Swimming scholars

Commonwealth Games beckons for University swimmers

Student athletes representing three countries will go for glory when the Games begin on 4 April. Four top swimmers are heading to Australia’s Gold Coast to compete in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Jessica Jackson and Laura Stephens have been selected for Team England, while Denilson Da Costa will swim for Mozambique, and Issa Mohamed for Kenya.

Harry James

Course: BA (Hons) Photography

Dedicated to his two lifelong passions – photography and swimming – and inspired by his role model Kosuke Kitajima (multiple Olympic gold medalist), Harry demonstrates his determination to be the best he can be through his gruelling daily regime.

‘Each day starts off at 5.30am with swimming, followed by an hour in the gym, a full day of studying and then back to the pool for another swim session in the evening’.

Harry's ultimate goal is to represent Great Britain at a world class competition whilst graduating with a first class honours in Photography.

Find out more about Harry

Ellen Russ

Course: BSc (Hons) Psychology

Chronic renal failure prevented Ellen from swimming competitively, but a kidney transplant in 2012 gave her a second chance, and just seven months later she was competing at the British Transplant Games.

“I really wanted to show how grateful I was to be given a second chance and to pay tribute to the donor and their brave family.”

Representing Great Britain in the World Transplant Games in Argentina (2015), Ellen won six gold and one silver medal. She is now working towards participation in mainstream competition whilst continuing to swim as a member of Transplant Sport to promote organ donation.

Juliette Casini

Course: BA (Hons) English

“My goal is to get my English degree and represent Belgium in the Olympics”

This Belgian National Champion 2015 narrowly missed out on qualification to represent Belgium at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. 

Juliette's ambition to compete in the next Olympic Games and focus on training is carefully balanced alongside full-time study. With support from the University’s Sport Psychologist, Jonathan Rhodes, Juliette is able to manage her hectic training and studying schedule and is working towards success in both.

Her next step is the European Championships in May 2016. 

Marcus Gardiner 

Course: BSc (Hons) Psychology

Marcus found he had an aptitude for swimming at the age of 12 when he started to medal at the South West Championships, and later qualified for the British Nationals.

Marcus made Plymouth his first choice because it provided the perfect environment for him to grow academically whilst continuing to swim and progress. The location was perfect, and the reputation and partnership with Plymouth Leander Swimming Club clinched the deal.

His goal is to qualify for the British Championships Olympic trials 2016.

Jack Lakeman

Course: BSc (Hons) Ocean Exploration and Surveying 

Growing up in the tropical climate of Malaysia meant that swimming was always a big part of Jack’s daily life. Ever since, Jack’s love for the sport grew into a desire to compete and inspired by the Commonwealth Games in 2014, Jack knew that he too wanted to be like our British swimmers.

In 2014, Jack set new records for the 50m fly, 50m and 100m freestyle in the International Schools Competition in Malaysia and still holds these records to date. Jack has his sights set on competing at the Commonwealth Games.

His high level of self-motivation and positive attitude means he is always pushing himself forward and reminding himself “you can do this”.

Freddy Clampett

Course: BSc (Hons) Mechanical Design and Manufacture

Freddy trains with Plymouth Leander Swimming Club and in the last six years has focused on competing in the 200m Individual Medley, 200m Butterfly and 100m Butterfly. 

Freddy has achieved a bronze medal at the English National Swimming Championships and has been a finalist at the British Swimming Championships. His goals are to improve his swimming times, medal at national and international competitions, and successfully compete in the annual BUCS competitions for Plymouth University.

Jessica Jackson

Course: BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science

After attending Plymouth College and training with Plymouth Leander Swimming Club, it was an obvious choice for Jessica to attend Plymouth University. Studying biomedical science means that Jessica needs to be organised when it comes to her academics and her sporting endeavours. She focuses on 50m, 100m, 200m and 200m freestyle. 

Jessica competed at the European Championships in London, representing Great Britain and placing 5th at the British Olympic 2016 Trails in the 100m freestyle, becoming the British National Champion.

Adam Chillingworth

Course: BSc (Hons) Physical Geography and Geology

Adam has been swimming since he was three with his parents support and encouragement.

After moving to the UK from Hong Kong, where he had lived for 15 years, Adam found a local swimming club who soon recognised his real potential. That club was Plymouth Leander Swimming Club, one of Plymouth University's sporting partners, so it was an easy decision for Adam to join Plymouth University to further his academic career whilst continuing to train with his club.

Adam has competed in the 200m breaststroke British National Final three times, and participated in the British Swimming Championships in 2015. Adam's dream is to represent Hong Kong in the Olympics. He is fully dedicated and knows that perseverance is the key to his success.

Perry Gardner

Course: FdSc Strength Conditioning and Sports Coaching

2015 was a good year for Perry - he was a bronze medallist at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa 2015, making the finals in four events. In December he competed in ASA National Winter Meet swimming 50m,100m, 200m backstroke, and made two open age group A finals.

In 2016 Perry competed in the BUCS Long Course Championships making the 50m,100m,200m backstroke finals. Perry won the 200m backstroke and placed fourth and fifth in the 100m and 50m backstroke.

The combination of Plymouth University's academic and sporting scholarship made it the obvious choice for Perry, enabling him to work towards both his academic and sporting dreams.