The USC pool proved integral to an extraordinary year of achievements for clinical exercise science student and London Paralympic gold medallist Blake Cochrane in 2014. Blake had moved to the Sunshine Coast in the year the pool opened to train with the High Performance Paralympic Squad and by early 2014 he was gearing up for his second Commonwealth Games, to be held in Glasgow.
“That semester I was at the USC pool every day except Sunday and at USC five times a week for my degree,” he said. “It was tough but it worked quite well. I trained early, went to class, went home for a rest (to nearby Buderim) and headed back for training in the afternoon.
“One of the best components of my degree was relating what I learnt in the classroom to my training as an athlete. Growing up, I had no idea why coaches were working us so hard or giving us so many ‘k’s. Now I have the knowledge to apply the theory.”
Blake also had the talent and commitment to earn a list of accolades that made him a media favourite. These included a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), a bronze medal in Glasgow, Sunshine Coast Senior Sports Star of the Year, and a back-to-back win in the USC Sunshine Coast Sportsperson of the Year awards. This year, 2016, he is on target for the Rio Paralympics.