Published on 8 July 2013
A Caloundra swimmer and a Buderim kayaker, both aiming for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, are joint winners of the inaugural University of the Sunshine Coast Sports Scholarship.
USC has introduced the $6,000 scholarship to help athletes achieve their sporting dreams while gaining career qualifications through one of the University’s undergraduate degrees.
Swimmer Tessa Wallace, 19, was a 200m breaststroke semi-finalist at the 2012 London Olympics and named USC’s Sportsperson of the Year last year.
Kayaker Charlie Copeland, 19, represented Australia at the Junior World Championships in Germany in 2011 and will fly to Russia on Monday to compete in the World University Games.
Both students said they were honoured and grateful to share the scholarship.
Tessa said she was enjoying her USC Communication degree, particularly electives such as Drama and Behavioural Health, and would continue studying part-time to achieve a balance with training and part-time receptionist work.
“I’d love to combine my passion for swimming with a job in the media such as TV presenting when I finish my USC degree,” she said. In the meantime, her sights are set on the lead-up to the Rio Olympics.
Charlie said he appreciated the variety of subjects in the first year of his Mechanical Engineering degree, which will help him decide on a future career path.
“I studied an engineering subject at Chancellor State College and found it so interesting – a great occupation, where you’re really able to leave your mark on the world.”
He combines full-time study with paddling, other training, part-time work in hospitality and travelling for competitions.
“After some frustrating visa delays, I’ll be so happy to get to Russia in time to compete in my first race on 13 July,” he said.
“I’m hoping to make the final and I think we have a good medal chance in the K2-200. I’d love to think I have a shot at Rio in 2016.”
USC also has another competitor in the World University Championships in Russia this month – long distance swimmer George O’Brien of Coolum Beach.
USC had 20 applicants for the Sports Scholarship. Criteria included demonstrated high level sporting achievement, potential to continue in that sport at a high level, and academic merit.
Applications for the 2014 USC Sports Scholarship will open next month.
— Julie Schomberg