A record number of Bond University students are preparing to represent Australia in the pool from today, with five to wear the green and gold after being named in the 70-strong national squad.
Alexander Graham, Laura Taylor, Minna Atherton, Elijah Winnington and Madeline Groves all made the Australian Swimming Team, after putting in stellar performances at the four-day 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials on the Gold Coast last month.
The five Bond students are recipients of the Georgina Hope Rinehart Swimming Excellence Scholarship, one of Australia’s most prestigious sporting scholarships designed for high performance swimming scholars to compete at an elite level, while gaining a world-class university degree.
The students are also part of the Bond Elite Sport Program (BESP), which aims to make it easy for student-athletes to balance university and their sporting careers through flexible study loads.
The Australian Swimming Team, which includes 21 para-sport athletes, has 40 representatives from Queensland, 10 from New South Wales, nine from Victoria, six from Western Australia and five from South Australia.
Along with the five Bond University students, Bond University Swimming Club member Cameron McEvoy also made the national team, and Bond University Swimming Head Coach Richard Scarce has been named among the coaches.
At 17-years-old, Winnington is the youngest male in the Australian side, with 17-year-old Atherton - a former world junior backstroke champion - and Taylor - the new national 200 butterfly champion - also among the team 'rookies'.
Bond University Swimming Coach, Kyle Samuelson, said all the athletes had put in a top performance to land a much-coveted position in the Australian Swimming Team.
"I'm sure the whole Bond community will get behind these young athletes, as they soak up the once-in-a-lifetime experience of competing in an event of this scale on their home turf," he said.
Mr Samuelson said the Georgina Hope Rinehart Swimming Excellence Scholarship, now in its fourth year, and the Bond Elite Sport Program aimed to support the young swimmers in achieving their ambition in the pool and the classroom.
"These programs are first-class in assisting student athletes to reach their potential in their sport - and to prepare them for life afterwards," he said.
"All five of our athletes work really hard at their studies, and this recent achievement is a testament to their commitment and determination to reach their full potential in all areas."
Mrs. Gina Rinehart, Patron of Swimming Australia said “It’s wonderful to see our scholarship recipients excel both in and out of the pool. We certainly saw that at the recent exciting 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials, held on the Gold Coast.
"Congratulations to our hard working and dedicated swimmers representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games. These athletes are very special young Ambassadors for our country. Our very best wishes to you, for the Commonwealth Games.”