This week's post comes from GBR Surf Lifesaving athlete Jasmine Mann. She is currently in her second year at Cardiff Met and has earned multiple caps for GBR competing at the World and European Competitions. She has also recently worked her fourth season as an RNLI beach lifeguard in Newquay.
Growing up in Newquay, on the worlds famous surfing beach, Fistral, I have always had a love for sport, and especially Surf Lifesaving. Surf Lifesaving is a multi-disciplinary competitive sport, which has evolved from the skills used by lifeguards. It is recognised around the world but is best known in Australia. Competitions are held at a range of beaches across the UK and World at different levels. Competing in a range of events on the beach such as board, ski, mock rescues, beach sprints and flags, as well as team events. I have developed and grown this love over the years competing and winning various medals in local and national competitions.
It was in 2014 where my opportunities developed, and I represented Cornwall and England for the first time, followed by my first selection for the Great Britain team to go to France for the World Championships. This has led me on to go to places such as Japan, Belgium, New Zealand, The Netherlands and most recently to Italy.
There are so many reasons why I love this sport. For starters it makes me happy, just being in the water with friends and people who share the same love. It also gives me a feeling of being free and allows me to clear my head and let myself go. Being able to visit new countries and experience different cultures has helped me enjoy lifelong memories and make friends from all around the world. Along my journey, I have been able to develop a range of skills which I can apply to my lifestyle and use to help others.
This sport has given me a large number of opportunities. The obvious one is getting to travel the world to compete but it has opened so many more doors than that. I have been lucky enough to join exchange programmes at schools abroad and it has also helped me to get my first job. One of the best opportunities is being able to inspire others; delivering talks at schools and writing newspaper articles to spread my knowledge.
'If you think training is hard, try losing'. Training isn't easy but there are many positives that make it worthwhile. I train 2-3 times a day, 6 days a week. My training ranges from swimming in the pool, running, ski/kayak paddling, sea swimming and gym and CrossFit sessions. I love going to training as I meed up with friends, know I am improving my performance and doing something I love. I have been very fortunate to have my family around me along with many others to support me on my journey. Often it is their encouragement which allows me to commit and progress in this sport.
So far in Lifesaving, I have gained 4 England, 4 Cornwall and 6 GB caps. My first GB cap was at the age of 14, which made me the youngest on the team. I have also taken part in World and European competitions and collected 1 World and 6 European medals.
I am currently at Cardiff Met University, studying Sport and Exercise Science in my 2nd year. Training and work aren't always easy but as you can see I have managed to balance out the two. If anything I would say sport has helped me during my studies, as it gives me something else to go and do, giving me a break from studying. For more insight into balancing University studies with University sport check out my other blog post on Swimming at University.
I completed an extended research project (EPQ) where I looked at 'How sport affects intelligence levels', looking at secondary evidence already collected as well as collecting my own from a local primary school. All evidence pointed towards sport having a positive impact on your grades. So, if you are struggling for time around other commitments, I would suggest you find a little time it can help stressful times become less stressful.