend the title she won in Beijing.
But it will not be Professor McGuigan’s only focus during the 10 days of athletics competition at the London Olympic Stadium.
Preparing for the games at AUT Millennium
He is also the strength and power coach of New Zealand’s top heptathlete and AUT graduate Sarah Cowley. He is part of a team that will help the Commonwealth Games representative perform at her peak during her two days of competition at London Olympics.
“He’s the man,” says the Olympic hopeful during a training session at the High Performance Sport New Zealand training and recovery area at AUT Millennium Campus.
McGuigan supervises eight PhD students for AUT doing research in a range of strength and power areas with the objective of gaining knowledge that will help Kiwi athletes in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and beyond.
He epitomises the close relationship between HPSNZ and AUT – a relationship that has been built on mutual respect and a proven track record of success he says.
Postgraduate students working with Olympians
AUT postgraduate students have worked with top athletes across a number of sports for years like Trent Lawton who is working as a senior Strength and Conditioning coach for New Zealand Rowing while completing his PhD thesis.
The AUT student worked with the rowing team as they prepared for the London Olympics at Lake Karipiro.
Masters student Sarah Manson, originally from Canada, has been helping a number of Football Ferns in the SPRINZ strength and conditioning laboratory.
McGuigan says he enjoys working with AUT as it provides him with the opportunity to conduct applied research while working with top athletes across a range of sports.
“As a practitioner, I’ve really enjoyed the variety of working with High Performance Sport New Zealand.
“Working at a place like AUT Millennium is great as sport scientists work next door to coaches of elite sportspeople. It is an example of how integration can work really well.
“The knowledge gained from one sport is transferable and can be used in other sports. I also really enjoy working so closely with other strength and conditioning coaches.”
Mike McGuigan, strength and power coach to olympian Val Adams.
Other academics and students who have been working with Kiwi athletes competing at London 2012
Dr Nigel Harris (Associate director SPRINZ) - Strength and conditioning, Alexis Pritchard
Paul Laursen (postgraduate supervisor) - Physiologist, endurance sports
Simon Pearson (Research associate) - Biomechanist, athletics and yachting
Tom Vandenbogaerde (Research associate) - Physiologist to swimming
John Cowell (PhD student) - Strength and conditioning, BMX
Daniel Plews (PhD student) - Physiologist, rowing
Albert Chang (PhD student) - Strength and conditioning, swimming
Marrisa Downes (Masters student) - Strength and conditioning, hockey and football
Trent Lawton (PhD student) - Strength and conditioning, rowing
Sarah Manson (Masters student) - Strength and conditioning, Football Ferns
Jordan Salesa (MHPrac Graduate) - Chief Physiotherapist
Louise Johnson (ADP and Diploma in Physio Graduate) - Team Physio and in charge of Val Adams
Pip Charlesworth (MHPrac student) - Physio to NZ Sailing
James Saunders (PGDip HSc - Musculoskeletal) - Physio to NZ Canoe racing
Craig Newlands (MHSc student supervised by Duncan Reid) - Physio to NZ Rowing
Gavin D’Souza (BHSc Physiotherapy graduate) - Physio to NZ Mens Hockey graduate
Duncan Reid - Director of rehabilitation HPSNZ
AUT academics and students were at the London Olympics. The University’s Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) is the premier sport science research facility in New Zealand. Located at the AUT Millennium Campus, the SPRINZ laboratory is being used by sport scientists who work with athletes going to the next Olympics in Rio 2016.In addition the University’s Elite Athlete Programme is attracting some of NZ’s top sports people including many Olympians. The programme assists elite sportspeople compete at the top level while they gain qualifications for life after sport.
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