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Maddison Keeney, World Aquatics

Balancing full-time work and a professional sporting career should be an Olympic sport on its own, but for Maddison Keeney that’s what she’s done since 2021 – and represented Australia at the Olympic Games.

Maddison joined mining giant BHP through the Minerals Australia Lift Program while she was preparing for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2021. Due to her significant training commitments, BHP worked with Maddison to design a flexible part-time role that allowed her to do both.

Maddison started diving when she was 10 years old living in Western Australia.

“I was a bit of a go-getter kid and my mum put me into a lot of different sports when I was younger. I started with a learn to dive program when I was 10 and it just went from there.”

Maddison said there were times when she was young that she would get quite scared standing at the top of the diving board, but the payoff was always worth it.

“There were many days, when learning a new dive, I would be up there and too scared to step off, but I think that’s a pretty common thing with younger kids or at least it was with me. I was a bit scared of heights, but it was all part of the process and learning.

“Some days are harder, diving is quite a mental sport, as well as physical, so it can be difficult at times.”

Maddison started competing at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in 2013. She finished 18th in the Women’s 1-Metre and 8th in the Women’s 3-Metre Synchro events. Her diving only improved, finishing in the top-ten every year since and this year finished 1st in the Mixed 3-Metre Springboard, 2nd in the Mixed 3-Metre Synchronised, 3rd in the Mixed 3 and 10-Metre Team event and 4th in the Women’s 3-metre.

Maddison has also had the privilege of donning the green and gold, representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games in the UK in 2022, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018, the RIO Olympics and the Commonwealth Games in the UK in 2014.

In 2018, Maddison won the silver medal on the Gold Coast for the Women’s 3-Metre.

She said that was one of the best experiences she’s had.

Maddison Keeney, World Aquatics

“It’s hard to go past the Olympic Games, going for the first time and winning a medal. As you get older though, you get a bit wiser and you take different things away from different competitions which makes the experience a lot better because I know what I can get out of travelling and competing.”

Maddison still works for BHP, five days a week from Brisbane in between her training sessions.

“I’m a Fleet Management Technician so my team look after all the mining fleet so the trucks, the drills, the diggers, etc. at a few of the coal mines in Queensland so we do the back-end management of all the machines.

“I feel so grateful that I have had the opportunity to work flexibly here at BHP, it has given me the opportunity to not only continue training full time, but also work and develop my career at the same time. Without the flexible hours, it would be impossible to do both at the same time.

“It is really fulfilling that I can grow myself not only as an athlete but as an individual with a career.”

Next in Maddison’s career is the Paris Olympics. Qualifications are in June, so until then she’ll keep diving off the platform and filling her career cup in Brisbane.

Image credit: World Aquatics.

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