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Blood, sweat and tears: academy athletes share their stories

Three things stood out at the 2019 Camden Council reception for South West Sydney Academy of Sport (SWSAS) athletes.

First was the sea of red, white and blue in the Camden Council Civic centre at Oran Park last week as one by one athletes representing nine sports were called up on stage.

Another was a stirring opening address from Camden Mayor Peter Sidgreaves, which set the tone for what was an evening of recognition of sporting achievement by athletes who call Camden home.

The third highlight were the moving personal sports stories of three academy athletes.

Hard work, the challenges of time management, success, disappointment and numerous support systems was a common theme to all three athletes.

Camden mayor Peter Sidgreaves, left, and academy chairperson Peter Campbell flank some of the best of Camden’s up and coming netball stars.

Academy executive director Gerry Knights interviewed the trio, asking them about their intense training schedules, and their challenges and goals since joining the academy as talent identified athletes.

Softballer Harper Crawford spoke about her journey so far, from being injured in 2018, to her dream of making the NSW under 17 team in 2019.

Erin Bloor represented the academy netball squad and shared her intensive training schedule with the NSW Premier League and her dream of one day playing for the Australian Diamonds.

BMX squad member Jayden Morris spoke highly of his coaches and support staff members and how beneficial high performance training camps are.

Each athlete spoke about how they manage their time between schooling commitments and their rigorous training schedules.

Erin Bloor, who is also dedicated to her studies, revealed she is often “studying in the car to and from training sessions, and whenever I get a chance’’.

Nine sports were recognised from across the Camden region at the 2019 Camden Council reception for SWSAS athletes.

Netballer Charlotte Free spoke eloquently on behalf of all athletes and reiterated the words of academy chairperson Peter Campbell, by thanking Camden Council for its valued and ongoing support of the academy and specifically its Camden athletes.

Among the guests was David Cadden, the CEO of Macarthur Credit Union, sponsor of the academy’s AFL development program.

Mr Cadden also praised the academy and all those associated with it.

If you are aged between 13 and 20 and interested in becoming a South West Sydney Academy of Sport athlete phone 4627 7622, 0407 415 847, or email

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