Hollie Elliot, a current student in the School of Law, has been a keen swimmer throughout her childhood and has most recently been competing in triathlons. Since joining the University she has been awarded a Sports Scholarship.
Hear about Hollie’s experiences combining sport and her studies below.
How did you start competing in Triathlons?
I have been a swimmer since the age of 6 and also competed in cross country for my primary and secondary schools. I started tiring of swimming when I reached 14 as swimming twice a day was very time consuming, but a friend I swam with already competed in triathlon so he suggested I give it a try too. I trialled for the North-East Academy – a training group in my home region governed by British Triathlon - and was accepted. Coming to the sport relatively late I was thrown in to national events straight away which significantly improved me as an athlete as I had to learn quickly!
You came 3rd at the Zagreb European Cup in 2018 how did that feel?
This race was only my third elite international event and was my first podium in a competition of this level, so it wasn’t actually something that I expected to happen. I knew I had been training well leading into the race so I went to the event hoping to have another race like my previous 7th in Latvia. I realised I had won a medal during the last kilometre of the run and it was just such a great feeling of pride and accomplishment that everything had gone right this time. It was also my last race of the season and I expected my parents to be watching at home so I was excited to call them too.
How important is the Sports scholarship to your continued sporting career?
Some aspects of the sports scholarship are great, for example, access to strength and conditioning coaches coaching and physio support if it is needed. I didn’t really do strength and conditioning consistently before coming to university, so this has considerably helped my development.
How do you find combining your sport with your studies?
It is honestly extremely difficult. My law degree comes with a lot of work itself and when you combine that with training 20 hours per week it’s really tiring, especially around racing or exam times. Sometimes it does all get a bit too much and I have to take a step back from sport. Time management is really important.
How supportive is the school?
The school has actually been really helpful so far. My timetabling has been altered to allow me to better manage my training alongside the degree, which was really useful. There are a few specific people who I know I can go and speak to if I need support regarding this.
What next for your sporting career? What are your aspirations after graduation?
This year will be my first year in the senior elite u23 category so it’s going to be a step up in distance and competition but it should be a good year for me to gain experience without too much pressure to perform. I am still relatively new to the sport in comparison to others so I still have a lot of improving to do, but to reach a European or World championships in the near future would be great. Long term, an Olympic and Commonwealth games would be the ultimate goal, but I guess everyone says that!
I am unsure what I want to pursue after graduation, but I intend to gain as much experience as I can in the next two years which will hopefully help me reach a decision. A career in law is still a possibility.