It all began during a holiday program at the local pool. A young girl, diving for fun, embraced her talent and grew into an Olympic medalist. In her 24 years, Anabelle Smith has achieved a lot – but her streak of excellence is far from over. On the horizon are more great feats, including her first university graduation.
As a child, Anabelle had seen the Olympics on TV, but had never dreamed she’d one day be there herself. While diving for fun, she caught the eye of a coach, who encouraged her to get into training. From there, Anabelle’s passion grew, and by 15, she’d won herself a scholarship to the Victorian Institute of Sport. “It’s an amazing facility and they offer so much to help us” says Anabelle, who is up and training everyday at 6am to keep fit and competition-ready.
At Rio in 2016, Anabelle and her diving partner Maddison Keeney (Maddi) won a Bronze medal in the 3m synchro event – one of the best moments of her life. “Maddi and I just bawled our eyes out” Anabelle recalls with a smile. Today, she’s back at it, working towards the Commonwealth Games trials, while managing to study a university degree in her spare time. Anabelle is enrolled in an exercise and sports science degree through ACU, but was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to study an extra subject through OUA. She chose UniSA’s Essential Mathematics subject, to help give her a strong foundation.
Flexibility is essential for Anabelle, particularly when it comes to study. She loves that through OUA, she can take it at her own pace, which means that when she’s travelling to places like China, and is constantly on the go (or can’t find wifi) she’s able to catch up later on. “I think it’s really important that athletes at least have something outside of their sport” Anabelle says, thankful to have a side activity that keeps her brain ticking. Anabelle, like many OUA students, is fitting study into a jam-packed schedule. Her life may get hectic at times, but her vibrant smile is telling of a girl chasing her passions.
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