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Alumna to compete in Modern Pentathlon at Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Kate French has been selected to represent Great Britain in the Modern Pentathlon. We asked her how the Sports Performance degree has helped her athletic life.

Kate French firing a gun as part of the Modern Pentathlon.
Kate French will compete in the Modern Pentathlon at Rio 2016 Olympic Games this summer.

What are you expecting from Rio 2016?

‘Leading up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games there is going to be a lot of hard work going in to make sure I am in the best physical and psychological shape I can be.

‘I love putting on the kit and representing my country; I take great pride from competing for Great Britain. There is real history in modern pentathlon and British women have won medals at every Olympic Games since 2000.

‘Pentathlon is a great challenge, a real test for the all-round athlete. To get everything right on the same day is so hard and it’s such a good feeling when you do. That’s always what you are aiming for. There is such a massive variety in the disciplines but that makes the day more exciting, moving from one completely different event to another.

‘I will go into Rio 2016 aiming to achieve my best in each discipline and if I get that right, that could mean I finish on the podium. As this is a pentathlon though, anything can happen!’

Why did you originally choose to study at the University of Bath?

‘The main reason for coming to the University of Bath was to pursue my sporting career in Pentathlon, as the National Training Centre is based here.

‘Fortunately, the University of Bath is a fantastic place to study and had a sports performance course I was interested in. So for me, it was the best of both worlds!’

What have you enjoyed about the course?

‘I really enjoyed the psychology and physiology side of the course as I could relate them to my training and get a better understanding of certain training methods and techniques.’

How were you supported?

‘The support from coaches and lectures was fantastic! I just had to let them know when I was away training or competing and they were very understanding. I found they would offer extra support if needed.

‘I always found staff were available for tutorials, which enabled me to manage my sport-work balance.’

How have your studies been of benefit to you?

‘My time in Bath has benefited me massively. I have been able to enjoy the student life in my first year living on campus.

‘The fact that Bath is a campus university is perfect. Being able to finish a training session and be at a lecture in 10 to 15 minutes wouldn't happen at most other places, which means I could fit so much more into my day. As I do five sports, this was ideal for me!’

How has the content of the course related to your training and sports performance?

‘This is one of the benefits of studying a sports degree; being able to relate it to training. I've learnt the reason for certain sessions and the benefits of doing so. Being able to have a better understanding gives you more motivation to get the most out of sessions.’

How has studying this course enabled you to compete internationally?

‘The course has allowed me to come away with a degree as well as achieve my sporting dream of competing at the Olympic Games.

‘As an athlete studying, I've learnt to be organised, disciplined and efficient with my time to get the right sport-work balance.’

What have you most enjoyed about student life on campus and in the city of Bath?

‘I have enjoyed socialising the most, but since graduating it’s not been the same! I absolutely love Bath as a city; it’s so unique. You have the best of both worlds; beautiful countryside not far away and the city centre for shopping, restaurants and bars.'

To someone considering the Sports Performance course, what would you say?

‘Go for it! It’s a great course and you’re able to maintain a decent training volume at the same time as developing a greater understanding of your own performance. It can lead to further professional athletic roles.

‘I’d recommend throwing yourself into everything and make the most of your time; it goes so quickly!’

‘I love putting on the kit and representing my country; I take great pride from competing for Great Britain.’
Kate French