If you were to look for Jessica Hansen, the first place you'd search would be in a pool. The young swimmer spends most of her time training to continue representing Australia at the highest level. In 2018 the female breaststroker had a breakout year in the water as she competed at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, collecting bronze at the FINA World Swimming Championships and winning gold and silver medals at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
'My career highlight is the 2018 Pan Pacific Games in Tokyo, Japan. I came second in the 100m Breaststroke and was part of the medley relay team that won gold.'
Although swimming takes up most of Jessica’s time, she somehow manages to study a double degree in Exercise Sport Science and Business at Deakin University.
'I chose to study at Deakin for the online Cloud Campus system they offer and the double degree in Sport Science and Business. I also really liked that they offered units to study over Trimester 3, so I could keep studying throughout the year.
'Prior to each semester, I only commit to the number of subjects that I will be able to handle. Then during the semester, it is about organisation and looking ahead to what is coming up.'
Jessica is also a member of the Elite Athlete Program, which is offered to professional athletes that study at Deakin. The aim of the program is to support and help athletes who are currently undertaking university studies while competing professionally in sport.
'Deakin have been extremely supportive in allowing me to complete subjects online, making content available online and making the process of extensions seamless.'
Jessica is preparing for some busy years ahead, with the completion of her university studies and the Tokyo Olympic Games approaching quickly.
'My goal for 2019 is to complete my double degree which I predict will be my greatest accomplishment for the year. In swimming, I am working towards qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.'
When it comes to inspiration, Jessica looks no further than her mother.
'My mum is my greatest inspiration. She shows so much strength and selflessness every day that inspires me to be the best I can be and make the most of every opportunity.'
Jessica also has some words of advice for any athlete who is thinking of studying and playing sport simultaneously.
'Stay consistent and make the most of the summer school because that will help to get through your units.'