Thursday, April 27, 2023

Passionate for triathlon and inclusion

Ben Luscombe
Triathlon Coach

Being a full time professional triathlon coach, and former professional triathlete, it was great when Katie and I first connected in 2016 when she won gold in para-triahtlon at the Rio Paralympics. More recently we've been chatting about cochlear as I made the transition, and we are both very passionate about inclusion in sport and triathlon.

Starfish Fitness started in 2001 as a new concept of outdoor training focusing for young children on participation, fun and wellbeing. We are an inclusive club, and proud to fundraise each year for Sport Access Foundation. Having lived experience with disability through hearing loss, I appreciate the challenges that young children with disability can faced when they have additional changes.

We pride ourselves on being an inclusive club, and have been from the beginning. Our young members include a diverse range of children with different needs, and from a coaching perspective we always take the time to understand the best way to engage and coach them. Importantly we want to ensure no child feels any different from others.

I have known Sport Access Foundation Founder Katie Kelly for some years now, and we both share our experiences of hearing loss. Katie has talked to me about how I coped and managed the transition from wearing Hearing Aids to Cochlear. It's no easy path. For me it was particularly challenging as Starfish is my full time business, and I have a young family. For many months I could not hear well, and I would say it took me a good 12 months to adapt.

I was greatly supported by my wife, club staff and family and friends. What I am grateful for is how the young members of Starfish experience a coach with hearing loss. It helps normalise for them when people and young people have a disability or impairment. That's the great benefit of inclusion and diversity in all our communities.

Starfish is based at Alexandra Hills in Brisbane and we welcome our whole community who are keen to develop or improve their fitness in swimming, or triathlon.

Our full-enclosed and heated learn-to-swim facility is led by myself, and an amazing team of AUSTSWIM© qualified instructors. We provide a safe and encouraging environment to learn how to swim and teach life-long skills. Using a holistic approach, we provide the platform to build essential life skills in and out of the water. We love watching young children overcome their fears, learn to swim, respect the water, and have lots of fun while doing it.

Starfish is also a registered Triathlon Queensland andTriathlon Australia club where we value health, fun, community, and respect in the sport of triathlon.

Each year Starfish Fitness has been fundraising on Australia Day for Sport Access Foundation. We were stoked to have Katie join us in one year and it was after she had already done a hard morning of training, to help the Club reach its target 100 x 100m.

You can find out more about us via

Photo description: Katie Kelly to the right, with StarFish Fitness Club founder Ben Luscombe. Both smiling and wearing StarFish Fitness caps.


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