Ebenezer resident Chelsea Brown and two of her fellow Year 12 classmates were among 27 young Hawkesbury people who visited the YMCA Hawkesbury Oasis at South Windsor for free during their HSC exams.
Chelsea said it helped her de-stress during the stressful period, and she might not have had the opportunity had the visits not been offered to HSC students for free.
"One of my mum's friends sent me the link and said 'this could be a really good idea', so I said to a couple of my friends to come with me," Chelsea told the Gazette.
"I definitely think it helped me de-stress so much. I kind of had the excuse [previously] that I couldn't necessarily afford the gym, and then when it was catered for, there was no excuse not to go.
"It was great to catch up with my friends while doing something proactive like exercising - then there's no guilt for not studying, it's all about letting-off energy."
The 17-year-old St Paul's Grammar student attended between two and four times a week during her exams, working out in the gym on the treadmill and swimming in the pool.
"When you're studying and sitting down at your desk you feel like you don't have the time, but in reality it helps you burn off energy and you end up sleeping better, it de-stresses you, and it's good for your mental health as well as physically, to relax, and think about something else as well as studying," said Chelsea.
YMCA NSW (the Y) offered free exercise to HSC students at numerous centres around the state during exams, through the Take the Pressure Off initiative - designed also to help support the generation of students feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic most profoundly.
YMCA NSW CEO Susannah Le Bron said: "Over the past few weeks, the Y welcomed HSC students into 16 of our recreation and aquatic centres across NSW free of charge, so they could tap into the incredible healing power of exercise and community connection.
"Money should never be a barrier to good health. We are proud to have helped almost 200 young people find a sense of balance, perspective and calm at the Y while completing that final, stressful hurdle of High School."