Swans player named UNSW Athlete of the Year

Wednesday, 24 April 2013  Features

Content Australian School of Business student and Sydney Swans premiership-winning defender Nick Smith has been named Athlete of the Year at the annual UNSW Blues and Sports Awards Night.

Currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Economics degree, the 24-year-old triumphed over a distinguished field of contenders including Olympians Johnno Cotterill (water polo) and Colin Cheng (sailing). "I'm very honoured to win the award against such a strong field of candidates that included two Olympians," said Smith. "I really didn't expect it, but I think probably the success I had with the Swans last year in winning the premiership might have played a big part."

Now just over halfway through his degree, Smith said that combining university study with an elite level sporting career was a definite challenge. However, he said that the support and flexibility offered by UNSW was invaluable. "Combining the two can certainly be tough," he said. "The timing of games can coincide with mid-semester exams, but the university has been terrific and so flexible in helping me change the timetable to suit my commitments with the Swans."

Smith said the completion of his degree (being undertaken at one subject per semester) would ideally coincide with the completion of his AFL career. "If I can keep playing footy until I finish my degree and then look for job opportunities, that'd be perfect," he said.