Hawkesbury pole dancer Caitlin Fitz-Henry has claimed the title of best in the state after taking out first place at the NSW Pole Championships.
Caitlin has been training as a pole dancer and instructor at Poletiques Studio in Richmond for three years and said the state championships was her hardest challenge to date.
“The NSW Pole Championships was one of my biggest goals when I very first started pole to get onto that stage and look like I belong, let alone win,” Caitlin said.
“There were 15 people in my category. The competitors from the Sydney area auditioned VIA video entry, and winners from ACT, TAS and Northern NSW competed in my division.”
Caitlin said adapting to using brass poles instead of her usual stainless steel was difficult and the diameter of the poles was skinnier than she was used to and they were also higher.
But she said it was the mental challenge that proved most difficult.
“The hardest part is the mental preparation in spite of all these things that you think might affect your routine,” Caitlin said.
“I have an intricate physical preparation that really is all for what’s going on in my head.
“I was very sick the week leading up to the night. I hadn’t been capable of getting through the routine for a few days leading up to the competition due to exhaustion. That was unnerving.”
Caitlin believes it was her tenacity in pushing past her usual boundaries that saw her take out first place.
“What I think helped get me the win was not saying “no”. I was given really difficult and scary transitions.
“If it were any other competition I would have tried to adapt it for my own comfort. But I really wanted to belong on that stage and I trained every day until the “difficult” and “scary” transitions were no longer the parts of the routine that scared me.
“These were moves that I put in the “too hard” basket a long time ago, yet with a few months of hard training became natural.”
The next step for Caitlin is now competing for the national title in November.
“I’m very excited to see what all of Australia’s winners have in store. And as of next year I am now considered a professional competitor, so have to keep training like one.”