Have you ever had a dream so close you could literally feel it?
With every competition, I’m getting one step closer to my goal of diving for Australia in the 2020 Olympics.
I’m a kid from Australia who loves to dive.
It all started when I saw some kids diving at the local pool. Right then, I knew I wanted to do that. It looked way more fun than taking swimming lessons in the shallow end.
My mom wasn’t so keen on the idea though.
She told me that it looked crazy and that I needed to be able to swim 100 meters in a straight line before she’d even think about letting me give it a try.
Sure, 100 meters doesn’t seem like a long distance, but at that point in my life, even 10 meters were often a struggle.
But boy was I determined to dive.
To everyone’s surprise, that same night, I swam a perfect 100 meters.
And in 2008, I set a new goal for myself.
I had been diving for a while and just watched fellow Australian Matthew Mitcham put on an incredible Olympic diving performance. He won gold for his efforts, which included straight 10s on the final dive.
I thought to myself: “I want that. I’m going to make it happen.”
Ever since this moment, it’s been my dream to represent Australia in the Olympics. The grit, determination, and passion of every single Olympic athlete motivates me to make that dream a reality.
I’ve have been fortunate enough to have represented Australia at the World University Games on multiple occasions. But representing them at the Olympics would be a whole other level.
Here at Purdue, I’m working hard to make my Olympic dream come true. But, coming to the United States to compete wasn’t part of my plan initially.
America wasn’t even a thought in my head until my senior year of high school. Some of my closest friends came to the U.S. for college and told me the most amazing things about their experiences. I figured I had to at least look into it.
I chatted with a few different coaches, including Coach Adam Soldati. And he really sold me on Purdue.
The way he talked to me during those first few chats showed me that he didn’t just care about us as athletes. He genuinely wanted to know what kind of person I was, what was important to me, how my family was, etc.
After my recruiting trip, and once I’d met the team, my heart was set on becoming a Boilermaker.
And I won’t lie, it was a little bit daunting at first.
I mean, being a 24-hour flight away from your family isn’t easy.
Homesickness is almost a guarantee.
But experiences like this challenge you as a person, and I’ve grown because of it.
Right in my freshmen year, when I was still struggling a bit, I also had what I’d describe as arguably my most memorable moment as a diver so far.
It was at my first Big 10s; now, my favorite event of the year.
Back then, I didn’t know what to expect. It was nerve-wracking.
When it was my time to compete, I stood on top of the board, looked down, and saw the whole Purdue Swim and Dive Team cheering me on.
Which, quite frankly, made me even more nervous at the time, but that level of support meant the world to me.
But, this was no time to show nerves. It was time to shine.
I stepped to the edge of the platform, took a deep breath, pressed into my handstand, and did my routine.
In those few seconds that I was underwater, I could hear my entire team screaming their hearts out.
I had nailed the dive, and achieved a personal best score.
This is where it really hit me. I have the best team in the world.
The enormous level of support they showed for a freshman who just came over from Australia has stuck with me.
I’ve always believed that every decision you make should be in honor of your dream. That’s why I’ve developed such a passion for diving, and that’s why I came to Purdue.
Over the past 10 years, I have been motivated by the possibility of representing Australia at the Olympics one day. So for now, I’m focused on fine tuning my skills and being the best diver and teammate I can be.
It is my dream to represent Australia at the 2020 Olympics and I will continue to strive towards achieving my goals while also representing Purdue – a university that has provided me with the most incredible opportunities.
Because of my love for my country, I wanted to take a moment and address the bushfire situation as well.
It’s been absolutely devasting to watch the fires destroy our beautiful country. It’s been even more difficult to be so far away from my loved ones. There are so many people struggling right now.
When I first heard of the bushfires, I immediately thought the same thing anyone else would, “Is my family okay? Are my friends okay?”
I’m incredibly grateful to say that it hasn’t affected my loved ones, but that can’t be said for everyone. The air condition is poor, and these fires continue to wreak havoc in Australia.
I wish I could be there, helping out and doing whatever it takes to restore what we once had.
I’ve heard things are slowly getting more under control, but we need to continue working together to rebuild Australia.
To me, it’s incredible how so many people throughout the entire world have gathered together to help out my home country.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everyone’s support.
I know that everyone back home is extremely thankful for the help as well.