Our latest blog post comes from Jasmine Mann, 19, who studies Sports and Exercise Science at Cardiff Met University. She swims regularly for the university and has represented Great Britain at Surf Lifesaving, winning medals at the World and European competitions. She has also recently completed her fourth year as an RNLI beach lifeguard in Newquay. Going into her second year, this is her experience of swimming at university.
Swimming at university is great fun but can also be a challenge. When I first joined Cardiff Metropolitan Univesity I was trying to figure out how I would find the right balance between studying, training, social life and getting enough sleep. However, it turned out to be much easier than I thought and became clear that planning was the key to fitting everything in.
The first thing that struck me was how outstanding the Cardiff Met facilities were. As with most universities, it was a real step up from school. An indoor 25m pool on campus means you can go straight from training to studying. The gym facilities along with their instructors are another step up - with four gyms on campus, where we are able to attend two focus specialist sessions a week with two coaches. Alongside this, there are the sports therapists available whenever you need them. There is also more focus on nutrition. With food being such a big factor for a lot of athletes there are always cafes open to enable pre-sport preparation and post-sport recovery.
With training and going away for competitions, there have sometimes been clashes with lectures, seminars and practicals. However, both my swim coaching team and teaching staff have been very accommodating with this and enabled me to do both without missing out at either.
Swimming is becoming more expensive, although the university really caters to students needs and helping to keep the costs down. Cardiff offers a set payment which allows for pool and gym training. It also covers travel, accommodation and fees for some great competitions.
Another benefit to swimming at university is that there have been some great opportunities to take part in tests which different level students have been conducting as part of their degrees. These have included lactate tests as well as the impact of sports massage prior to racing.
There are three major competitions in the year, short course BUCS, long course BUCS and Team Champs. All of these are help up in Sheffield and sponsored by Speedo. These are all incredible, as over 1700 swimmers with different abilities join together from all over the country to create an unbelievable atmosphere.
It really doesn't matter if you are a high-end competitive swimmer or just looking to try something new there are loads of reasons to swim at university. It is great for fitness, the socials are fantastic and it is the perfect environment to make friends and memories.