Griffith University: Diving for country and studying for the future

A week out from the start of the Games, Bachelor of Psychological Science student athlete Cassiel Rousseau met with Manager of Griffith Sports College Naomi McCarthy OAM, to discuss his return to study after competing at his first Olympics.

Selected in the 10 metre platform event, Brisbane based diver Cassiel said without the support of the Griffith Sports College he’d find it hard to juggle everything required to complete the required courses in tandem with his intense training and competition regime.

“It’s good to have a future outside of your sport,” he admitted.

“Knowing that once you leave your sport, you have something else that’s not just diving, really helps.”

“I’m not really good at studying but Griffith has really helped me complete study along with diving in the Olympics. I’m not good with time management, so Griffith Sports College really helps with that.”

Cassiel is being modest, says McCarthy, a dual Olympian who won Gold in waterpolo in 2000 and in her role at the sports college has helped steer hundreds of athletes just like him, along the journey of elite sport and study opportunities.

“Cass is a talented and committed athlete who has developed significantly as an athlete over the time I have known him,” she said.

“It’s fantastic to see him selected in his first Games!”

“He has taken the opportunity to balance his training and competition commitments with a degree and he is progressing through study well. It’s great to be able to support him to do this.

“We recognise that talented athletes like Cassiel can’t always make exams or prac placements like regular students, and they deserve flexibility and someone looking out for them while they juggle the intense work required to perform at such a high level, with the commitment of study towards a career after representative sport.”

“At the moment, we do about, I think, 30 to 35 hours a week, two to three hours in the morning, and then two to three hours in the night. So it’s pretty full on,” Cassiel said of his training.

“We have some gym time doing weights on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. In the mornings, we usually do dry land and water. And then same thing in the afternoon with mainly water, but sometimes we go into dry land, do some trampoline stuff. conditioning and dry board pit with a bunch of stuff.”

He’s come a long way from someone with a very real fear of heights.

“I was a gymnast at first and then I turned to acrobatics as a sports Acrobat and that definitely helped me transition into diving.

“I had a fear of heights so the thought of diving never really crossed my mind. I thought about possibly hitting a platform!

“Ten minutes beforehand I didn’t want to do it but my sister was trialing diving.

“I told them I wasn’t going to do it, but she dragged me up and forced me to come to the trial day.

“Since then, I’ve loved it.”

Cass is one of 45 Griffith students, alumni, staff and Griffith Swim School stars in the Australian Olympic Team. He’ll travel this week by charter plane with others in the Australian team.

“We were supposed to leave on the 26th or 27th but we thought it would be better to leave on the 22nd with everyone since it’s a charter flight and there will be less risk of catching COVID with obviously, all the athletes being tested prior to leaving for the Olympics.

“I never thought I could make the Olympics and even now it hasn’t hit me, but once I get to Tokyo, definitely I’ll be excited.”

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