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Mother and son put Australia on the curling map

24 May 2017

CURLING: It’s not every day an Australian mother and son duo join forces to compete at the Mixed Doubles Curling World Championships.

But for Lynn and Dean Hewitt, that is exactly what they did.

The Hewitt’s have returned home from Lethbridge, Canada where they took on the world’s best mixed curling pairs and placed 18th out of a 40-strong field.

“It’s every curlers’ dream to play at this level,” Lynn said on reflection of the World Championships.

“I have tried at many occasions to play (at this level) in the women’s competition but this was my first opportunity to play in mixed doubles, which is a relatively new discipline.

“It was a dream come true.”

After victories against the Netherlands, Israel and Austria, and only losing to China – the eventual 2017 bronze medallists and 2016 silver medallists – by one point, the Hewitt’s finished the competition ranked fourth in their pool of eight, with the top three in each pool advancing to the finals.

Canadian born Lynn has been curling for 42 years and compares the sport nicknamed ‘chess on ice’ in Canada to cricket in Australia, saying everyone in Canada “knows how to curl or has curled at one time or another.”

Along with her Australian curling husband Steve, the Hewitt’s have both represented Australia and introduced their son Dean to the sport at a young age.

While some might think the pressure of a World Championship event could create tension between a mother and son team, Dean and Lynn said they thrived on the competitive environment.

“Dean and I get along really well, we understand each other a lot and know what makes us tick,” Lynn said.

“We had areas we had to work on and we entered a couple of earlier events that taught us how to communicate better on ice, but by the time we got to the Worlds we were sailing and it was all positive talk and really good.

“It’s really good because you do understand each other so well and you can be honest with your child.

“I think we’re all the better for it that we’re from the same family.”

The Melbourne-based household only has access to an ice rink at the O’Brien Group Arena in Docklands once a week.

With limited ice time, they schedule in three gym sessions a week and have technical and strategy training sessions watching the world’s best curlers on YouTube.

While Australia is yet to qualify a curling team for the Winter Olympic Games and they have missed out on a quota spot for PyeongChang 2018, for exercise physiology university student Dean, there is still a future Olympic dream to aim for.

“It’s definitely on my radar for sure,” the 22-year-old said.

“I am trying to get to the Olympics for mixed doubles but also for men’s, which is only for the top 10 [qualifying teams] at the moment, so again really tough but something we’re striving towards and hopefully we can get there one day.”

However, there is more to curling for Dean and Lynn than their performance on the ice.

“There’s something for everyone in the sport; there are not many sports where both males and females can play equally together,” Lynn said.

“When I got to the Worlds I looked around me at 40 other countries and the fact that we all enjoy the sport, and we all get along, and we all have fun made me think ‘if only politicians could play curling!’” she laughed.

Dean agreed with his mum, it is the positive atmosphere and community environment of the sport that keeps him coming back.

“Definitely comradery is the big one. Being able to socialise and have friends from all over the world through curling is just amazing.”

The Hewitt’s now turn their attention to the New Zealand Winter Games at the end of August, where they will again face several top ranked teams from the World Championships.

Georgia Thompson

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