Water polo Olympian is awarded for his efforts in and out of the pool

Friday, 31 August 2012  Features

After two intense weeks at the Games in London, Olympian Johnno Cotterill gathered his family and friends to celebrate the conferring of his Bachelor of Commerce at the UNSW Graduation Ceremony on Friday 24th August 2012.

"I've been here for six and half years so I've been balancing my study and water polo. As I've been living overseas for a few years, it's taken long enough, but it is very exciting to graduate," says Cotterill.

With more than 80 international games under his belt, Cotterill is an established member of the Australian men's water polo team which participated at the London Olympics this year. His achievements include the UNSW Male Athlete of the Year (2007, 2009) and NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) Academic Excellence Awards (2008, 2010). Last year, Johnno was captain of the Australian Men's Team and was top goal scorer.

"Water polo has been a big part of my life for a long period of time. The Olympics is an event I'll never forget. We finished seventh, which doesn't sound great, but it was the best result in 20 years. It was very satisfying."

Cotterill graduated with the assistance of a Ben Lexcen Scholarship which enabled him to maintain a balance between sporting commitments, travel and study.

"I really want to thank the University of NSW for all of their support. I couldn't have done without the support of every one at the Australian School of Business and the professors who have allowed me to get through it and keep studying," Cotterill says.

Although water polo takes most of his time, Cotterill still wishes to immerse himself in the business world.

"My first plan [after university] is Rio 2016 but there are a lot of possibilities before then. I might head back overseas, but I would like to do something with my degree as I am also looking for work opportunities."

Chancellor David Gonski AC welcomed graduates to the ceremony and Alec Cameron, Dean of the Faculty admitted candidates to awards.

The occasional address was delivered by the chairman of the Toga Group Companies and alumnus of the Faculty, Ervin Vidor AM, who congratulated the students on their achievement after years of effort and, in closing, offered them some words of advice for their professional lives and wished them long and satisfying careers.

Congratulating all of the graduating students in his concluding remarks, Alec Cameron also recognised the support given to the students' by their lecturers, families and friends.