Quietly spoken and shy with people she doesn’t know, there’s a fierce competitor just below the peaches and cream complexion, which is what propelled her out of the Queensland sun and into an ice rink.
“I have very fair skin and dad didn’t want us doing indoor sport,” Lockett said. “I started swimming in an indoor pool but didn’t like jumping in the water. A cold ice rink is much better.”
Living away from her Brisbane home and family is “super hard” Lockett admits, but the training conditions in Seoul, Korea make it all worthwhile.
“We miss each other for sure. My younger sister Elyce and I are only sixteen months apart. When we get together it’s like we were never away from each other.”
“I think I am quiet but when you get to know me I’m pretty crazy. When I’m comfortable it’s a different Deanna,” she said.
The ‘different’ Deanna is a committed athlete who may well blaze a trail for Australian women in short track racing.
The 21-year-old has been very close to World Cup podiums and regularly figures in the top ten in a sport where anything can happen and does.
Lockett was the first of the Australians to relocate to South Korea after the Sochi Olympics for training with coach Jae-Su Chun with the express intention of reaching the top five at next February’s Olympic Winter Games. Andy Jung, Pierre Boda and Liam O’Brien followed Lockett and the gang of four have become a tight-knit team.
“We are Australian and our own unit but we train with the Korean team. I’m crazy around my team mates and I like hanging out with them.”
“I’m really serious about what I’m trying to achieve but I like having fun at the same time.”
“Of course, it feels very foreign. Asia is a whole different story. Just walking on the streets I’m stared at so much. Sometimes, when everyone stares at you it can be a bit hard.”
“Being here is purely for the training. One upside is that I get to have my own apartment but I much prefer Australia.”
Looking back at last season Lockett admits it was a rebuilding time after recovering from glandular fever in the 2015/16 season when she was 19-years-old.
“The Glandular fever two years ago threw me off the training I was on and I had to get back into it more last season and I did well. Not as well as I would have hoped. This last season I was making the B Final and I got into one of the A finals in the 1000 metres.”
“By Asian Games something kind of clicked. Before that I was a little reserved I think, so I learned to be more aggressive. At World’s I was taken out after racing really well.”
“The 500 is the most simple because you just go your fastest. The 1000m is more tactical depending if they have fastest third places going through from the quarter finals, which is what happened last year and just changes the whole race.”
“Mostly it’s top two who qualify but lately they’ve been taking the fastest place getters. It was a trend that race organisers started last year.”
“The 1500m is the most tactical. Some have the ability to wait and then go, and there’s a lot more options in the 1500m. The pack can be more spread out and sometimes being able to sit can be easier to move up if you’re strong.”
“Now I’m physically very strong, especially in the weight room and I have a lot more power. I’m always physically up there with all the girls, I just need to get the racing into shape,” Lockett said.
Her favourite event is the 1500m and to make that work better in this Olympic season, Lockett is now more serious about her lesser-favoured 500 metres.
“I am starting to try for the 500 this year because I want to qualify for all three distances so we will give that a go.”
“It’s not my best event but it’s the first in the Olympic schedule. Last Olympics (Sochi) I was really nervous for the 1500 in my first event. This time I’m definitely going after the 500 to blow the nervy cobwebs out.”
Describing herself as “a standard athlete – pretty boring really”, Lockett trains six days a week on a schedule that is counted minute by minute.
A typical day is up at 5.50am, head to rink for 6.20 before warm-up and skate until 9am, followed by dry land training for up to a further two hours.
“We do recovery, have lunch and a nap, then it’s back on the rink at 4pm until 8pm – five days a week. Saturdays is morning training only,” she said.
On Sunday’s the Aussies hang out together but you would also find them most nights eating together as well.
“Because we finish training quite late at night, we go out to eat because food is very cheap. You can buy a good meal for $8 AUD. I quite like Korean food, just not too spicy.”
After the World Championships in March, Lockett headed back to Korea for training with Jae-su before attending a camp in Calgary with the Hungarian National team.
“Calgary was very good and I got really strong there. After Calgary, Jae-su and I went to Italy for three weeks. The goal there was increased altitude. Calgary is high and Cournaueire in Italy is even higher.”
The first of four ISU Short Track World Cups, which are also qualification events for the 2018 Olympics, will be held at the end of September in Budapest, Hungary.
“I will skate all three races for all four Cups. The races are over four days, not three.“
“The more you go through the rounds, the more tired you get, which makes recovery important. Four days of racing is pretty long and mentally tiring too. You can’t relax.”
“My goal is top five. Once you’re in the top five, anything can happen. Yeah… we’ll see. There’s nothing in the top five, the top ten really. It’s just a matter of how the racing goes and who is the smartest.”
After the Budapest World Cup, the short trackers head to the second qualifier at Dordrecht in the Netherlands on October 7-8 before a month-long competitive break ahead of the Shanghai World Cup in China on November 9-10.
The final World Cup will be held in Seoul on November 18-19, after which the ISU will inform the National Olympic Committees of their allocated quota places.