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Bond and Gina Rinehart launch scholarship for tomorrow's swimming superstars

Bond University today announced the launch of the Georgina Hope Rinehart Swimming Excellence Scholarship, which will allow two young Australian swimmers to study at Bond University on the Gold Coast each year for the next three years, with financial support for tuition and living expenses to be provided as part of their scholarship package.

The students– who must excel in swimming, possess leadership qualities and be of high academic standing– will be personally mentored by Bond’s stable of Olympic swimming champions.

Many Australian swimming champions are graduates or current Bond University students. These include Melanie Schlanger, Andrew Baildon, Chris Fydler, Jon Sieben, Daniel Kowalski, Annabelle Williams, Karni Liddel, Jade Neilson and Lara Davenport. 

Gina Rinehart’s commitment to Australian sporting excellence, in particular elite-level swimming, is well known and dates back more than 20years. During this time she has supported WA and QLD Swimming through the Hancock Family Medical Foundation and more recently has provided significant funding to Swimming Australia, through the creation of the Georgina Hope Foundation Swimmers’ Support Scheme.

Earlier this year, the leading West Australian businesswoman, and champion for the advancement and promotion of opportunities for young people, was awarded the Australian Olympic Committee’s Order of Merit for her long standing support of Australian swimming. In recognition of her commitment and contribution to the Australian economy and wider community, Mrs Rinehart was also awarded a prestigious Honorary Doctorate last year.

Bond University’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, said the Georgina Hope Rinehart Swimming Excellence Scholarship would be among the most prestigious scholarships available in Australia.

“Thanks to the generosity and passion of Gina Rinehart, this scholarship will provide an incredible opportunity for some aspiring high performance swimming scholars to compete at an elite level, whilst at the same time gain an outstanding education,” Professor Brailsford said.

“Bond University has a strong and proud association with elite athletes across many sports. This scholarship adds to our commitment to provide the skills and knowledge, support, mentoring and flexibility for athletes to perform to the best of their ability, and prepare them for a career beyond the pool,” Professor Brailsford said. 

“The opportunity to be mentored by Olympic champions and be based on the Gold Coast in the lead-up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, with access to some of the best swimming coaches in Australia, is the chance of a lifetime for these young swimmers,” Professor Brailsford said.

As scholarship Patron, Mrs Rinehart said the provision of financial support to these young swimmers will allow them to focus on their training, performance and education, and alleviate the pressures that many young athletes and students face.

“It is imperative that Australia’s next generation of swimming champions gain a quality education and leadership skills that will enhance their performance as elite athletes, and provide them with career opportunities beyond their sport,” Mrs Rinehart said.

“This partnership with Bond University is an exciting new initiative and will provide hard-working, committed and talented young athletes with an opportunity to realise their full potential and achieve their goals,” said Mrs Rinehart.

The scholarship is open to males and females between 17 and 25 years of age who are eligible to compete for Australia; are swimming at a very high level for a school or club; have a high quality academic record; and who possess leadership qualities.

In November 2014, the first round of applications will be assessed by a selection committee, which will include legendary yachtsman and President of Swimming Australia, Mr John Bertrand.

The awardees will commence studies in 2015 and will also compete for Bond University at state, national and international levels if selected.

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