Mental toughness spurs Jacinta to nationals
WEIGHTLIFTING: It was September 2016 when Jacinta Denham first had the idea she wanted to be a powerlifter.
"I wanted to be good at something, and I was searching for whatever that may be," she said. "I wanted to be strong."
It was the perfect storm for Denham who, in her words, is stubborn and always up for a challenge. Born with a congenital anomaly, nothing has stood in the way of Denham achieving her goals when she puts her mind to the task: it makes her more determined.
It was about the time Denham watched the Rio Olympics she found Jay Hodges at Elite Strength and Conditioning, and with a state podium in April and a sixth-placed finish at the GPC Australia national titles under her belt, it is clear she has never looked back.
Denham's transition from powerlifting for fun into competition was powered by Jay.
"Jay could see how strong I was (but) it took a while for me to believe him," she said.
Once she believed, there was nothing to stop her.
Denham finished third at the state titles after she cleared a total of 330kg: 132.5kg in the squat, 57.5kg in the bench and 147.5kg in the deadlift.
At nationals, just two months later, she cleared 140kg in the squat, 57.5kg in the bench and 150kg in the deadlift to finish middle of the field with a total of 347.5kg.
"I was pretty nervous about state, I put a lot of pressure on myself and wanted to do well. With family and friends in the crowd was uplifting," she said.
"I guess that's when it started to sink in, that maybe I am strong. My way of thinking is I didn't come this far to come this far, it's only the beginning for me and I'm going to get stronger.
"(Nationals) was an amazing experience, one of the highlights of my life."
Hodges worked closely with Denham and Seana Malone from November with the national titles in mind.
"We had to alter the training to make sure they were ready for state but not wrecked for nationals," Hodges said.
"Normally they need three weeks' break after a comp but they only got three days.
"It is a bit of a learning curve for me as well, learning how their bodies work and their mindsets. Now they'll have two or three weeks off.
"Their results speak for their efforts, they've done well."