Meet our sport scholar… Tully Kearney!

We are absolutely delighted to be supporting para-swimmer, Tully Kearney, during her time with us at Manchester Metropolitan University.  Tully joined us in September, to study BSc (Hons) Physiology.

Tully Kearney

At just 18 years old, Tully has already made a significant impact in her sport and, after an incredible year, is tipped as an athlete to watch on the #RoadtoRio.

One of Tully’s biggest achievements this year was at the IPC World Swimming Championships in Glasgow in July, where she earned no less than four gold, one silver and one bronze medals at the event.

This year, Tully has improved her 200m Individual Medley time by ten seconds and lowered three European records in the 400m Freestyle, the 200m IM and the 100m Butterfly during the World Championships.


These aren’t achievements that have gone unnoticed – earlier this year, she was named the Birmingham Amateur Sportswoman of the year, was nominated for the BT Sport Action Woman of the Year award, the Para Swimmer of the Year award at the British Swimming Awards and for the Sunday Times Sky Sports Personlity of the Year award in two categories.  And, to top it all off, yesterday Tully was named as a contender for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.

We spoke to Tully about how she got involved with her sport and her advice for fellow young athletes.

What are your notable achievements outside of sport?

“I passed my A Levels despite training for 20+ hours per week!”

How did you get involved with your sport?

“My mum and brother were both competitive swimmers. I started swimming partly as a form of physiotherapy and for safety reasons.”

Why did you choose to study your course?

“Science is my favourite subject and I think this course will offer me a broad base from which to continue my studies at Masters level.”

What are your future ambitions and aspirations?

“I would like to win gold for Great Britain at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.  After that, I would like to be an Occupational Therapist.”

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?

“My mum – she’s been there for me through the high and lows and has always been proud of me no matter how I do.  She’s a single parent and getting up at 4am to take me training and then sleeping in the car so she can be alert for her job as a Speech and Language Therapist requires real dedication.”

What is the best part about being a high performance athlete?

“The opportunities it gives you to travel and experience new things, and also meet new and interesting people.”

What advice would you give to a young athlete?

“Keep going even when things are going wrong.  Sport is a long journey and there will always be down times with injury and illness, and when you can’t seem to get that PB no matter how hard you try.  You need to keep your eye on the long-term goal – no matter how hard or how far away it seems.  And above all, smile and enjoy it – or there is no point!”

You can find out more about our sport scholarship programme by visiting our website and you can keep up-to-date with Tully by following her on Twitter @TullyKearney.

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