England internationals, European medallists and aspiring Olympians among new University of Bath sporting scholars for 2023-24
An England Rugby captain, rising netball star and aspiring Olympians in athletics, rowing and swimming are among the high-performing University of Bath student-athletes to be awarded sporting scholarships for the 2023-24 academic year.
British Swimming Performance Centre duo Robbie Hemmings and Jack Skerry, England U21 netballer Alanna Pullen, national high jump champion Luke Ball and European U19 rowing medallist Ella Fullman are all in their first year of combining sport and study at the University, while Bristol Bears winger Jenny Hesketh is back after a placement year in New Zealand.
All six students have received a cash award to help them meet the demands of training, competing and studying at an elite level. Scholarships are supported by alumni, friends and partners of the University, who are passionate about giving talented young people the opportunity to benefit from Bath’s sporting and academic environment.
Sports Management and Coaching student Hesketh has been awarded a Trendell Scholarship. She captained England Women U20s against France in 2022 and has been involved with the senior England 7s wider squad. She is back playing for Bristol Bears in the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby – and was Player of the Match in Friday’s derby against Gloucester-Hartpury – after winning the Coleman Shield with Auckland-based Ponsonby Fillies during her placement year.
“In the next 12 months, I want to be a competitive addition to the Bristol Bears squad and play my part in achieving our season goal of winning the Allianz Cup and Allianz PWR League,” she said.
“I also want to work towards gaining senior England representative opportunities, with the Red Roses and in the World Series for 7s. Throughout the year, I want to continue to raise the profile of women’s sport and women’s rugby, both at the University of Bath and in the wider community.”
Following double Olympic swimming champion Tom Dean and history-making artistic swimmer Kate Shortman as Bill Whiteley Sporting Scholars are rower Fullman and swimmer Hemmings, who study Civil Engineering and Biomedical Sciences respectively.
Fullman has joined the British Rowing South West Performance Development Academy, based at the University, and is working with coach Dan Harris as she looks to build on an excellent 2023 season which saw her win junior women’s double scull bronze at the European U19 Championships in France.
She also won titles at the National Schools Regatta and Henley Women’s Regatta, and is aiming to be selected to represent GB at the U23 World Championships in 2024.
Backstroke specialist Hemmings has joined David McNulty’s hugely-successful Performance Centre Bath squad, who train in the University’s Olympic-sized pool, and is determined to put himself in contention for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games during the next 12 months.
Holder of the British 14-year-old record for 100m backstroke, he was national 50m and 100m champion at U18 level in 2022, the same year he competed at the European Junior Championships and raced in the Indianapolis leg of the FINA Swimming World Cup.
Computer Science student Skerry, who also competes in backstroke, is another new addition to the Performance Centre Bath squad and will be supported by a US Foundation Scholarship. He became Britain’s fastest-ever 18-year-old in 100m backstroke earlier this year, after medalling in the senior age category at the 2022 Swim England Winter Championships, and is also looking to put himself in the Paris mix.
Goldsmith Scholar Ball, a Sports Management and Coaching fresher, enjoyed a successful season of high jump which saw him claim the England Athletics U20 Championships title with a personal-best clearance of 2.14m. He was also third at the senior UK Championships and 8th at the European U20 Championships in Jerusalem.
Having represented England on the World Athletics Indoor Tour in Czechia, Ball is keen to compete for his country again during the next 12 months with his long-term goal being to qualify for the 2025 European U23 Championships.
Sports Performance student Pullen was last week named in Team Bath’s U21 squad for the 2023-24 NPL (Netball Performance League) season, having been named as U19 Most Valuable Player at the NPL Tournament in July while playing for Central Warriors. October saw her help England win gold at the Europe Netball U21 tournament and Pullen is aiming to represent the Roses at the 2025 Netball World Youth Cup.
She is being supported by an Oner Active Scholarship, a new scholarship which forms part of a wider donation that the strength-training clothing brand – committed to enhancing women’s physical and mental wellbeing – has made to Team Bath Netball and the wider netball programme at the University of Bath.
The six new scholars are among 27 current student-athletes to receive financial backing and lifestyle support at the University of Bath, which was the first UK university to offer sports scholarships back in 1976.