Sporting Excellence Scholar: Matthew Zammit

Scholar profile

Name: Matthew Zammit

Sport: Swimming

Home country: Malta

Course: BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy

Top goals: To be the first Maltese swimmer to medal at a major competition such as World Championships or Olympics

Making the move from Malta to Plymouth would be a tough decision for many, but not for Sporting Excellence Scholar Matthew Zammit whose determination to succeed academically, and swim towards success at international championships, meant it was the logical way forward.

"After starting out my swimming career in Malta I moved to the UK to study at Plymouth College at the age of 16, aiming to develop further by training with some of the world’s best athletes on a world-class programme with Plymouth Leander (PL). I wanted to continue training with my PL coach, Jon Rudd, who has played a major role in making me the swimmer and person I am today. So after hearing great things about Plymouth University, and in particular the Physiotherapy course, I made my application."

Balancing a demanding swim training schedule with academic studies can be challenging, but with the support of tutors, the Sporting Excellence Scholarship programme and great enthusiasm, Matthew shows us it is possible to follow all your dreams.

"I swim for nine sessions a week and go to the gym three times a week - as a result I have to plan my day such that I will also have time to recover as well as work. My day begins with a 4.45am wake up and by 5.30am I’m in the water. After a tough two and a half hour session I attend my University lectures which usually go on until about 1pm, after which there is time for a quick lunch and further study until 3.30pm when I head back to the pool for another gruelling two and a half hours. After this session is the only quality time I have to myself to bury my head in books and get some real academic work done."

With a mother who owns a smoothie company and a father who once held the title of Malta's fastest 100m runner, it’s clear to see where Matthew’s enthusiasm for a healthy, sporting lifestyle came from.

"Since first learning to walk I was encouraged to participate and enjoy sport by my family. As well as being a keen runner for Malta, my dad is also a physiotherapist and so his love for sport has had a great impact upon me. Although having never been directly involved in sport, my mum has had a major impact on my sporting life from a nutritional point of view - I was brought up in a 'healthy eating' environment where my mum would constantly encourage healthy eating habits."

Naturally, from an early age, Matthew became active in as many sports as he could fit in including gymnastics and athletics – it wasn't until a Sports Summer Camp when Matthew’s swimming talent was first recognised.

Now with Plymouth’s fantastic sports facilities and academic support Matthew’s dreams to be the first person from Malta to medal at the World Championships and Olympics aren’t a million miles away…

Sporting Excellence Scholarships

The stars of the future are being offered the opportunity to achieve their sporting and academic goals thanks to the Sporting Excellence Scholarship at University of Plymouth.

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