Australian Dolphins Col Pearse and Katja Dedekind, along with up-and-coming Victorian swimmer Brendon Smith have all been awarded scholarships as part of Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program.
Pearse, who won bronze at last year’s World Para Swimming Championships in London, is a recipient of the Tier 2 scholarship and will receive a $5,000 sporting grant, while Rio Paralympic bronze medallist, Dedekind and Smith have been awarded Tier 3 scholarships and will receive a $2,500 sporting grant.
Nine other athletes from 10 different sports join Pearse in receiving the Tier 2 scholarship, while 14 young athletes from all over the country make up the Tier 3 scholarship awardees with Dedekind and Smith.
Swimming Australia Chief Executive Leigh Russell congratulated the athletes on their achievement.
“I would like to congratulate Col, Katja and Brendon on this terrific achievement, we are incredibly proud to have three swimmers selected in the program for 2021,” she said.
“Both Col and Katja are already valued members of our Dolphins swim team and Brendon is a young swimmer that has shown great potential and they should be thrilled they have been chosen for this honour.
“It is fantastic these athletes will also have the opportunity to be mentored by a Sport Australia Hall of Fame member, that sort of guidance from someone who has been at the pinnacle of their sport is priceless.”
On learning of his scholarship, Pearse said: “I always feel proud and honoured when I am recognised for my swimming and being notified of my successful application by SAHOF is an honour and I am truly grateful to be given this Scholarship.
“This Scholarship will assist in helping me make the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic swim team and give me the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The program is supported by Australian Government funding from Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and has grown from offering five scholarships since it began in 2006 to offering a total of 32 funded scholarships in 2021.
Scholarships would normally be presented at the annual Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner, however, given current restrictions, the Scholarship Holders and Mentors will be meeting virtually until circumstances change.