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Sport House rules

It’s a uni house like no other. 

Rather than all night parties, a constant stream of Ubers, and a litter of take away food containers, a peek in the Bond Sports Girls House reveals blenders and protein tubs, stretch bands and rollers, more sneakers than you can count and a clothesline that is always full of training kit.  

Five am signals the start of the day here, never then end of a big night, as Olympic swimming hopeful Lani Connolly heads off to training.

And at 10pm on some evenings when her peers might be contemplating an after-hours venue switch, an exhausted Australian U19s netballer Kaylin Van Greunen is arriving home after one of the club or representative training sessions that fill most of her week. 

Kaylin Van Gruenen
Kaylin Van Greunen 

The home is a haven for student athletes who jam more into their university experience than seems possible and draw comfort and support from housemates who share the same challenges and ambitions.

Despite the demands of juggling uni and sport and the constancy of high-level competition, laughter reigns between the girls who have bonded like sisters and have created a home away from home where they share weekly home cooked meals, games of uno and ongoing banter.

The Sports House hosts girls from three disciplines of sport – Bond QAFLW players, Maisy Evans and Sarah Heptinstall; Bond swimmer and Cook Island representative, Lani Connolly; and from the Bond Sapphire Netball team, Kaylin Van Greunen. All the athletes hold Bond Sporting Scholarships which allows them to train, study and live on campus.

The Bond sport house occupants
Sarah Heptinstall, Kaylin Van Greunen, Maisy Evans and Lani Connolly.  

“We all get along really well because we have that one thing in common and that’s sport” said AFL player Maisy Evans.

Van Greunen says it works because the quartet are all “living this life.” 

“It’s easier to balance uni and sport and concentrate on our training and our study, rather than going out,” she said.

“We’re all focussed but we do have a lot of fun along the way.”  

For 18-year-old swimmer Lani Connolly, the sunny Gold Coast is a far cry from her home in New Zealand. 

“The girls are really good to me, it’s like I’ve got some sisters in the house,” said Lani.

Despite the conflicting training schedules the girls make it a priority to find a couple of nights to eat together and regularly schedule dinner parties with the athletes from the neighbouring Bond Sports Boys House.

“One of the girls and one of the boys will cook, we’ll all sit down together,” explained Sarah Heptinstall. 

“We have a few rules. No-one is allowed to touch their phone at the family dinner table, so that’s been tough for a few of us.

“After dinner, we play card games.   UNO is popular, and it gets pretty competitive when we take on the boys. 

“But obviously the girls always win.”

However, when it comes to competition, the housemates and neighbours drop the rivalry and are on the sidelines, cheering for their pals. 


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