RISING swim stars Madeline Groves and Alex Graham are each capping off a stellar year in the pool, receiving a prestigious scholoarship to a Gold Coast University.
Madeline and Alex are the inaugural recipients of Bond University’s Georgina Hope Rinehart Swimming Excellence Scholarship, which provides opportunities and support to complete their studies, while competing at an elite level.
The students will receive personal mentoring from Swimming Australia and Bond’s stable of Olympic swimming champions, along with tuition and living expenses, thanks to the financial support of the Georgina Hope Foundation.
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Madeline, whose back-to-back victories in the 200 metre Butterfly at the 2013 and 2014 Australian National Championships has seen her touted as a potential heir to the ‘Madame Butterfly’ title, was part of the Australian swim squad competing at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“It was a life-changing event,” said the Brisbane 19-year-old.
“I was fortunate enough to race in the heats for the 100 metre and 200 metre Freestyle relays, which was an honour as it is such a prestigious event, and I also made the semi-final in the 50 metre Butterfly.
“It was an extraordinary opportunity to represent my country alongside my friends and teammates.”
Alex, 19, is also making waves in swimming circles and treading a similar path to success as his idol, Olympic Gold Medallist Michael Klim.
“In 2012, I broke Michael Klim’s 1995 Victorian record for 17 to 18-year-olds for the 200 metre Freestyle, bettering his record by 0.7 seconds,” he said.
“It was a very surreal moment, especially considering he is such a huge source of inspiration to me.”
The Melbourne sporting prodigy won his first Victorian State Title at the age of 13 and has never looked back.
“As a kid, I played every kind of sport that you can think of – AFL, rugby, cricket – but winning that title really ignited my passion for swimming,” he said.
“My greatest highlight to date is making the Australian team to compete in the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona – it was a dream come true for me – and I’m now in training for the 2015 World Championships, with the long-term goal of qualifying for the Rio Olympics in 2016.”
Both students look set to replicate their success in the pool when they embark upon their degrees at Bond University in 2015 – Alex has enrolled in a Bachelor of Business and Madeline is planning to study a Bachelor of Social Science.