I would 100% encourage any student to get involved with the sport programme on campus, not just because you could find something you want to make in to a career but also because of the social connections you can make. As well as finding my sporting passion through the programme I also made so many friends and got opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for the programme and that definitely made my university experience so much more positive and fun.Georgina Lord
Georgina Lord (Sociology and Anthropology with Gender Studies, 2014) has been selected to be part of the squad for Great Britain’s Paratriathlon team, as the next generation of talent was announced earlier this year.
“I only became a wheelchair user around 12 months before I began studying at the University of Hull and so had not been introduced to para sport yet,” says Georgina. “It was in freshers week of my first year when I came along to the Inclusive Campus Sport Programme and tried wheelchair basketball for the first time. Thanks to the campus sport programme I was introduced to several different para sports which I played for various lengths of time before concentrating of paratriathlon in order to compete at the highest level. I tried basketball, wheelchair racing, wheelchair rugby, para ice hockey, and goalball all thanks to the campus sport programme. I played wheelchair basketball and trained in wheelchair racing for around four years, competing in the national women’s league and local leagues.”
Lockdown has meant some changes to Georgina’s training regime, and COVID-19 has meant that the season’s start has been delayed, but the hard work hasn’t stopped. Strength and conditioning training coupled with training across the three disciplines of the triathlon means between 18-20 hours of training a week.
“Before lockdown I would do 4 swim sessions, 3 bike sessions, 3 race chair sessions and 2 strength and conditioning sessions. Currently being unable to swim I am doing 7 or 8 bike sessions and 4 or 5 race chair sessions, as well as a virtual ‘swim’ session with resistance bands. I’m really lucky to have found a great coaching team Do3 Coaching who is my ‘home’ coach and then also have the support of the coaches at British Triathlon. I am very fortunate to be sponsored as well by a physiotherapist and strength and conditioning coach which is extremely important part of my training programme as I have a huge load on my arms and shoulders using them for three disciplines. I was due to begin my competitive season on the 19th April however this has been postponed due to coronavirus. I am optimistic that there hopefully will be some races at the end of the year where I will be able to show my progress across the three disciplines after a strong block of training. It is frustrating that races have been cancelled however I am staying focussed on the training process and putting a lot of hours in to still be the best that I can be.”
Having only been involved in paratriathlon training for two years, and overcome an injury in that time, Georgina’s progress has been remarkable, and testimony to her dedication.
“I had always been a good swimmer as a child and had been doing some wheelchair racing for a few years so when I saw a Paratriathlon Talent Identification weekend in May 2018 advertised by British Triathlon I thought I would go along and give it ago despite never been on a handcycle before. There are several different classifications in paratriathlon and I fall in to the wheelchair classification ‘PTWC’ which means I do the open water swim using my arms and core, do the bike discipline on a recumbent handcycle, and then the run is done using racing wheelchair. I really enjoyed the talent weekend at Loughborough University and thought I would commit more time to it whilst still competing in wheelchair basketball. British Triathlon lent me a handcycle to get started on but unfortunately I fractured my shoulder late 2018 which meant I was unable to train and go back for performance assessments with British Triathlon. It was in February 2019 that with the help of a charity I got my own handcycle and decided to commit full time to paratriathlon and gave up wheelchair basketball. 2019 was my first season in paratriathlon, I got silver at the British Paraduathlon Championships, bronze in the sprint paratriathlon championships and gold in the super sprint paratriathlon championships.”
“These results and the improvements I made over the three disciplines since beginning training resulted in me being selected on to the British Paralympic Paratriathlon Talent Squad at the end of the 2019 season and I am aiming to progress on to the World Class Performance Squad and compete at the Commonwealth and Paralympic games.“Georgina Lord
Georgina is also categorical about the impact that sport on campus had on her experience at University and her subsequent sporting achievements.
“The campus sport programme definitely ignited my sporting passion. Without it I would have never tried so many different sports. The programme opened up a whole new world to me which I didn’t know existed and without having the opportunities it gave me I more than likely wouldn’t be training in. paratriathlon with the aim of being selected for the Paralympics. I would 100% encourage any student to get involved with the sport programme on campus, not just because you could find something you want to make in to a career but also because of the social connections you can make. As well as finding my sporting passion through the programme I also made so many friends and got opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for the programme and that definitely made my university experience so much more positive and fun.”
Interview with Sophie Johnson-Read, Sport Development Manager at the University of Hull