Sport and club: Swimmer with Plymouth Leander
Course: BA (hons) 3D Design
“My biggest goal in sport is to go to the Olympics,” Jurate Scerbinskaite states determinedly when questioned about her future.
The Lithuanian-born swimmer comes from the nation’s second largest city, Kaunas, where she lived for her whole life before arriving in Plymouth to take her place as one of the University’s elite Sporting Excellence Scholars.
As the youngest of four children, Scerbinskaite found the first few months away from her family hard but embraced her rigorous training schedule with the same determination she applies to every aspect of her life.
“Usually my day starts at 5.30am when the morning session starts and after training I go straight to University. I then have my evening training session and because of my tight schedule I usually go to sleep at 9pm.
“This season my aim is to get into European semi-finals or finals. As for my studies, I want to be as good as I can possibly be and learn everything that might be useful in the future.”
Scerbinskaite began swimming when she was five-years-old, as her sister had asked to learn and at that time they did everything together. She later realised the extent of her – then dormant – competitive nature when a teammate of hers left their team claiming it was because they were not working hard enough.
“I didn’t like the thought that she could be better than me,” she says, “which was when I realised that I’m a very competitive person, and that I could use that feeling to become a professional swimmer.”
Since then Scerbinskaite has competed in a wealth of national and international championships, finding out about Plymouth University’s Sporting Excellence programme while training for the European Championships.
“My coach Jon Rudd told me about the programme last year, and it sounded like a great chance for me to train at Plymouth Leander club and go where I wanted to go. But if not for the support I’ve had from the University, I wouldn’t be in Plymouth,” she says.