Published on: 1 August 2013

Year 12 students Alexander Chua and Simon Swan won bronze medals for Australia at the 2013 International Mathematics and Science Olympiads respectively last month. Simon competed at the International Physics Olympiad (IPO) in Denmark from 7 to 15 July while Alexander returned from Columbia this week after competing in the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO).

Simon said while the IPO itself was challenging, the four days of gruelling training in Riga, Latvia, were even more intense. “We worked 10-hour days, which included five-hour exams and learning,” he said. “As the sun didn’t set until 10.30pm, I never saw Latvia at night.”

The School Captain said he felt a mixture of excitement and disbelief when he learnt he had won a bronze medal with the Australian team finishing 29th out of 83 countries. “After two years of studying, it was very relieving,” he said. “But the great thing was that everyone on our team won a medal and quite often, this is not the case.”

Alexander also said it was very satisfying to finally get to the IMO stage after attending national training camps twice a year for the past four years. He said he was quite relieved to discover he had won bronze as there were some questions he did not solve, which he thought were within his ability.

“Probably the best part of the experience was finding out that we came 15th out of 97 countries – equalling Australia’s best performance since 2000,” Alexander said. “Everyone on our team also won a medal.”

Both boys said they enjoyed meeting students from around the world, learning about other countries and exchanging souvenirs. The team parade at the opening ceremony was also highlight.