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Wednesday 10 December 2014

Catching up with a sport hero: Kelly Simm

We recently spoke to one of Solent’s biggest sporting heroes, Kelly Simm. We asked Kelly what she enjoyed about studying Sports Science at Solent and where her passion for competing as part of Artistic Gymnastics in Team GB came from.

Kelly, you have recently won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the Women’s artistic team all-around. Can you describe your feelings when you won it?

Winning the team gold at the commonwealth games was such an amazing achievement and something I will never forget. Stepping onto the podium with the girls who I had been training so hard with for such a long time was overwhelming and to see all our parents and coaches in the audience made it even more special.

Is winning this gold medal the proudest moment of your gymnastics career?

Yes! Getting team gold at the Commonwealth Games was definitely the highlight of my career so far! This year for me has been a massive step up. At the beginning of the year I got my first English and British titles on an apparatus (floor and vault) and then being selected to compete in the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships after that was unbelievable.

What are the next competitions in the 2014-15 calendar?

I think the end of 2014 is pretty quiet now, this year has been so busy, we have had to stay training routines for a lot of the year so now there is a period of down time to learn harder skills for next year. The first competition of 2015 will be the English Championships in March followed by the British Championships and then trials will begin for the major competitions.

Kelly Simm competing in Glasgow

How do you balance progression with your degree and the high expectation of you as a High Performance athlete?

I’m used to juggling my work around my training as have been doing it all through school and college. I know university is going to be a lot harder but I’m just going to try my best and do my work when I can. I have managed to move my timetable around with my lecturers a little bit so I don’t miss as much when I have training. I feel like I have good support at Southampton Solent University, with the High Performance Academy (HPA) as well, so hopefully it will work well!

The HPA is one of the reasons why I chose Southampton Solent University. The HPA gives so much support to their athletes alongside their university career. They provide physiotherapy and deep tissue therapy as well as a lot of other support to make things a little bit easier. I can communicate with them about when I am going to be away and they can help pass it onto lecturers. They all know a lot about sport and the demands it brings and are really helpful and supportive.

Staying “on top of your game” is extremely difficult, especially in gymnastics. How strict are you with yourself?

Obviously training is a lot, I train about 30 hours a week so have to be very strict with that. I have to eat a good diet in order to be able to train as much as I do, so I eat healthy but don’t have a particular strict ‘diet’ that I have to stick to everyday.

What advice would you give to any youngster wanting to become a professional athlete?

I think you have to find something you enjoy first, if you don’t enjoy it then it’s going to get very hard to stay committed as you get older and as the training increases. Also just to have fun and to work really hard, and not to get deflated if you’re not the best at first, anything is possible with hard work!

Who is your sporting role model?

In gymnastics my role model is Beth Tweddle, she was the first to start winning on the world stage and put our country on the map in the gymnastics world. Outside of gymnastics I really look up to Jessica Ennis as she seemed like such a hard worker and has to train for lots of different disciplines like we do in gymnastics.

What hobbies do you have outside of your university and sporting careers?

Outside of university and gym, I like to catch up with my friends, we normally like to go shopping or to the cinema or go out for lunch somewhere. Also to spend time with my family as don’t get to see them that much!

For more information on our High Performance Academy (HPA), contact the team using Facebook.