Four years of high-performance sport - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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High performance sport - swimming, netball, cycling, pole vault and wheelchair basketball

Four years of high-performance sport at USC

The end of 2020 marks four years of USC high performance sport. During this time, the program has grown from one resident team — the Swimming Australia funded USC Spartans Swim squad — to 14 sport-based partnerships, including resident elite teams Sunshine Coast Lightning and the semi-pro and Olympic Australian Cycling Academy squads.

Elite and emerging student-athlete numbers have grown from 36 to over 200, including students from interstate and overseas. Fifteen million dollars of quality sporting infrastructure has been developed to be shared with the community, multi-disciplinary research projects are underway, and community engagement programs are in demand, contributing to communities and attracting new students to USC.

“It’s estimated that the exposure of Sunshine Coast Lightning netball team alone has equalled $9 million in USC brand recognition,” says High Performance Student Program Coordinator Tania Stevenson.

This year’s COVID-19 restrictions saw USC’s state-of-the-art high-performance sport environment in demand by numerous national league teams who relocated to the Queensland elite sport hub. “The NRL’s Melbourne Storm, AFL’s Melbourne Demons and Collingwood Magpies, and Suncorp Super Netball’s Sydney Giants, West Coast Fever and Adelaide Thunderbirds were all regulars in the high-performance gym and aquatic recovery facility.”

The University’s strategic imperative of ‘student success’ underpins the High-Performance Student Athlete Program. It provides a suite of support and benefits tailored to the unique needs of emerging and elite athletes to enable them to excel in their sport and education simultaneously, as well as prepare them for an alternative career when their elite sporting days are over.

The USC student athlete experience has been recognised by other institutions and industry for its comprehensive offerings, supportive environment and focus on social connectedness. Students report very high levels of student satisfaction and perform better academically than the university average.

Graduate outcomes appear promising with many of the first cohort of graduates in 2019 working within their professional fields of Education, Health Science (Orthotics and Prosthetics), Dietetics, Marketing, Nursing and Occupational Therapy.

“As USC high-performance sport continues to mature, new opportunities will continue to arise. We look forward to what the next four years brings!”.

For more information about USC high-performance sport including the High Performance Student Athlete Program, visit usc.edu.au/hps

Images above: (L to R) Australian paralympic swimmer Katja Dedekind swims at USC's new aquatic exercise facility; Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Peace Proscovia; Australian Academy of Cycling (ACA) cyclists in training; pole vaulter Emily Marschall; and wheelchair basketball player Steven Elliott.