Students, staff and alumni joined external partners at a recent event held on campus which showcased how the University has pioneered innovations across sport.
Delegates heard from top-level athletes based at the University, including swimming sensation and double Olympic Gold medallist Tom Dean; 2018 Winter Olympic Skeleton Bronze medallist Dom Parsons; and Team Bath Netball Head Coach, Asha Francis. Each spoke about how the University set-up had enabled their careers to thrive.
Alongside competing at the highest level in sport, Tom, a recipient of the Bill Whiteley Sporting Scholarship, is completing a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Dr Dom Parsons completed a PhD alongside skeleton success and now works at IAAPS. Asha is a University alumna in Coach Education and Sport Development.
Attendees also heard from researchers working with external sporting organisations to develop and apply their research to help achieve the marginal gains which can mean the difference between winning and losing. Three case studies emphasised the importance of partnership working in achieving these impacts.
Dr Steffi Colyer from the University’s Department for Health together with British Bobsleigh & Skeleton’s Mike Mucklett explored how motion-capture research conducted through CAMERA has helped to propel University-based Winter Olympians to medal-winning positions. Mike is a Bath alumnus and MSci Sport & Exercise Science graduate.
Prof Sean Cumming and Dr David Johnson spoke of how innovative research grouping young players by biological maturity, not chronological age – known as ‘biobanding’ – is helping to drive down injuries and spot hidden talent. Having obtained his PhD at Bath, David is now applying his learning at West Ham United FC as the team’s Academy Sports Scientist.
Delegates also heard from physiologist Prof Javier Gonzalez, who spoke of his experiences working with pro-cycling team Ineos Grenadiers as the team’s lead performance nutritionist for one season. Javier reflected on the valuable insights he had gleaned through this, and the unique opportunities it had afforded him to apply his research in action.
In other areas too Sport@Bath is making an impact. University sport and exercise alumnus Jack Wilson spoke of his experience in completing a placement as part of his studies with Porche. Jack is now the lead physiologist at Porche Human Performance and has maintained strong connections with Bath through current placement students.
During breakout sessions audience members had the opportunity to learn more about a host of our research themes relevant to sports organisations at all levels: from sport and society, motivation and behaviour change, to injury prevention. They also learnt more about the dual benefits for student and employers provided via student placements and our practice tracks.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) Prof Cassie Wilson said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to bring together the whole sporting community at Bath with our wider networks to showcase the ways in which, through sport and through working in partnership, the University has achieved really significant impacts over the years.
“As the first public event delivered through the Sport@Bath initiative, it is an approach we will look to build upon as we further develop our profile in the UK and internationally.”
Sport@Bath is a new University initiative conceived to develop and deliver a more integrated, pro-active, and externally engaged approach to showcase the University of Bath’s sporting activities across all areas.