Tumut swimming sensation Edward Dodds is ready to dive into the next stage of his life.
The 18-year-old has been a role model for young students and swimmers in Tumut and surrounds in recent years, leading by example as captain of Tumut High School in 2023 while dominating in the pool.
Dodds, who moved to Wollongong earlier this week, will now turn his attention to a double degree, studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics and Finance at the University of Wollongong.
Additionally, he’ll continue to swim and make his mark in the Swimming Australia ranks.
“It’s a very exciting time surrounding yourself with people of similar interests and being presented with opportunities to try new things,” Dodds said.
“I intend to swim up here with better access to the sport and hope to achieve the goal of top-ten nationally.”
Late last year, Dodds was awarded the Ampol NSW Best All Rounder Award for 2023, which goes to a student in Year 12 involved in a broad range of school and community activities, such as academic, sporting, cultural or school service, and recognises leadership, service and community, sport, arts and culture, attitude and personal conduct.
Dodds was a popular captain and talented swimmer, while he also played and refereed basketball and football, evolving into an integral member of the Tumut community.
The prize came with a $2000 cash grant, a $1000 Ampol Cash gift card, and a $2000 grant for Tumut High School.
“The NSW Ampol All Rounder Award was an incredible surprise, and it feels great to have my various achievements acknowledged on such a level,” Dodds said.
An Australian Champion in 2022, Dodds competed in Brisbane at the School Sport Australia Swimming Championships and helped NSW to a gold medal in the 10x50m freestyle relay, while he also finished third in the 50m freestyle 4x50m medley relay and 4x50m freestyle relay.
Over the years, Dodds has defied living in a town with a pool that is only open six months of the year, staying loyal to Tumut Swimming Club and still winning a plethora of NSW Country, State, and National medals.
“My proudest moment was probably my first major medal, which was at NSW Country about seven years ago,” Dodds said.
“This greatly encouraged me to continue pursuing competitive swimming, and I still reminisce to remind me of what’s possible.”
Dodds was the first to admit he had great support during his time in Tumut, and he was quick to thank those who made everything possible.
“I have to thank my family for being assuring but understanding, the various coaches over the years, like Leanne Turnbull, Max Hargreaves, Kristi Knight and my brother Charlie, as well as my peers both local and around the region that kept me excited about the sport and pushed me to achieve,” Dodds said.
“Also, thank you to the town of Tumut for being a great place to grow up and best of luck to everybody else in my year moving on to bigger things.”
For those young swimming stars looking to emulate Dodds’ success, he has a message worth taking on board.
“My advice is to not let your circumstances define your potential,” Dodds said.
“If you believe you are capable of greatness, take initiative and make it happen.”