At the recent Joe Hensel Memorial weightlifting competition held in Newcastle, all four members of the McGavern Family competed. It’s rare for all four members of one family to compete in the same sport, on the same day, at such a high level — and yet it is becoming something of a McGavern family tradition.
The heads of the family, Lisa and Dan, have a rich history of sporting achievement. And they have always strived to instill in their children, Max and Mara, the positive benefits of sport and fitness.
Starting relatively late in their lives, Dan and Lisa found weightlifting through CrossFit. Dan considers CrossFit his main pursuit today, while Lisa prefers the discipline and strength of weightlifting. Both hold numerous state and national Masters records in Olympic lifting and have won numerous state and national titles over the past few years.
They enjoy setting goals, travelling to meets, and experiencing the sights and foods of various cities around Australia. It’s a great chance to do something together, while still maintaining health and fitness later in life.
At 50 years old, Lisa trains three times a week at Hunter Barbell Club under the coaching of Troy Smith. She reluctantly recalls her first all-comers competition, where she was categorised in the “super heavyweight” division. This sparked something inside her, and Lisa went on to lose 15kg. She now consistently competes in a lower weight class, all the while increasing her strength and lifts.
At 45, Dan trains mostly in the home garage gym under under the RAW Strength & Conditioning Masters Program in CrossFit. There is plenty of Olympic lifting movements programmed for Dan to keep his numbers up, and to finesse his technique through video analysis. Plus, he makes the odd trip into Hunter Barbell for a tune up.
At 14, Max trains twice a week and competes in weightlifting mostly to supplement his rugby union aspirations. Now entering his mid teens, he is noticing the vast difference that Olympic weightlifting training is having on his overall strength, power, agility, mobility, balance and confidence.
He has been training in these movements for over three years. Max won a silver medal at Under 15’s National Titles in 2018. He qualified for Nationals in 2019 but broke his thumb in a rugby grand final three weeks before the meet.
At just 10 years old, Mara has already been a gymnast, track and field athlete, and equestrienne. So she’s racked up quite a few achievements in a short time. She has seen the joy, strength and confidence that weightlifting has brought to her brother and parents, and asked this year to also start the sport.
Mara finds the time once a week to train at Hunter Barbell Club and competed in her first meet at the Joe Hensel Memorial. She lifted 6/6 for the day and, after winning her division, was also awarded the best lifter in the McGavern household.
The McGaverns have a lot of goals moving into 2020. Weightlifting keeps them motivated and disciplined to keep improving. It’s a great sport for a family — to share in the highs and lows. It teaches respect and, as there’s no place to hide out there on the platform, there’s little room for making excuses.