Classroom an escape for Olympian

For Paris Olympics bound student athlete Sienna Hearn there’s a secret incentive to pursuing a teaching career.

Graduating from Australian Catholic University to a school classroom down the track would mean more precious hours out of the pool.

“I love working with kids. And I do love being in the water,” the Aussie Stingers water polo player said.

“Being a teacher would mean I can still work with children but escape the pool for a few hours a week.”

In July Sienna will make her Olympic debut alongside another ACU connection, alumnus Elle Armit, as the Stingers target an improvement on their fifth placing in Tokyo three years ago.

The twin passions of teaching and water polo mostly intertwine seamlessly for the ACU Elite Athlete and Performer Program (EAPP) student.

When not training or playing, Sienna is a teacher at Carlile Swimming, Freshwater, the school founded by Forbes Carlile who guided Australian Olympic swimming great Shane Gould.

Her balancing act also includes studying for a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at the university’s Strathfield campus and online.

She transferred to ACU at the beginning of the Olympic year for the additional EAPP member benefits that include academic support, course flexibility and timetabling assistance.

“It’s the constant check-ins that I’ve found most helpful,” Sienna said. “Sometimes you get caught up in the stress of managing everything, then you realise you’ve got that extra support.”

Growing up near Sydney’s northern beaches, Sienna tackled sport with gusto.

She discovered a love for the ocean while competing in nippers at Manly. Sienna was a willing combatant in backyard battles with her three brothers, and enjoyed the rough and tumble of rugby union from the age of four.

Water polo’s community vibe won her heart when she focused solely on the sport from her mid-teens.

To be selected for the Olympics was both elation and a realisation that expectations will rise.

“I’ve dreamt of this for so long and now the reality of it is starting to sink in,” the 21-year-old said. 

“This is something else now. Now it’s more of a performance pressure and it feels different.”

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs