I first came to Plymouth when I was 16 to study my A-Levels at Plymouth College, a boarding school.
I should probably cut straight to the chase; I swim a lot, and this is why I chose to move to Plymouth.
The school has an incredible scholarship programme with Plymouth Leander; a world-class swimming programme that has produced world-class athletes. Although I struggled at first to keep up, with the help of the coaches and some pretty brutal training, my times improved dramatically and I was finally swimming at the international level that I had always set my sights on.
So when it came to making the next step in my education, Plymouth University offered me the course that I wanted to study, and the ability to combine this with my training, through the Sporting Excellence Scholarship. It was a no-brainer! Moreover, you’ll struggle to find campuses that have such beautiful scenery around them, especially in the Summer. Sure, it might get a tad chilly in Winter, but then again, where doesn’t it in the UK?
A lot of people told me that I would get bored of Plymouth and that I needed a change of scene, but now, as I move in to my second year of studying English here, I could not disagree with them more. I continue to discover new, secret places in Plymouth and, thanks to all the events put on by the university, I meet new people all the time. People often joke that swimmers have no social lives because we’re in bed by 9pm and we’re up at the crack of dawn, but we are also living proof that there’s a lot of fun to be had that doesn’t require late nights and heavy drinking! Plymouth is a very diverse city, and if you’re willing to make the most out of your university experience, no matter who you are, you will never get bored.
I feel very lucky to be able to study a subject that I love, whilst also being able to pursue my dream of becoming a professional swimmer and competing at top competitions like the Olympics and World Championships. This year, I competed at my first major international competition, the European Championships and even managed to make a final in the 4x200m freestyle relay. That definitely would not have been possible without everything offered to me by the scholarship, from sports psychology and physio sessions, to helping me manage all of my assignments that were due in the same week as the competition! In that sense, the support from the university has been invaluable to me, and I implore any serious athlete to take advantage of the great opportunities that Plymouth University has to offer you.