Emerald powerlifter represents Australia
AT 39, Cass Pickard is finding her niche in powerlifting and proving she has the knack for the sport.
Cass will represent Australia at the Oceania and Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in New Zealand in December.
"It's pretty cool to be starting a new sport and representing Australia and I'm not quite 40," Cass said.
Perhaps what's more amazing is that Cass only attended her first powerlifting competition in February this year and has consistently bettered her personal best at competitions throughout the year.
"To be representing Australia in less than 12 months hasn't sunk in yet, it wasn't a goal I set but it's exciting," she said.
Guided by her coach, world powerlifting champion and world record holder Katrina Robertson, Cass is now ranked 12th in the top 20 women lifters in Australia and is ranked third in her 63-72kg weight division.
"Working with Katrina helped with my confidence," Cass said.
With her training designed for her to peak at the competition, Cass said having Katrina as her coach was fabulous.
"She knows just what to say," she said.
Preparation for a competition starts eight weeks out as Cass slowly builds up the weight and mixes her training with swimming and an active family lifestyle.
The New Zealand competition comprises three squat lifts, bench press lifts and deadlifts.
A mother of two children under three, Cass said she was incredibly lucky to have a husband who completely supported her in the sport.
She described it as a constant juggling act, working part-time, training and being a mum and a wife.
"It's hard, but you have to put yourself out there, nothing comes easy," Cass said.
"I just love it."
On the positive side though, Cass said her sport allows her family to see more of the country.
Cass and her husband moved to Australia from New Zealand 16 years ago and after briefly living in Townsville, the couple settled in Emerald and quickly called it home.
"I'm now meeting incredible people from all over the world," she said.