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Rhiannon Hughe's- Rower, Physio and Triathlete

30 Apr 2020
Randall Cooper
Rhiannon started her life in Alice Springs then moving to South Australia saw her start her studies in Sports Science which is where she was introduced to Rowing and Cycling. Now an avid competitive triathlete and sports physiotherapist, Rhiannon has a very inspiring story.

Rhiannon Hughes’ Story


From the Desert to the Water

I grew up in Alice Springs, so my journey into rowing and then triathlon certainly wasn’t straightforward. My main sport growing up was dancing, which is possibly the least similar sport to rowing you can find.


In fact, my sporting journey mainly began after high school, when I went to Adelaide to study Sports Science at the University of South Australia. The South Australian Sports Institute was conducting a talent identification program which involved a range of physical tests, and I decided to have a go with my friend, in a decision that would change my life.


With the test results in, I was identified as having potential in cycling and rowing, so I decided to throw myself into the latter. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Water was very much a foreign entity to me at that stage!


With no expectations, I grew to love the sport quickly. The SA Sports Institute supported me well, allowing me to progress rapidly. A thirteen-year career saw me represent my local club, South Australia at a number of Australian Rowing Championships and Australia in the 2014 World Rowing Cup, which was a personal highlight.



Into Ironman Triathlon

Trouble with stress fractures and rib injuries forced my retirement from rowing in 2016. As a physiotherapist, I knew when I was failing conservative measures it was probably time to move on. It was time for a new challenge, so I turned towards triathlon as my new sporting venture.


Triathlon was a natural outlet for me, suiting my competitive A-type personality and intense daily exercise routine. I love pushing myself further, and I thrive on the mental and physical challenge of the sport. I quickly gravitated towards longer Ironman 70.3 events in Australia and around the world. These have been incredibly challenging, but equally rewarding; I recently achieved a sub-5-hour PB time which has long been a goal of mine! 


My local Triathlon club in Adelaide, the Lakers have been an immense source of strength and support to me. I love the community at the Club and the people there are a constant source of motivation and inspiration, with the likes of several current Age Group World Champions and 70-year-old devotees. I just want to keep getting better!



How Physiotherapy Makes Me a Better Athlete

In between my sporting escapades, I continued my professional path into physiotherapy. For me this was a natural one; my dad and my sister are both doctors and my mother is a nurse.


I completed a Masters of Physiotherapy at Canberra amidst all my rowing and have now opened up my own private physio practice in Adelaide, called Tweak Physio. I also work onsite at several large companies assisting with manual handling and ergonomic assessments in addition to hands-on treatment.


My education and experience as a physiotherapist help make me a better athlete for sure. The knowledge I have about the way my body works is a massive advantage when I’m competing, because I can immediately analyse and treat a problem which may occur during training. Knowledge is power, after all. In reducing injury time, I am able to spend more time training, resulting in progress. Ultimately, it gives me an important edge, which is crucial in the hyper-competitive world of triathlon racing.



How Premax Helps

I discovered Premax when founder Randall Cooper contacted me through social media. After testing the product, I was immediately hooked. It was designed for athletes and practitioners and I had found my match.


When I’m training and competing, I can’t go past Premax’s Sports Sunscreen and Anti Friction Balm. I particularly enjoy that the Sunscreen is not oily and easy to apply, while the Anti Friction balm is especially useful for triathlon in protecting friction hotspots like my wetsuit neck and heart-rate monitor and preventing saddle sores.


As a physiotherapist I also use Premax’s Massage Cream, my favourite being the original Classic version. It is not sticky like many other massage lotions and is really nice to work with. The great smell is also an attractive selling point and often noted by patients. The quality of the product is a step above the rest.


I’m always happy to recommend Premax to others.  


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