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My name is Edwin Foudil. I am a third year Cyber Security (BSc) student at the University of Warwick.
12 years ago, I quit swimming and never intending on returning. A decade later, I was forced back into the sport after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. My doctors told me that regular exercise would be mandatory to help manage the pain and keep me mobile. Due to swimming being a low-impact sport, the natural choice was to return to the pool.
When I arrived at the University of Warwick, I attended a swimming taster session and fell in love with the team's spirit and most importantly, Coach Dr Josh Patel's approach to training—which was a stark contrast to my experience as a junior athlete.
Despite my disability and a decade of no racing experience, Coach Dr Josh Patel, and captains Elliott Derrick and Joanne Neal gave me the opportunity to compete in the able-bodied division at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) meet.
On my first attempt back at competing, I managed to qualify for the Swim England National Winter Championships and subsequently British Swimming Championships.
This year, after being awarded a sports scholarship, my commitment to swimming has increased even more. On Monday, I walked into the gym to the voice of Coach Blaine Clancy reminding me in his thick Irish accent that progress consists of "baby steps". We celebrate the small wins, and we trust the process.
Competitive sports at university level, particularly BUCS, is an experience. I have fond memories of crowds of students erupting at a Leeds Beckett swimmer out touching the dominant Loughborough athletes. My friends back at home joke about the time they were watching me on the livestream and the commentator called me "Edward Foodili", I also fondly remember the time I was awarded a butternut squash for winning my race at the infamous Varsity against Coventry University, and finally, how could I forget the look on my face when the captain selected me to lead the 4x100m freestyle relay when I still did not know how to perform a start. Spoiler alert: I nearly false started off the block in that BUCS relay.
I share this story in the hope that it might inspire someone looking to do sports at university to make the leap of faith.
University is an opportunity for students to pick up an old sport or try out new activities; meet new people and make friends. The choice is yours.
Team Warwick is the combined club community on campus. Keep healthy, have fun and meet new people; discover Team Warwick
Sam Davis Content Contributor, Warwick Sport
Sam is a content writer and sport enthusiast with a keen interest in football, judo, and hockey.
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