Spotlight on Sarah Dacres-Mannings – dietitian

Spotlight on Sarah Dacres-Mannings – dietitian

What is your proudest moment as a team dietitian?

I have been lucky to have worked extensively in elite sport including at the AIS, Victorian and NSW Institutes of Sport, Australian Rugby Institute, NSW Rugby, three rugby league teams over 17 years, Bangarra Dance Company, Sydney Kings Basketball, Northern Spirit Soccer as well as with world champion surfers, ballet dancers, elite swimmers, triathletes and many others. So it’s so difficult to pick any one moment! But helping each athlete meet or surpass their goals always gives me a buzz – that might mean helping a team win a World Championship or a Grand Final, or a teen triathlete to significantly reduce their fatigue, or a school boy rugby player to put on 10 – 15kg!


What lead you to choosing dietetics?

I spent half my childhood & teenage years on a large family farm where we produced beef cattle and lamb; we also had a few dairy cows, chickens and a big fruit and veggie garden. I loved the connection to the land and understanding where our food comes from. I think it also made me very aware of the importance of eating well. Training as a dietitian allowed me to combine my love of science with my background of healthy eating and food production.


How did you become a dietitian?

I completed a science degree majoring in biochemistry and physiology, and then went on to do two years of post graduate study in dietetics. The post grad course was tough to get into, with only 25 people in NSW accepted. I later added Sports Dietitian qualifications and a Level 3 (International Instructors Level) of Anthropometry (body composition measurement). After many years I have been awarded a Sports Dietitian Fellow (Education) the only one in NSW of which I am very proud, a Fellow is the highest level a Sports Dietitian can obtain.


If you hadn’t become a dietitian, what other profession would you have liked to pursue?

Possibly medicine, or my other favourite subjects were economics and maths.


What is your own sporting background?

I come from a “sporty family” and did every sport possible at school including tennis, netball, and athletics. My favourite was netball: I played at a high level in my teens and during university I played A-grade netball, as well as for Sydney Open and Under 21’s. Being a part-time country kid I did a lot of horse riding working on the family farm mustering cattle and sheep, and competed in various events on weekends. I especially loved show jumping.

My knees decided I needed a change of sport so I took up rowing. I ended up rowing for Sydney University and then as an elite light weight.

In more recent years I have taken up ocean swimming & have really enjoyed learning how to navigate the ocean and rips. I love doing ocean swim races with friends and we now have a Dynamic Dietitians swim team which is great fun. I play tennis socially but am injured at present.


What is your greatest sporting achievement?

That’s a tough one … my aim is always to perform to the best of my ability in whatever sport I am doing, and when I’m able to do that it always feels like a great achievement regardless of the result!

While I am proud of my first gold medal as a light weight rower, and the silver medal I won at the World Masters Rowing Championships, the day I did clear rounds all day at a show jumping event, was a special day. A-grade netball for me was a buzz, and being selected to play Netball for Sydney Opens when I was 18 was also terrific!


What’s been your worst sports injury?

Netball knees – torn menisci which meant a stop to running and netball.


Which sporting legend would you most like to invite to dinner?

I have been lucky to meet so many sporting legends but I would definitely invite swim coach, Laurie Lawrence.



He would keep everyone amused with his fantastic personality and great sense of humour!

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