Winmalee High HSC student Matt Wilson juggles swimming with exams

From 10am today [Thursday, October 13] thousands of students will simultaneously pile into school halls, classrooms and exam centres for the only compulsory exam of the HSC, English. 

Among them will be 17-year-old Springwood resident Matt Wilson who, between training for the trials of the World Short Course Swimming Championships, has managed to squeeze in five HSC exams. 

Given the option by his parents of finishing up school early and concentrating on his 50,100, 200 breaststroke and 100 freestyle, Matthew threw it right back at them. 

"I am not a quitter," said the Winmalee High School student.

In April, Matt was the fifth fastest 200-metre breaststroker in the world. He was named Blue Mountains Sportsperson of the Year on Australia Day.

Over the next month, in every week he will miss just one of his twice-daily training sessions for a bit of extra study, while using his travel time between the pool and home to cram – on top of normal school hours. 

"Swimming is kind of my free time, I just ponder about everything and have a song going on in my head," he said. 

His final exam, Food Technology, will take place the afternoon before his first trial in a temporary exam room next to the meet. He hopes it will be his last before he takes up a Bachelor of Exercise Science next year.

"I'm not worried at the moment, but that can change in an instant. I've done exams in similar conditions before, without a lot of preparation. I've coped all right." 

The HSC exams will finish on November 4. 

- Sydney Morning Herald