This year is turning into a memorable milestone for Robert Andrews after being named in the Australian Team to compete at the Ultimate Frisbee World Games, writes Harry Croker. 

Robert Andrew’s passion, and commitment for the sport of Ultimate Frisbee, or ‘Ultimate’, as it’s commonly referred to, has been a rather recent one. He mainly focused on soccer and cricket for the most part of his life until he commenced his tertiary education. Andrews will travel to uncharted territory in July when he competes at the World Games in Poland, an experience that will cap off an already outstanding 2017.

Born and raised in Sydney, Andrews grew up with a passion for the outdoors, and all sports alike. Focusing primarily on soccer and cricket throughout his high school years, Ultimate was never a sport he’d intended to play, nor knew anything about, until he began studying at the University of Sydney. Andrews followed in the footsteps of his older brother to study at the sandstone institution so he could pursue an engineering course. While looking for a sport to play in between the soccer and cricket seasons, his brother suggested he attend Ultimate training.

“My older brother was playing at the time and convinced me to come along to training one day,” Andrews said. “Since then I’ve never really looked back and the sport has taken me all around the world.” From these humble beginnings as a firstyear university student, Andrews hadn’t the faintest idea that one day he would be named in Australia’s Ultimate Frisbee team, the Crocs.

Accompanying the Crocs to the 2017 Ultimate Frisbee World Games in Poland means he’s reached the pinnacle of the sport. To be eligible to compete at the World Games, national teams must be ranked in the top five based on results from the Ultimate Frisbee World Championships. Ultimate is a unique sport. A squad comprises seven men and seven women, making it one of the few mixed-gender sports played at an international level. Andrews described the team as a, “really great bunch of people.” “The competition is shaping up to be really close and competitive,” he added.

Admittedly, Andrews said that representing his country at the World Games hadn’t always been a life-long ambition. “I didn’t even know about this sport until I started at university, and it’s only really appeared on Australia’s sporting radar in the past couple of years or so.” However, a phone call from the Australian coach soon gave him a newfound sense of patriotism when he realised he would be representing his country on the world stage.

“There were a few days of nervous waiting, but it’s an incredible honour to be able to represent my country. The feeling never gets old, and seeing other players at the tournaments just as proud as I am to represent their respective countries really makes you appreciate the opportunity. I couldn’t be more excited,” Andrews said.

Standing at 6’3”, the 23-year-old is the youngest member of the squad; however this does not daunt him. “I don’t really feel the pressure. I’ve been the youngest member of quite a few teams now, and it’s more exciting than anything.”

Andrews is currently completing his final year of a combined Engineering (Chemical & Bimolecular)/ Arts (European Studies) degree, and admits at times it’s tough juggling his sporting commitments with work and study, but insists the key to success in all these aspects is keeping a cool head. “The main thing is not to get too flustered, and stay on top of everything. There are more than a few late nights staying up doing assignments but in the end it’s all worth it.”

Despite being a niche sport in comparison to the other recreational activities available on campus, the training regime for Ultimate should not be underestimated. Andrews clocks up the best part of ten training sessions per week to ensure he’s in top physical form.

This usually consists of 4 gym sessions a week for strength and conditioning, 3 to 4 team training sessions per week to ensure cohesion within the squad, and a couple of sprint sessions on top of that, which Andrews does autonomously.

His selection in the Australian squad was well-deserved, a reward for his Ultimate ability, and hisdedication to the University’s Frisbee Club. Andrews is known throughout the club for his tireless efforts behind the scenes to ensure it survives. He’s been the club secretary for the past couple of years, and is known to attend every single training session to assist in the development of new players.

Outside of his intense studying and sporting schedule, Andrews enjoys skiing, and relaxing on the beaches near his residence in Manly. He makes an effort to go on a skiing holiday for a few weeks every year, and one day hopes to spend an entire ski season on the slopes in Japan so he can tick it off his bucket list. But for now, he’s solely focused on harnessing the elusive flying disc.