Sunday, 28 October 2012


At the end of September I moved into Castle Leazes Halls to begin a 3 year course of Business management and Geography at Newcastle University. Having applied in the summer I was delighted to find out two weeks ago that I had been selected for the Elite Athletes Squad - which consists of approximately 20 high performing sports athletes within an array of different sports.  

Squad selection criteria is based on past, current and potential sports performance. The programme is specifically designed to help every athlete reach their full sporting potential whilst maintaining high academic standards. A lecture programme is held weekly covering topics such as sports physiology, nutrition, psychology, injury prevention and management, alongside a tailored strength & conditioning programme. Squad members also receive full medical and physiotherapy screening by a sports physician and a team GB physiotherapist - for me this is the 18th November.

In addition to the Elite Athletes group I also recieved a sports scholarship of £750 from Santander paid in small sums throughout this year - this will be extremely useful in terms of paying for competition costs, training costs and for the purchasing of any equipment; it is something I am extremely grateful for. 

Upon starting university I also joined the ski society - NUSSC - Newcastle University Ski and Snowboard Club; of which my two elder sisters were key members of prior to graduating this summer. Training is held every tuesday night at Silksworth Dry Ski Slope in Sunderland (only half an hours drive away). Re-starting on dry slope after a two year break was fairly daunting however over the past couple of weeks I have felt myself really progress.

Last weekend I competed in the Neoski (North East Open Championships) race held at Silkworth along with 3 other NUSSC members. The following write up summarises our success:

"Four of Newcastle's top skiers ventured out to Silksworth artificial slope in Sunderland for the North East Open Championships. This was a three run slalom race, open to all of the ski clubs across the region and there were around 50 skiers entered, including those from school teams right the way up to national squad skiers.

Under clear blue ski...
es (something of a novelty for Sunderland!), Jonathan Powell was the first Newcastle racer on the slope and threw the gauntlet down to the rest of the field with a fast run, closely followed by Chris Penrose and Elite Athlete Olivia Parker. Will Cave, racing in what he admitted was not his favourite discipline, was unfortunate to crash out on his first run. Nonetheless, he fought his way down the course on the second and third runs to take third place in the U21 category. Chris and Olivia both got faster and faster with every run: Chris picking up 3rd in the Senior category and 7th overall, and Olivia winning the females race (and taking 8th in the overall classification). But it was Jonathan who set the fastest time of the day on the last run, to win the Championships outright by just over half a second.

With all our skiers entered making the podium, it was definitely a good day at the office for Team Newcastle and NUSSC!"

(Anon. 2012)

I am filled with a new enthusiasm and determination to improve on dry slope which is currently a great challenge to myself; however as my confidence is building week by week I am extremely eager to race at the BUDS (British University Dry Slope Championships) in a few weekends time in Edinburgh! Especially following our great success in the first round of the Kings Races held in Rossendale yesterday - in which the first team won and the girls team finished 4th
On another note I signed up for the university rowing team purely on a whim in freshers week. Approximately 100 novice girls signed up and undertook a couple of weeks training including circuits, running and learning the correct technique on ergo machines. This was followed by a selection weekend where 68 girls tried out. The testing consited of a leg press, to asses our strength, and a gruelling session on a schwinn airdyne machine, to measure cardiovascular fitness and mental toughness. I later found out that I had made the team along with 19 other girls!! Something I am VERY pleased about! And cannot wait to make it onto the water sometime in the next few weeks. I am also excited about the fact that training for rowing will no doubt be of great benefit to my skiing as there is much emphasis on leg strength and power, followed by abdominal strength and upper body - all of which are important for skiing.

I'll try to get some photos of the brand new strength and conditioning room at the gym for my next post.

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