Sporting Excellence Scholarships for water-based sports

What are Sporting Excellence Scholarships?

If you are a University of Plymouth student studying a full-time degree level course whilst competing at an international level in a water based sport, such as swimming or sailing, you may be eligible to apply for one of our Sporting Excellence Scholarships. There are five awards of £800 available per scholar per year.

Applicants must meet our shortlisting criteria, and successful scholars are determined by a shortlisting panel based on the information and evidence provided in written applications. Students must re-apply annually.

If you are an international student who requires a Student (formerly Tier 4) visa please read our information regarding working restrictions. It is not usually possible for Student visa holders to apply for these scholarships due to these restrictions.

Shortlisting criteria

  • A world/international ranking (county rankings do not apply).
  • Selected by the respective National Governing Body to represent their country e.g. GB training camps.
  • Podium potential athletes or on route to be.
  • Have the ability to compete at the top competitive level e.g. Olympic or Paralympic Games.
  • Exceptional athlete that have already represented their country at an international level.
  • Supporting letter from Governing body.

How to apply

Our Sporting Excellence Scholarships inspire and enable you to achieve your sporting goals alongside your academic studies.
To apply for a Sporting Excellence Scholarship, please complete the application form, submitting with a sports portfolio (including media coverage and past achievements) plus a letter of support from your national governing body to:
Sporting Excellence Scholarships,
External Relations,
Hepworth House,
University of Plymouth,
Drake Circus, 


To align with the majority of sporting events, which take place over the summer months, the next round of applications for the 2022/2023 financial year will open on 1 August 2022 with a deadline of 31 October 2022. Award of funds will then be made in November/early December 2022. 
Further information

Our Sporting Excellence Scholars

Final year architectural engineering student Laura Stephens realised a lifetime ambition when she was selected for Team GB’s Tokyo 2021 Olympic swimming squad.

Laura was confirmed in the 30-strong squad after a remarkable few days during which she was first part of the Women’s 4×100m Medley Relay team that won gold in the European Aquatics Championships – setting a competition record in the process.

With 25 hours per week spent training in the pool, plus five hours in the gym, and additional physiotherapy and sports psychology sessions, the competing demands on Laura’s time have required careful management. But with the support of staff at the University, as well as friends and family, she’s succeeding on all fronts.

“I feel very lucky to have received such amazing support from the University, especially my course leader Alba Fuertes and tutor Rory Jones, who have been extremely understanding of my unique situation.”

Ridhwan Mohamed

The Sporting Excellence Scholarship is helping BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering student, Ridhwan Mohamed, through his training to qualify for the major swimming competitions of the next few years. Although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Ridhwan from qualifying for Tokyo 2020, he is feeling hopeful for the new season.
"Many thanks go out to the Sporting Excellence Scholarship department for supporting me during a very difficult year. Going into my third year for Mechanical Engineering, I’m working towards my targets of qualifying for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2024 Olympics. Balancing my studies and swimming has also been difficult but the University has supported me through this journey and I'm extremely grateful." 
<p>Alice Read<br></p>

Alice training in Tarifa, Spain (February 2020)

“I wish to pursue my Paris 2024 Olympic campaign in the IQ Foil discipline, so my career will be focused around the British Sailing Team until then. The support from the University through the Sporting Excellence Scholarship and allowing me to go part-time in my final year has really helped. I am always applying what I have learnt in my degree to my training sessions!”
– Alice Read, Sporting Excellence Scholar

Alice Read finishes highly in 2020 Croatia PWA World Tour

Alice, a third-year Ocean Science and Marine Conservation student at the University of Plymouth, competed in the 2020 Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) windsurf event in Bol, Croatia, finishing third place in the women’s slalom and second in the women’s foil discipline.

Alice became a part-time student in her final year to windsurf and train in the winter before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Following her outstanding achievements in Croatia, Alice plans on completing her course and graduating next year before aiming for the Olympics.

<p>Alice Read competing<br></p>

Credit: Wozniak /


Plymouth Uni 1st year Psychology student Cerys Hughes (fback left) at the World Series Artistic Synchronised Swimming - Paris 2020</p>

Great Britain’s artistic swimmers, including Cerys Hughes (top left), win another silver medal at the FINA World Series in Paris 2020

“I chose to study Psychology at Plymouth during my time at sixth form as this was an area that I have always been interested in along with the fact that the knowledge I am gaining can be applied to my sport of synchronised swimming. The opportunity to study for a degree which could help me improve my sports performance both in and out of the pool, as well as being able to apply this in training and competition both for the University and the country made Plymouth the perfect place for me to carry out my studies.”

– Cerys Hughes, Sporting Excellence Scholar