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 Athlete Squad - consisting of approximately 20 high performing sports athletes within an array of different sports.

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

In addition to the Elite Athletes group I received 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 and training costs and for the purchase of any equipment; it is something I am very grateful for.

Upon Starting University I also joined the ski club - NUSSC - Newcastle University Ski and Snowboard Club of which my two elder sisters were key members prior to gradating 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 and pick up my old form.

Last weekend I competed in NeoSki (North East Open Champs.) held at Silksworth along with 3 other NUSSC members - the following write up summarises out 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...
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'll try to get some photos of the brand new strength and conditioning room at the gym for my next post.
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.

I am filled with a new enthusiasm and determination to improve on dry slope, which is currently a great challenge. My confidence is building week by week and I am very eager to race at BUDs (British Uni Dry Slop Champs) in a few weekends time in Edinburgh. Especially following our great success in the first few rounds of the Kings Races held at Rossendale yesterday, in which the 1st 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 the correct technique on ergo machines. This was followed by a selection weekend were 68 girls tried out. The testing consisted of a leg press, to assess strength, and a gruelling session on a schwinn airdyne machine, to measure cardiovascular fitness and mental toughness. I later found out that I have made the top 20 so would be representing Newcastle University Novice Rowers. An accomplishment I am very proud of. I cannot wait to make it out onto the water soon in the next few weeks. It also excites me that rowing training will contribute to my overall fitness and will no doubt benefit my skiing due to the emphasis on leg strength, power, abdominal strength and upper body (the latter being notoriously weak - I once completed only 3 press-ups in a fitness testing a few years ago at a ski camp in NZ!!)

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