Sarah Bombell - Olympic Synchronised Swimmer

Sarah Bombell
'I am hoping that being an Olympian will help me launch a career in the sports physio field, because it's not the easiest area you can get into.'

Sarah has competed on the international synchronised swimming circuit, achieved national honours, and performed in a Japanese Energy Drink commercial and an Eskimo Joe film clip. Now she has booked her flight to represent Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

After Beijing, Sarah will return to uni to study a Master of Physiotherapy degree with the career ambition to become a sports physio.


How did you start out in synchronised swimming?

I had previously done ballet and gymnastics, and I went to swimming squad at the same pool the synchro team trained at. I thought it looked more interesting so I decided to give it a try.

Was it quite a rigorous training schedule when you started?

No, I was only 10 years old so it was just recreational.

How have you moved up the ranks through training and competitions?

I basically just continued to train and I got to a point where I decided to look at it seriously and try for the opportunity to compete for Australia. I thought it was a great chance to see the world and get some sporting experience overseas.

How does being a professional synchronised swimming fit in with the rest of your life?

I studied a Bachelor of Exercise Science between 2001 and 2004, and in my last semester I went part time because we were coming up to Commonwealth Games selection. I also work casually and have been lucky because my jobs have always fitted in around me. I haven't studied since 2004 and have concentrated solely on my training. I have my spot held for me for my Master of Physiotherapy degree next year.

Do you have to fund your own training and travel?

Yes. I still live at home and my parents support me. I also work casually whenever I can.

Beijing will be your first Olympics. How are you preparing for that?

We are actually quite lucky because two girls in our team and one of our coaches have been to the Olympics before so they are helping us get prepared and giving us pointers about what to expect. I'm keeping my head down and trying to train as best as I can.

What happens once you arrive in Beijing?

It's going to be very full-on. We arrive on August 7, get accredited, sort out our uniforms, get settled and have the Opening Ceremony. After that we have training times every day until we compete two weeks after we arrive. It will be a matter of staying focused until then.

Does there feel like there is a lot more emphasis on the Olympics than your other competitions?

This is the first time that Australia has taken synchronised swimmers to an offshore Olympics for the team event (we had a team at Sydney in 2000). We are pretty proud to qualify for that. I think we want to prove to ourselves that we are worthy of being there. For some of us it might actually be our last competition, so we have to do something we will be proud of.

Did you always want to go to the Olympics when you were growing up?

I honestly don't really remember. I'm sure I did in the back of my mind, but I never thought it was actually possible. It didn't become a reality until we were selected. I still can't really believe it's happening sometimes.

You are going back to uni to study a Master of Physiotherapy. What is your ambition with that?

I am hoping that being an Olympian will help me launch a career in the sports physio field, because it's not the easiest area you can get into. I think I would like to work with a sporting team, because of the atmosphere and the goal of working with a group of people.

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