Team GB para-swimmer graduates with first class honours
A University of Manchester graduate is leaving with a First Class degree, after juggling academic studies with an elite level para-swimming career.
Rosie Bancroft, 24, originally from Oxford, graduated on Tuesday from The University of Manchester’s Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health with a First Class Honours degree in Zoology. But that’s not all she’s accomplished in her time at the University; she’s also an international athlete who’s coached for The University of Manchester’s swimming team, and is now starting a new job as part of the University’s sports department.
Starting at a young age, Rosie has always loved being in the water. “Swimming,” she says, “was a sport in which I never felt held back at all by my leg” (Rosie has been missing her right leg since birth, and wears a prosthetic). She trained for the City of Oxford team before beginning her degree, which was initially based at the University of Glasgow. After a year there, Rosie was offered a place to train at the National Performance Centre for Para-Swimming in Manchester, having been selected for the world class pathway program during her A-levels.
Her passion for biology began equally early. “When I was a teenager I loved biology at school”, says Rosie, “[and] I always knew I wanted to do a course related to animals.” Balancing a zoology degree with an international sports career, as well as working part time and volunteering with animals, has been hard work. “When I was swimming I doing up to ten 2-hour swims a week and 3 gym sessions. I was very tired a lot of the time but as I was passionate about everything I was working towards I felt motivated. And it all payed off in the end!”
The University has been so supportive the whole time I’ve been here. For example, when I was training in Thailand on a Team GB camp I missed one of my exams, and my lecturer wrote me my own exam so that I could sit it when I got back. I found that a lot of the staff at the University went out of their way for me whilst I was here.
“The University has been so supportive the whole time I’ve been here. For example, when I was training in Thailand on a Team GB camp I missed one of my exams, and my lecturer wrote me my own exam so that I could sit it when I got back. I found that a lot of the staff at the University went out of their way for me whilst I was here.”
Now, Rosie is bringing her experience as the head coach of the University’s swim team into her new role as a Sports Sabbatical Officer, heading up the Executive Committee which works alongside the sports department and has input into decision making and events organising. This is a full-time, one year post, after which she hopes to utilise her degree through working in wildlife conservation project management.
As she comes to the end of her studies, Rosie has this advice for students just starting out; “Being part of the university swim team has been a highlight of my time at university and I would definitely recommend trying out different sports or societies. It’s a great way to meet people and adds a lot to your time at university!”