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Sam Winchester diving into success

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Sam Winchester dominates in the pool. Photo: SCS/Supplied
Sam Winchester dominates in the pool. Photo: SCS/Supplied

It’s been a momentous few months for Year 12 student Sam Winchester, from De La Salle College in Cronulla.

For most students, the balancing act of their HSC year includes juggling a social life, rigorous academic study and keeping their mental and physical wellbeing in balance.

17-year-old Sam has managed to take all this on, whilst making a significant splash in the Water Polo arena.

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“My family is full of swimmers”, he says, reflecting on the move they made from Ireland to Australia when he was young.

His older brother got into the sport first, and in true younger sibling fashion, Sam had to give it a go too.

At the age of seven he started playing water polo, and a decade later, he’s earned a great many titles.

This year alone, his highlights include being a part of the winning representative league team, in which he was the league’s highest goal scorer, as well as competing at the state championships where he became the state competitions’s most valuable player.

Sam has also been selected into the Sydney men’s superleague for Canberra, but, in his eyes, his biggest achievement was winning only one of eight spots in the NSW talent program.

The talent program alone demands four to five training sessions a week, with morning sessions starting at 5am out in Sydney Olympic Park.

As the lead up to HSC trials begins, so will Sam’s winter comp, demanding another two sessions, plus a game each week.

When asked how he manages it all, Sam says the key is to stay happy.

“You have to love what you’re doing. I love water polo, I love socialising, and I’m able to stay above average in my schoolwork,” he said.

“I make sure I find the time to study but I think the key to managing is to not put too much stress on making everything perfect.”

The Sydney Catholic Schools recent sporting changes have seen water polo introduced for interschool weekly competition.

“Only one other student in my year plays, so I managed to convince a number of my friends to play as well. Some of them swim, some of them don’t, but we ended up winning the conference final,” Sam reminisced.

“And we won bronze at the championships.”

When looking to the future, Sam believes his water polo potential lies outside of Australia, in the more competitive and prestigious European competitions.

“My dream is to study a business or management degree in university here in Australia for a year, then travel to a country like Italy to complete my studies and compete in their water polo league. Once I’ve graduated, if I’m good enough I’ll move to Europe and play full time.”

After sporting retirement, Sam dreams of putting his management skills and leadership qualities to use in running a hotel chain.

“I love talking to people, I love meeting new people, and water polo has taught me how to direct play and be a leader.”

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