Australian swimming star James Roberts has put his goggles on ice to kickstart a new career as a real estate agent.
Roberts, 30, this week joined prestige agency Kollosche and will work under the wing of southern beaches specialist Troy Dowker.
It is a big step for the two-time Olympian and bronze medallist, who has been swimming competitively for 14 years and had aspirations to compete in Tokyo.
“I never thought I would still be swimming at age 30, but I was desperate to be in that relay team again. Usually they’ll take six swimmers, and I was sixth, but this year they decided to only take five, so I missed out,” Roberts said.
“After three shoulder reconstructions and various other health issues it had been getting harder and harder, so while I was happy with how I swam, in some ways it was probably a blessing in disguise. I took it as a sign that it was time for me to move on.”
Roberts has a degree in advertising and marketing but his interest in property led him to utilise time in lockdown last year to gain his real estate licence.
“Having been looking for a property myself, I thought why not give it a crack. I like communicating with people and helping someone to buy their dream home struck a chord with me,” Roberts said.
“Hopefully some of the tools I’ve learned in my years swimming will help me out.
“Kollosche are very process driven and work as a team, and that is how I like to work. When I was swimming I performed best when in a team, so it suits me.”
Thrown in the deep-end on his first week on the job, Roberts, who lives in Miami, said he was determined to make his new career a success.
“For me I like to set my goals high, so if you do fall short, you’ve probably still achieved something special,” Roberts said.
“I think I would like to run my own agency one day, but for now I am just grateful for the opportunity and, like a sponge, am just trying to soak up as much information as I can.”
Roberts, who admits to having never owned his own home, also hopes he will finally be able to find his dream home while working in the profession.
“It’s was hard while swimming. Buying a house is stressful and I didn’t want to stress myself out with that while I was training,” Roberts said.
“I’ve been saving for a deposit for a long time, but being an Olympian isn’t the high-paying job people might think it is.
“Hopefully learning more about the market and being in the industry will help lead to me buying something.”
Roberts, who is originally from Tweed Heads, has been a two-time Olympian, competing in London in 2012 in the 4 x 100m medley and freestyle relays and then in Rio in 2016, where he earned his bronze medal in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay.
When asked if he found it hard to watch his teammates compete in Tokyo, Roberts said: “I was glued to the screen. I was so super proud of them.
“It was a different Olympics, but it was an Olympics the world needed and I was so happy that the Australian team as a whole was so successful.”
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