UNSW Arts / Business student Tim Putt is taking the rescheduled Olympics in his stride

At the start of this year, Tim Putt was looking down the barrel of a sensational year. He had just relocated from Perth to Sydney to improve his chances of being selected in the Aussie Sharks men’s water polo team for the Tokyo Olympics. He was settling in well with his new UNSW-Wests Magpies team in the Australian Water Polo League and had started his Arts / Business studies at UNSW.

And then everything changed. Within a few weeks the league was cancelled without playing finals, study moved off campus and the Olympics was pushed back a full year. It’s been a lot to adjust to, but the 21-year-old is taking it all in his stride.

“I've just been taking the news as it comes really and not overthinking it,” he said.

“It was a blow for the Olympics to be postponed but I've been in a really positive headspace about it and just taking it as if the Olympics was actually supposed to be next year and staying completely focused on it.”

While usually running around between training and classes, self-isolation has given Putt more time to relax and focus – as well as chalk up a few brownie points with his dad.

“My typical day at the moment is pretty standard, I get up and go to the beach to do a swim every morning followed by a coffee, then I come home complete any uni work I have,” he said.

“And then I get down to the jobs around the house my dad has given me for the day, he's enjoying ordering me around to renovate the house! And then in the evening I'll either complete a gym session from our gym coach or go for a run.”

Balancing sport and study is nothing new for Putt, who has been pursuing his water polo dream while going through school and university for many years. He believes it’s important for him to do both as he prepares for the future.

“It's a big thing emphasised in water polo, that it's a great sport and it's a professional sport, but you can't make a living out of it,” he said.

“And so it's almost a good thing that it makes you study and prepare yourself for life after water polo, which I think is actually a good thing.”

The balancing act can be tough at times, but after years of dashing between the pool and the desk, Putt has a good rhythm sorted.

“Procrastination is definitely the biggest killer, especially with training and tiredness,” he said.

“So I make sure I have a plan, have a timetable - my dad always emphasises that - and communication is a big thing. 

“You know, if you're falling behind, let someone know that can help you. Let your coaches know because maybe they could do something to help you as well.”

While he’s been enjoying the chance to refocus, Putt is excited for the challenges ahead and the opportunity to get back into full training for the rescheduled Olympics.

“I'm looking forward to seeing my mates again and getting back in the pool with them and into some hard training to continue the good results we were achieving,” he said.