My name is Aoibhinn Keating. I am 19 years of age and a University of Limerick Rowing Scholarship Athlete. I hope my blog give you all a little insight into a day in my life; studying and training at UL.
I am in second year studying Sport and Exercise Sciences (SES). I’m lucky that I absolutely love my course and the people in my course. I chose to study SES in the PESS Department in UL because sport is a massive part of my life. It is all I have ever wanted to do and it’s what I see myself doing in the future. SES includes both practical and academic elements which makes the workload very manageable, and the days in college much more fun. This is ideal for a person like me as I wouldn’t last a week working indoors all day in an office, I need to get up and out, and I learn best while ‘doing’.
A typical day for me would be waking up early at 6am to be at the UL Rowing Club or Castleconnel Boat Club for a 7am water session training with our brilliant coaches Frank Nugent and James Mangan. I find it really difficult to eat that early in the morning but it is so important before a big training session. So, I found that getting up earlier and giving myself longer to eat the food was helpful (also warm foods such as porridge go down easier that early!!).
Then it’s back to the main campus for class at 9am, or if I’m lucky, maybe 10 or 11am! If possible, I grab a nap to help with recovery. Some days I might need 2 or 3 naps – but no shame!
Once in college I attend practical labs and academic lectures. The practical classes are held in UL’s state of the art labs where we have an abundance of equipment used for top class sports fitness testing. Our lecturers are so passionate about their jobs and we, as a class, find the results of our labs so interesting. When the academic work has to be done, we are lucky in UL that we have a newly renovated library that is absolutely fantastic.
I chose UL because of it’s amazing sporting facilities including the UL Sport Arena, the rowing club with the only indoor rowing tank in Ireland and the PESS Department. Both my parents actually studied at UL, Thomond as it was back then, and they loved it.
Campus life in UL is fantastic. I have lived on campus in Kilmurry Village for the last 2 years which is an ideal location, less than a 5-minute walk from the PESS Department where I study (handy for running home for quick snacks regularly during the day), and a 20-minute walk to the Rowing Club where I train every day. In first year when I received my scholarship, I was lucky enough to be placed in an athlete house in Kilmurry. This is basically a house filled with scholarship athletes only. It was the perfect place to live in my first year of college, as I am from Cork, so I had moved away from home for the first time. The routine that was upheld in the athlete house made it much easier for me to adapt to both college and training life away from home for the first time. I also learnt a lot about nutrition from my housemates, which was a bonus.
Once classes finish at 5/6pm, I go straight back home for my dinner and a big cup of coffee before my second session. My evening session comprises of either a gym session in UL Arena or else an indoor rowing session at the rowing club. By 9pm I’m back in my student accommodation with my friends where we will all hang out, chat, play board games or watch movies. If we were to go out, we would probably go over to Stables and meet our friends or head into the city for the night... and REPEAT.
The scholarship programme in UL is run by UL Sport and it presents multiple opportunities for us athletes. I have had the opportunity to do a VO2 max test, lactate testing and nutrition as well as take part in seminars held in UL, with different speakers every few weeks. A ‘stand-out’ experience for me in UL would have to be the Indoor Rowing All Ireland/Provincial Indoor Championships held in UL Sport Arena every year. This year I took part as a member of UL Rowing Club and came away with a gold medal, along with a record number of medals earned by the UL squad. Having such success with ULRC at a hugely popular event held at our very own college made for fantastic memories.
I feel like I have been ranting on here but that’s what happens when I start talking about UL. I will leave you with this - STUDY AT UL. I promise you won’t regret your decision!!