BY NETBALL NSW MEDIA
UNSW Elite Athlete Program member Olivia Coleman is taking on every challenge that comes her way in 2021. The Eastwood Ryde junior who is involved with the Hawks in the Origin Energy Premier League, the QBE Swifts Academy and the NSW Swifts' senior setup has a very busy netball schedule. And that's just the half of it.
"Between Swifts, Swifts Academy, Premier League training and games, university studies and part-time work there isn’t much down time," she says.
"I am at my best though when I’m organised and working to a schedule. I am graduating from my Criminology and Criminal Justice Degree (at UNSW) in August which I am quite excited about and hope to pursue something in that field of work alongside netball soon."
Coleman, who is a current training partner for the NSW Swifts, has found stability at the ERNA Hawks. With such a hectic schedule, it's the ERNA family who've been steadfast in her journey so far.
"I have absolutely loved my time with ERNA Hawks and enjoy the culture of not only my team but the larger Eastwood Ryde Association," she says.
"I hold loyalty as a huge value of mine and thus I believe it to be important to give back to the Association that has given me so much.
"It has been a great development opportunity for me over the last five years, progressing from the U23s to the Opens team, and being able to learn from experienced coaches and players.
"The girls are awesome and play a huge role in the reason as to why I love the Eastwood Ryde Association. I look at games and trainings as a great opportunity to learn from them and spend time with girls who I now call my good friends.
"Having trained under the wealth of knowledge that is Sandy Attard, Jen Wright and Jen Webster, I have learnt so much and really want to do them proud. Fortunately, I have had some of them since a junior age and so it has been great to develop alongside them."
There have been ups and downs for the Hawks so far this year, but Coleman knows the Championship DNA is still very much present in the franchise.
"Whilst we may not have won every game so far, we have definitely learnt a lot from each of the teams that we have played, as well as our own game and I feel very confident that we will see more success throughout the season," she says.
"All teams have improved this year and so we have to rise to every occasion on court and play our own game in order to win.
"We have a great depth of players where all 12 of us are capable of performing really well on court and so I have no doubt that we will continue to build and hopefully reach that third grand final in a row."
Being a part of the Swifts' senior setup is a dream netballers all over the state only think of. But Coleman is living it and has already represented the six-time Premiers in numerous pre-season clashes.
"I thoroughly enjoy the intensity of the Swifts' training sessions and learn something new every time I step out on court with them," she adds.
"It is an opportunity that I will never take for granted and I know that to perform like the other Swifts girls I always have to give 100%. Briony (Akle) and Bec (Bulley) have taught me so much and have been such great mentors, as well as all of the girls who want to see every player and training partner succeed.
"Being in the defence end, both Sarah (Klau) and Maddy Turner have been great in helping me learn and also showing me what is required to be a Swift player and dominate. I have been more versatile this year going between GK and GD and I have loved learning the tips and tricks of Maddy Turner’s ability to get great intercepts and be a pest in the GD position."
Underpinning the Swifts is the QBE Swifts Academy, which Coleman says has been vital in her development.
"The Academy has been great in further developing the athletes who have potential and have been great in helping athletes be a well-rounded person and player," she says.
"I love being coached under Lenore (Blades) and training with girls that I have played with since the U17 NSW squads. The intensity is also really high at the training which is testament to both Lenore and Daniel Johnson's (S&C) coaching, and it sets us up for great performances at games, whether it be at the Swifts, Premier League or State.
"Since being a little girl, it has always been a dream of mine to play with the Swifts and in the Diamonds, and so I will continue to chase this dream. Being in the Swifts squad as a training partner and being in the Swifts academy makes this dream one step closer to being a reality."
Between the Swifts and Hawks, it's wonderful to see another NSW athlete flying high.
This story originally appeared on the Netball NSW Premier League website.