News | Friday, 6th July 2018
Sport Scholar to make waves at swimming’s Para European Championships
Physiology student Tully Kearney to join the GB para-swimming squad
A Manchester Metropolitan Sport Scholar will be making her way to Dublin this summer to compete in the Para Swimming European Championships.
After a year out of the pool, Tully Kearney was selected to join the Great Britain para swimming squad at the competition being held in Ireland in August.
The second year Physiology student was born with cerebral palsy (Spastic Diplegia), and when she was 13 years old developed Generalised Dystonia – a progressive neurological condition.
Tully, who trains at Manchester Aquatics Centre opposite the University’s city centre campus, has been a part of two World Championships, and in the latest won several bronze, silver and gold medals. She was also Great Britain’s highest medal earner at the competition.
In 2016, Tully suffered a significant progression in Dystonia and she had to withdraw from the Paralympic Games in Rio. Since then she has continued to work hard and in June obtained two qualifying times for the 2018 Para European Championships in Dublin.
Tully said: “Swimming is the one thing where I feel free and have independence. I struggle to move, and swimming gives me freedom because I can do a lot of it on my own – once I get in the pool I don’t need any help.
“When my dystonia got worse, I had to have a year out of the water, and it’s been really difficult. My body can’t move the same way as it used to so I’ve had to learn how to swim again.
“At the start I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to swim again, never mind get back to this level, so to get back on the team is amazing!
“A few years ago I always put myself under a lot of pressure to beat my personal best and win medals, but now I have a lot more perspective and know that things can be taken away in an instant – I can’t take for granted what my body can do like I used to, so I’ll just be taking it all in and enjoying doing what I love, and hopefully this mind-set will also lead to me being successful.”
MMU Sport provides extensive support for upcoming athletes, with currently around 60 Sport Scholars and five Sport Ambassadors benefitting from a tailored financial and sporting support package provided by the University.
The scholarships help athletes manage their dual careers to develop both their academic and athletic potential and nurture their talent.
Tully added: “If it wasn’t for the University I couldn’t have got to where I am now. In my year out of the pool, I lost everything – all my funding and place to train, but the scholarship give me all of that back and continued to support and encourage me – the University never gave up on me.”
Tully will compete in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle and 50m backstroke events at the European Championships in Dublin in August.