Bond University student Alex Graham has shown his prowess both in the classroom and in the pool, after being named a member of the Australian Dolphins’ leadership group for 2019/2020.
The freestyle champion will join multiple Olympians and world record holders as part of the group, as well as two early-career athletes, including Cate and Bronte Campbell, Mitch Larkin and fellow young star Jess Hansen.
He said he didn’t expect to get the Dolphins position, but nevertheless was quite “chuffed”.
“It’s a great opportunity to develop myself as a leader and offer support where I can to the rest of the team,” Mr Graham said.
“The next couple of years is pretty important. I consider myself a bit of a hype man, so if I can help the team get their best performances, that will help me as well.”
Mr Graham earned his place after undergoing a three-step process which involved a self-nomination that was followed by an online vote from their peers. He and the other successful appointees then had an interview with Swimming Australia Chief Executive Leigh Russell and High Performance Chief Strategist Alex Baumann to finalised the process.
His swimming portfolio includes taking home gold as part of the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and setting a new Games Record in the process. In the same year, the 23-year-old also competed at the World Short Course Championships in China, claiming a bronze medal in the Men’s 200m Freestyle event.
“This is an opportunity, not only to help shape the performance of our team in and out of the pool, but also to develop these young athletes’ leadership capabilities, to aid them and others to achieve success,” Ms Russell said following the team’s announcement.
“They’ll benefit from working alongside some of swimming’s past leadership mentors, as well as undertaking other leadership development opportunities over the coming two years.
“Most importantly, this group of athletes will represent the wider Australian Dolphins’ team in discussing challenges and opportunities, while maintaining a strong connection and open communication with Swimming Australia’s organisational leaders.”
Mr Graham will look to balance his studies while also on the road to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which is fewer than 500 days away.
“The Olympics will come around really quick. It’s not every day you get to put on the gold cap and represent your country.”