Jemma Bassi (2012): Shaping Swimming’s Future

After leaving Santa Maria College and fueled by an unrelenting passion for sports science, Jemma Bassi (2012) embarked on a path that would ultimately lead her to the world of elite swimming.

Initially pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a focus on geology and geography for its perceived job security, Jemma soon realised that her true calling lay in sports science, particularly strength and conditioning.

The decision between a conventional, secure path and her dream career filled with uncertainty loomed large. Choosing to chase her passion, Jemma’s university days were characterised by building strong friendships and forging valuable connections with her peers and dedicated instructors. In her second year, she secured a coveted practical placement at the Western Australian Institute of Sport, where she had the opportunity to shadow exercise physiologists and coaches, gaining a firsthand understanding of the real-world application of her studies.

Upon completing her undergraduate degree, Jemma found herself unwilling to part with the academic environment she had come to love. An opportunity arose to participate in an Honors project with the GWS Giants Football Club, which she hoped would serve as her entry into the world of elite sports. However, the experience turned out to be based in Perth, with only a short one-day trip to Sydney. During that trip she was introduced to David Joyce, Head of High Performance at GWS Giants and a pivotal figure in her career. Shadowing David for a day opened her eyes to the dynamic world of strength and conditioning (S & C) coaching, igniting her determination to pursue this as her career path.

After her internship with the GWS Giants, Jemma faced the challenge of securing an internship in the competitive field of strength and conditioning. In 2016, such opportunities were scarce, but with the help of one of her lecturers, who happened to be the head coach at East Perth Football Club at the time, she secured a sports training role. This role allowed her to learn from the club’s S & C coach, and she convinced him to let her become his assistant. From there, Jemma’s career continued to advance, eventually leading her to roles at East Fremantle Football Club, Subiaco Football Club, and Ludus Sports Performance. Simultaneously, she embarked on a Master of Research at the University of Notre Dame, further enriching her qualifications.

Jemma’s journey mirrors ‘the grind’ that many S & C coaches endure, working multiple jobs simultaneously to gain credibility and experience in a demanding industry. She faced gender-related challenges and societal expectations. However, Jemma persevered, remaining authentic to herself and showcasing her unique coaching style and strengths.

Today, Jemma serves as the Physical Preparation Specialist in Swimming at WAIS. Her role involves managing strength and conditioning programs and providing exercise physiology support to swimming programs. She collaborates closely with the head coach and other performance support staff to craft holistic performance-focused programs for each athlete. Currently, she works with a diverse group of swimmers, including both able-bodied and para-athletes, ranging in age from 17 to 26, competing in various pool and open water events.

In a field characterised by adaptability, Jemma’s daily routine varies based on the swimmers’ training phases. Her typical day includes observing and providing physiology and strength and conditioning support on the pool deck, leading gym sessions, handling administrative tasks, and participating in meetings. Challenges have been integral to her journey, from being a female in a male-dominated industry to navigating the demands of ‘the grind’ phase of her career. She emphasises the importance of staying authentic and finding mentors and allies to overcome these challenges.

Jemma’s passion for sports can be traced back to her childhood, where she played various sports, fostering a sense of inclusivity and belonging. She was captivated by the unity and diversity that sports brought to people of different backgrounds and beliefs, inspiring her to pursue a career where she could either play at the highest level or work within the industry.

Beyond her role, Jemma is a member of the Australian Strength & Conditioning Association’s Women’s Advisory Committee in Perth, where she contributes to creating awareness and opportunities for females in strength and conditioning  – a cause close to her heart.

What she loves most about her job is that it doesn’t feel like work. Every day, she is surrounded by like-minded individuals who share her passion for sports and science. Jemma’s core values of empowerment, support, and education find expression in her work, where she impacts athletes’ lives, helping them excel as athletes and individuals. Her role allows her to contribute to athletes’ journeys towards success.

When she needs to unwind, Jemma turns to her love for cooking, a skill honed from her parents’ restaurant ownership. She also enjoys travel and tries to escape on weekend getaways. Spending time with friends, engaging in sports, and embracing the concept of ‘play’ for mental wellbeing are also integral to her downtime.

Jemma’s journey from Santa Maria to becoming a Physical Preparation Specialist in Swimming at WAIS is a testament to her unwavering passion, resilience in the face of challenges, and commitment to empowering athletes and promoting diversity in her field.

Alexa Teixeira’s Journey from Santa Maria College to the screen

From a gap year adventure in California to working alongside Hollywood stars in Western Australia’s thriving screen industry, Alexa Teixeira’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Graduating from Santa Maria College in 2015, Alexa deferred her sports science degree to explore a newfound passion for filmmaking. Her experiences, from Warner Brothers Studio tours to assisting renowned actors like Daisy Ridley, highlight a remarkable career shaped by spontaneous decisions and a deep love for the arts.

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