“If I just did swimming I think I’d go crazy, with my head stuck in the water for up to four hours a day.” Professional swimmer Kurt Hertzog does nine pool, three gym and two cycle sessions per week. This is why he enjoys the balance that study provides. Kurt jokes, “When I’m studying it gets my mind off swimming and when I’m swimming study gets my mind off swimming.”
As he trains to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Kurt is studying a Bachelor of Sports Business at ACPE. He has already represented Australia, making the 4 x 200m freestyle relay team, which won a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2015.
When he was looking to study in Sydney, Kurt needed a course that was flexible enough to work with his training and travel commitments. “I heard the ACPE were really supportive of elite athletes and offered online courses, which really interested me because I could study while I was overseas,” Kurt says.
In Sydney, Kurt trains down the road from ACPE at Homebush. “It works out super well for me,” he says. “If I’m overseas I study online and if I’m here I can go to class.”
“ACPE has smaller class sizes than other unis,” Kurt says. “I’m not there very often but I still know heaps of people in my classes and it’s a bit more like a community,” he says. “At ACPE you feel like you’re valued. People take care of you and they’ve got really good connections for when you want to start work or do internships.”
Kurt has done work experience with the Australian Paralympic Committee and at the New South Wales Institute of Sport. “It was really good to see behind the scenes and to see what they do to ensure all athletes are prepared and ready to perform at their best. As an athlete, you don’t see it.”
Once Kurt has completed his degree, he is keen to work with Swimming NSW and Swimming Australia. “I want to develop a program that helps people keep swimming at an elite level once they finish school,” he says. “I want to keep people in the sport and keep them motivated.”
For now, Kurt encourages other athletes to balance training and study. “It’s definitely do-able and you’ve got a really strong support network as well. So if you’re finding it hard there are people to help you out,” he says. “The balance works really well for me.”
Read more about ACPE’s Elite Athlete and Coach Program.