Athlete Committee Update May 2024

Published Thu 09 May 2024

In 2023 there was an opportunity for the Athlete Committee (AC) to reinvigorate and redefine their purpose, scope and the impact they have in the sport of diving by empowering athlete voice and wellbeing in our sport, as there was a turnover in committee members. The new look AC, consisting of Rachel Dutschke (nee Bugg) as Chair, Anabelle Smith, Laura Hingston, Emily Meaney, Olivia O’Rourke and James Connor met once a month during 2023 to ensure we created the strong, impactful and trustworthy committee we have today.

Our first priority as a committee was to develop and define our scope and purpose. We met face to face in Sydney in April 2023 with Briar Sefo (AIS Leadership Professionalism Consultant) to understand what the role of an Athlete Committee was and to develop out scope and purpose as a team. Our Scope and purpose are:

  • Acting as a voice for athletes, with a broader focus on impacting all levels of the pathways within our sport
  • Challenging progression of the sport
  • Transparent communication with Diving Australia on matters involving and impacting athletes
  • Providing an additional and alternative avenue for athlete support and communication within Diving Australia
  • Hearing concerns that pertain to the wider athlete diving community, and providing referrals and contact to staff best placed to address the matters
  • We are committed to best representing the athlete cohort with leadership, respect, empathy and openness.

Now, in 2024, with the hard work and dedication our committee members gave to laying the foundations of who we are and what we represent and stand for in 2023, I am pleased to say we now meet quarterly to discuss and address any athlete related issues that may be presented to us through discussions with athletes or our call out to seek feedback on specific topics. In addition, we have an ongoing group chat, where we are able to post in and discuss pressing issues between meetings, so we are best able to call an extra meeting if required to address important issues.

We are proud of the impact we have had as a committee throughout 2023. Notably, we worked to rewrite our Terms of Reference (TOR) as the previous ones, we did not believe, were reflective of our current Committee. We worked with Diving Australia CEO Alex Newton and the DA Board to transform AC to a Committee reporting to the CEO, instead of a committee of the board. This structural change is more functional for what we were aiming to achieve.

Previously called the ACAS Grant, we worked together to rename this ‘Beyond the Boards’ in the hopes to reinvigorate the support and attract some new applicants. This program’s purpose, however, did not change and firmly stood to help athletes outside of the pool to help progress any study or business ventures that they were planning. This grant has been running since 2019, however we made the eligibility clearer and renamed it to align with benefits of receiving this grant.

We were delighted that a new sponsorship with Kozii swimwear and Diving Australia was warmly welcomed by the National Squad (NS). The AC surveyed all NS athletes to select the best suited brand for our current athletes. Once the partnership was finalised, members of the AC met with Kozii’s Indigenous artist, Pearl Campbell, to design the current swimwear that our athletes can be seen wearing on the international stage. To understand this incredible Indigenous artwork, all athletes who have been given these bathers have engaged in a presentation by Pearl herself and been provided with an  overview as to what the artwork presents. Post-Paris, the AC are also hoping to continue our First Nations education and are looking to engage with various groups during camps and competitions to connect with Country, have a yarn and learn more and embrace our Indigenous culture.

Since our revised inception in 2023, the AC has been providing athlete feedback to the Diving Australia leadership team on decisions directly impacting athlete’s and athlete wellbeing, including strategic, practical and other athlete related topics. Most recently, we captured athlete feedback and provided this voice to workshop the naming of the athlete squads for post-Paris restructure. Feedback from the athletes is essential for what we do to help improve the culture and experience for our athletes and we thank the athletes for their ongoing support, willingness to provide this feedback and trust in the work we are doing.

In 2024 we were thrilled to see James Connor appointed as the CEO of Diving Victoria. As a result of this, we called out for expressions of interest for a new AC member. We recently welcomed Cassiel Rousseau to the team and are excited for Cassiel to share his perspective and insights in the work we do on the committee. We wish James all the best in his new role and thank him for his contribution to the AC and look forward to working with him in his new role as CEO of DV.

Overall, it’s been an exciting time to help lead this Committee and reflect on what we have achieved in such a short time frame. I look forward to continuing working with athletes and the committee to continue the success of the AC.

If you wish to contact the AC, please email us at: