Lea Van Der Zwalmen, the Ladies World Champion Rackets player and President of Nottingham University Squash Club has achieved many goals this year, from successfully defending her British Open singles and doubles title, to making history-2017 has already been a great year for the sporting star.
Although, with every great achievement, there are always challenges to face. Lea is also in her second year of university, balancing her studies and sports is a difficult juggling act. ‘’My biggest challenge so far has been combining my university work with my various sports. Since the closest Rackets court is in London, Queen’s Club, I need to travel all the way down to London to be able to play my sport. This means that I often have very intense weekend with many hours of travelling as well as rackets/real tennis training sessions. During the week, my time is divided largely between university work, squash training, Pilates sessions & my work as president of the University of Nottingham Squash Club’’, Lea explains.
Luckily, the busy student has conquered her challenges so far, and has managed to maintain her grades and numerous sporting titles. From participating in Amateur singles and doubles championships, to playing with some of the best Racket players in the world, Lea has definitely gained some great experiences- aswell as becoming the first ever woman to participate in prestigious men’s tournaments. ‘’When I started Rackets back in 2015 at Clifton College, I could not have possibly imagined that I would be on the same court, let alone play in a competitive match, against some of the best players in the world! Watching top players is one thing, but actually sharing the court with them is something very special’’ Lea says. ‘’Some might be discouraged by the long road ahead before reaching that kind of level but for me, it was definitely inspirational. I don’t want to be simply and only remembered as being the first woman ever to participate in such prestigious men’s tournament. I want to make history by becoming the first woman ever to beat a man in such event! ‘’, she continues.
To wind down after such a big week, Lea always makes sure she enjoys some time to relax. ‘’During my spare time, I love watching movies and series, my favourites being House of Cards, Suits and Homeland. I also enjoy reading. In fact, I just finished ‘The Road to Character’ by David Brooks. Very interesting read about the meaning of success, life and happiness, I would very much recommend it!’’