UTC student heads for Olympic swimming trials

Post 16 student Barnaby Howarth-Osborne is studying A Levels at UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and training to be an Olympic swimmer at the same time. Barnaby originally joined the UTC in Year 10 to study Sport Science then developed a passion for Sciences. The UTC has been supporting Barnaby to pursue his studies and compete at the highest levels in his chosen sport.

Why did you join the UTC?
I joined because I did some research into the curriculum and instantly knew it would be a great opportunity for me to gain more knowledge in the areas that I am interested in. The fact the UTC is a specialist technical college really appealed to me, as I was keen on developing my understanding of Sport.

How did you develop an interest in Sport?
I’m a swimmer, which is incredibly demanding yet rewarding. I’m mostly involved in freestyle swimming, but occasionally swim breaststroke and individual medley, which is a combination of all four strokes.

When I was younger, I got scouted by the Sheffield City Club to take part in high level competitions. I entered several swimming events and won all of them, which made me proud and determined to continue. After this, I went on to win the Yorkshire and North-East regional Championships. In 2019, I successfully received two gold medals at the Swimming England National Championships.

I have the Olympic Trials this year, where I’m qualified for six events! This is such a huge achievement for me, and I can’t wait to get involved. It’s quite a humbling experience to be able to say that I’m going to the same competition as individuals who have been to the European and World Championships.

What’s your favourite thing about studying at the UTC?
The teachers here are supportive and help you to achieve your goals. The Sport specialism has strong links with employers in industry, such as Sheffield Hallam University and the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre. We have worked alongside these employers on projects, which helped me to develop an understanding of what’s expected within industry.

How does the UTC support your extra-curricular activities?
The UTC has allowed me to use their gym in my own time to train and Mrs Stevenson has even sourced me a rowing machine for home. The UTC go above and beyond to support students in their passions and interests, not just their schoolwork.

My training schedule consists of eight pool sessions a week; some of those I have to be there for 5:30am! It’s challenging but I enjoy pushing myself and staying motivated. The UTC have been there for me during this time and encouraged me to work hard.

During lockdown, I’ve felt supported with my work and teachers have ensured students get the help and advice they need. I’ve attended lots of virtual drop-in sessions which have been helpful.

How does the UTC differ to other schools?
We get lots of one-to-one support at the UTC and are encouraged to get involved in doing the extra-curricular activities that we enjoy. We are prepared for our future careers, as we study within industry-standard facilities and are treated like professionals.

What would you like to do in the future?
I’m interested in studying a Physics degree at University, as I enjoy my science subjects at the UTC. I’m keeping my options open at the moment, but I know I would also love to continue my swimming in the future too. The UTC has helped me to develop my time management and organisational skills, as it’s important that I prioritise my workload and balance my swimming alongside my schoolwork.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about studying Sport at the UTC?
The UTC has fantastic facilities available for Sport students, including a big Astroturf outside and a fitness suite. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in learning more about Sport. There have been a few people who studied here who have gone on to have really successful careers, including a National Champion in Taekwondo and a football player for Sheffield United Academy. If you want a future in Sport, the UTC is the place to be.