Olympic swimmer visits Gateshead sport students

Nick visited Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport to deliver a bespoke workshop on lifestyle management and explained the importance of students balancing a range of pressures including their studies, coursework, increasing training schedules, competition, routine physiotherapy plus social activities which may have to be sacrificed to achieve long term success in their sport.

He was also able to spend time talking to the college’s Swimming Academy students and helped with some one-to-one mentoring support.

Joe Middleton, from Blackhall, County Durham, was one of the lucky students who got to meet Nick and find out more about what it takes to reach the top. Nick set three world records and won Olympic Silver and Bronze in an illustrious international career spanning 13 years.

The 17-year old is a member of City of Sunderland ASC and is in his first year studying an Extended Diploma in Sports and Exercise Science at Gateshead College.

He said: “It was a real privilege to be able to have a one to one chat with Nick Gillingham. He gave me some great pointers which I’ll be able to apply to my swimming and also helped me with tips on psychological control.

“The Kelly Holmes Education Programme has been a huge benefit to me. It’s made me aware of some important physical aspects of my performance such as flexibility and has helped me to identify my own strengths and weaknesses.”

Nick Gillingham added:

“It was great to meet Joe and find out more about his achievements already in swimming. The journey to the top of elite sport is never easy and there are so many things to learn, hopefully I have passed on some of my knowledge and experiences that he can take away and remember. I have really enjoyed meeting everyone on the programme and will follow with keen interest the progress of Joe and other students I have met today at Gateshead College.”    

The day marked the latest part of the college’s partnership with Kelly Holmes Education. Gateshead College is the first education provider to work with Dame Kelly and her team. The programme offers the Academy for Sport students the unique opportunity to be tutored and mentored by some of the country’s leading experts and elite sportsmen and women, giving them the best possible chance of excelling in their chosen sport.

Gateshead College’s head of sport academies Lewis Pendleton said: “Our partnership with Kelly Holmes Education is creating once in a lifetime opportunities for our students.

“Visits from professional sports people like Nick Gillingham and the Team GB athletes are hugely beneficial and inspire, motivate and empower our learners.

“We’re continuing our work to seek out these innovative coaching and mentoring opportunities to ensure that Gateshead College students have the best possible learning and experiences so that they become the best they can be.”

During the day, students also took part in a sprint masterclass run by international athletes Montell Douglas (British 100m record holder) and Emily Freeman (2008 Olympic Games and 2006 European Silver medallist,4 x 100m relay) together with sprint coach and former national sprinter Daniel Plummer.

The Kelly Holmes Education programme covers five core areas; physical, physiological, emotional, psychological and social modules, ranging from pre-performance routines and lifestyle management to recovery nutrition, hydrotherapy and using social media.