She represented England in lacrosse at three World Cups—now Dr Rachel Kirchheimer of Glenhuntly Road Veterinary Clinic in Victoria is playing for Australia
“I went to school in the north of London where I was first introduced to lacrosse. I loved it immediately. It’s great fun to play, much less hunched over than hockey, and the fastest game on two feet.
“Each player carries a stick with a net on the end. You can run with the ball, pass the ball between players and then shoot towards a goalie who defends a cage. The goalie has a larger stick than the field players that she uses to try and stop the ball.
“Before I moved to Australia, I worked my way up through the various divisions of lacrosse, playing for my school, then for the county, and eventually I was selected to represent England. I played in three World Lacrosse Championships and we were the European champions. In the first World Cup in which I competed, we got bronze and Australia won the gold. The next two World Cups saw England come in fourth, just missing out on the bronze.
“I moved to Melbourne in 2009 and immediately contacted some lacrosse clubs in the area. I joined the Newport Ladies Lacrosse Club and one of the coaches at that time was also the Australian coach. I’m currently in the Australian squad trying for the next World Cup that will be played in England. It will be interesting when Australia plays England because I still know a few women on the English team.
“Working as a full-time vet, it can be challenging to fit in the nine training sessions per week that are required to play at this level. I’m also studying towards a certificate in small animal soft-tissue surgery. Luckily, I have a very supportive boyfriend and work environment.
“I’ve been involved with lacrosse for 20 years and though I love the sport, it’s the people who really make the game. There’s not that many of us in Australia but everyone here has real passion and commitment.
“To be a good lacrosse player, you need to be athletic with the ability to run non-stop. The stick is designed to be used with both hands so you need to be dextrous. You also need good motor skills to catch the ball on the fly. It’s a fantastic sport to play and watch. We just need to increase the number of players in Australia!”