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ARTICLE: Cook Olympic Selection a Study of Balance
13 May 2016
Tamsin Cook has just been selected to swim for her country at her first Olympic Games despite the pressures of managing her final years of schooling alongside an intensive training schedule. 
This article first appeared on the WAIS website (
WAIS scholarship athlete Tamsin Cook has qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics off the back of an impressive balancing act of study and training.

Cook qualified for the team after placing second in the 400-metre freestyle event at the 2016 Australian Olympic Selection Trials in Adelaide last month.

The amazing achievement saw the UWA West Coast club member become the youngest female member of the 34-strong Australian swimming team and set her course to make her Olympic debut in August.

At just 17 years of age, Cook studies through the School of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE), with a flexible education program that allows her to meet the demands of her high level sport.

"I made my first proper Australian team in 2014, for the Junior Pan Pacific Games, while I was attending a private school,” Tamsin said.

"In 2015, I qualified for the World Junior Championships in Singapore, and I transferred to SIDE later that year.

"SIDE allowed me to be a lot more flexible with my school work and my teachers found a way for me to split Year 11 and 12 over three years, instead of two.

"This took a lot of pressure off me and I was able to focus more on my swimming. I was able to rest, recover and train better, and also have the assurance that my teachers understood my situation and were supportive.”

Cook said she would not have been able to give herself the best chance of being successful in qualifying for the Rio Olympics had she not made the move.

"I am very grateful to my teachers and coordinators who have helped make my dream a reality,” she said.

Jacquie Sandhu, principal of SIDE, said Cook was a very capable student with outstanding organisation and time management skills.

"She has travelled extensively with her swimming career and maintained high standards in all of her courses,” Ms Sandhu said.

"Tamsin is an inspiration to her fellow students with her mature, down to earth, delightful manner.

"SIDE is very proud to be a part of Tamsin’s journey and support her in her endeavours.”

The School of Isolated Distance Education provides education for students from Kindergarten to Year 12 who cannot attend regular schools due to geographic isolation, extensive family travel, elite sporting commitments or other factors.

-WA Dept of Education
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