It has been a long time coming - the last time UniSport Nationals was held was 2019 on the Gold Coast - but finally the time has arrived and students from all over Australia have descended on Perth to represent their universities and enjoy a week of competition.
Included in UNSW's strong team are 13 members of the Elite Athlete Program (EAP) who are sharing their skills and expertise in their sports with their teammates. The 13 students are spread across seven sports and have put in some strong performances throughout the opening few days of competition.
Netball has the most EAP representation of any sport that UNSW is participating in. Sarah McIlveen is playing in the UNSW women's team. The talented defender hails from Quirindi and has been a member of the Netball NSW Regional Talent Squads and now living in Sydney while studying at UNSW, she represents Randwick in the Netball NSW Metro League competition. The UNSW women's team finished third in their pool after two wins and two losses. Their next game will be a classification match against Victoria University.
The mixed team is headlined by defender Olivia Coleman, who is part of the GIANTS Netball Academy and recently won most valuable player for the Capital Darters at the Australian Netball Championships. Coleman is joined by fellow EAPs Abigail Worswick, who represented the ACT at the 19 & Under National Netball Championships this year and plays for Capital Spirit in the NSW Premier League, and Brooklyn Jack, who has previously been a member of the Randwick Sparks youth academy. The mixed team had a strong start to the week, winning four of their five pool games, but were bumped to third in the pool on percentage and had a disappointing loss to Edith Cowan University in the classifiers. They will now face off against Swinburne in the Division 2 semi finals.
Two EAPs are representing UNSW in swimming, with Liam Filby winning a silver medal in the men's 100m butterfly and Storm Raddatt completing the women's 50m butterfly in 33:08. UNSW ranked in 18th position in the overall point score.
EAPs and twins Ella Pinkerton and Josie Pinkerton are representing UNSW in the women's basketball competition. Both sisters are members of the UNSW Basketball Club executive and came up through the junior pathways at a representative level with Newcastle. The UNSW team finished second in their pool, winning four of their five pool games. Unfortunately they went down to Monash in their quarter final and will now play a division 1 group match to decide which placing match they will contest.
Two EAPs are representing UNSW in badminton also, with Ethan Chen competing in the men's team that finished undefeated at the top of their pool and won two further games in their next round of competition. They play one more game in this round before progressing to the semi finals. Meanwhile EAP Carina Sam and her team have been equally dominant in the women's competition, also undefeated with two pool matches left to play. Their competition goes straight to placing matches, so if the team maintain their current ladder position of second, or better it, they will automatically play in the gold medal match.
UNSW was due to have three EAPs in its rowing team, but flight cancellations thwarted Nik Pender and Pat Burke and they were unable to make it to Perth. However Marcus Della Marta has led the charge for UNSW, which finished fifth in the total points table at the end of their competition. Della Marta won a bronze medal in the men's double sculls along with partner Julian Hervir.
EAP Jamie Lau has been a key member of the UNSW tennis team at Nationals. The team won three of their four pool games and are now in the group stages, where they will play Edith Cowan University to decide which placing they will play for.
EAP Andrew Hadchiti is playing for the UNSW men's touch team. The team battled their way through the pool rounds, finishing in fourth place with two wins and three losses. They will play Monash in a repechage match for a shot at playing UTS in the semi finals.