Lucy Jacobs

Lucy Jacobs

Exercise Physiologist, High Performance Sport New Zealand
Master of Sport and Exercise with Honours (First Class)

SPRINZ is an awesome place to do higher study, says Lucy Jacobs who came to AUT to complete a Master of Sport and Exercise; a qualification she completed in 2023.

“Everyone at the AUT Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) is super welcoming and helpful. It’s nice to be around other students, especially when you’re working on the thesis for your postgraduate programme. I really enjoyed the flexibility of both online and in-person learning, I was able to work, study and intern simultaneously, which really helped me when I went to apply for roles."

For her master’s degree research, she looked at neck and hand cooling for endurance running in extreme heat, supervised by Professor Andrew Kilding from AUT’s School of Sport and Recreation.

“I was interning at High Performance Sport New Zealand at the time, and the Tokyo Olympics were predicted to be the hottest ever on record. There were huge questions around keeping athletes cool for performance and finding a product to do this.

“High Performance Sport New Zealand developed a product in house, and I was thrilled to research the efficacy of it specifically for the Tokyo Olympics conditions, which were predicted to be 35°C and 75% humidity. Athletes competing in extreme heat is only becoming more common, so I hope my research adds to the knowledge around during-event cooling for performance and thermosensitive areas.”

Working with New Zealand’s top athletes
The main reason for her to take on postgraduate study was her goal to work in high performance sport, says Lucy who is now working with the country’s top athletes in her role as an exercise physiologist for High Performance Sport New Zealand.

“I chose to do the Master of Sport and Exercise to further my physiological and research knowledge with the hope of working in high performance sport in the future. I knew I would need higher study and hands-on research in a lab to apply for the roles I was interested in, and AUT was the standout option with its staff and access to AUT Millennium.”

She loves the variety her work offers.

“On a day-to-day basis I provide physiological support to athletes and coaches in the New Zealand Sailing Team and the Canoe Slalom New Zealand programme. I use my postgraduate study knowledge every day in my job. From physiological profiling in the lab, environmental training, to training periodisation and monitoring – every day is different!

“I'm super proud to have been involved in the build-up to recent pinnacle events like the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with various sports. I'm part of the Preparation and Recovery Team for the New Zealand Paralympic team in Paris this year where I'll be assisting athletes and coaches with any physical and recovery needs they have during Games time, which is super exciting.”

Advice for other students
Lucy has some great advice for other students who are considering postgraduate study in sport and recreation.

“My advice is lean into the topics that interest you. Postgraduate study is both challenging and rewarding, but it’s made so much easier if you love what you’re researching. Also, ask for help! There are so many students and staff at AUT who are willing to share their knowledge. It'll save you time and you'll make some great connections.”

She wouldn’t hesitate to recommend AUT’s postgraduate programmes to others.

“I’d definitely recommend AUT postgraduate study for those who want to extend their knowledge about sport science and make great connections in the industry.”