Sydney University has seven athletes in the 338-strong Australian team to compete at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi from 3-14 October.
Divers Matthew Mitcham and Alex Croak, wrestler Kyla Bremner, midddle-distance runner Lachlan Renshaw and Rugby Sevens players Pat McCutcheon, Bernard Foley and Nicholas Phipps have been selected in the team.
Sydney University Sport Scholarship holders Mitcham and Croak literally have form on the board leading into the Games after claiming medals at the recent 2010 FINA Diving World Cup in Changzou, China.
The highlight of the competition was Mitcham’s gold medal in the men’s 10m platform on the final day of competition, a repeat of his gold medal that captured the hearts of Australians at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Mitcham was fourth after the first two dives but stormed home with a flawless new dive – an armstand-back double with a two-and-a-half twist – that earned perfect 10s from the judges.
Croak combined with NSWIS athlete Melissa Wu in the synchronised women’s 10m platform to win the silver medal behind the powerful Chinese duo. Although the pair finished 18 points behind their Chinese competitors, their cohesion at the World Cup provided an excellent platform to continue their preparations for Delhi.
Sydney University Football Club will provide three of the 12-man squad to contest the Rugby Sevens in Delhi. Flanker McCutcheon, 23, halfback Phipps, 21, and five-eighth Foley, 20, have been included in the squad, with McCutcheon also named as captain.
NSW Waratahs recruit McCutcheon reassumes the Sevens captaincy after missing the final two legs of the 2010 Sevens World Series to compete in the Super 14 finals. He was involved with the national squad during June, playing two mid-week games for the Australian Barbarians against England.
McCutcheon is a product of St Josephs College in Sydney. He represented Australia at both Schoolboy (2005) and Under 19 (2006) levels and was a member of Sydney University’s premiership-winning team in 2009.
Foley represented CAS in 2006 and 2007 and NSW Schoolboys in 2007, before enrolling at the University of Sydney. He has been an Australian Sevens member for the past two seasons.
Phipps, who captained the premiership-winning Sydney University Colts in 2009, ran in three tries during this year’s 2010 World Sevens Series and made 10 drop-goal conversions to finish the season with 35 points. He has signed with the Melbourne Rebels for their inaugural Super 15 season, when he will link up with former Sydney University mentor Damian Hill.
Foley and Phipps are Sydney University Sport Scholarship holders.
The Australian squad has a chance to create history if they can finish with gold or silver in Delhi, as Australia has not won a Rugby Sevens medal at the Commonwealth Games since securing bronze in 1998 when the sport was first granted entry in Kuala Lumpur.
Australia has been drawn alongside arch rivals England in the pools. They will also take on Namibia and Sri Lanka in Pool D.
Sydney University wrestling Blue, Dr Kyla Bremner, became the first female wrestler to represent Australia at the Olympics when she contested the 48kg freestyle division at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Bremner pre-qualified for selection when she won her division at the Oceania trials in Canberra. Australia’s best-ranked female wrestler with compete in the 51kg division at Delhi.
Although practising as a medical practitioner, Bremner spends much of her spare time and money travelling overseas in search of opponents. She took up wrestling while an undergraduate, after trying gymnastics, track and field and soccer.
Bremner entered the Graduate Medical Program at Sydney University in 2003 and wrestling was put on the backburner for three years of medical studies.
She volunteered to spend most of her final two years at rural clinical schools in Dubbo and Broken Hill and, with no wrestling in those areas, she was off the mat for two years.
On returning to Sydney full-time in 2007 to undertake her internship at Bankstown Hospital, she returned to training for wrestling.
“I was really enjoying it,” she says, “so I decided to try competition again. I kept winning and all of a sudden I found myself a member of the 2008 Australian Olympic team to Beijing!”
She can now add the Commonwealth Games to that impressive resume.
Middle-distance runner Renshaw is another Sydney University Sport Scholarship holder. The 2008 Australian 800m champion made the semi-finals of the event at the IAAF World Junior Championships on his way to earning a berth in the Australian team at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where he finished 6th in his heat.
He has recently been racing on the tough Europe circuit after basing himself in London to train with Nic Bideau.
After Delhi, Renshaw hopes to maintain his European training regime to earn a spot in the Australian team for the 2012 London Olympics.