Bolton School Former Pupils
Emma Saunders – Old Girl (Class of 2012)
Commonwealth Silver & Bronze Medal-Winning Swimmer
Emma Saunders left Bolton School in 2012, having won Silver and Bronze swimming medals in the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010. As a 16 year old at the time, she was the youngest member of the GB swim team and picked up a Silver medal in the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay and a Bronze in the 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay.
In 2011 she won further medals in the World Junior Championships held in Lima, winning a Silver in the 50m backstroke and two Bronze medals in the 100m Backstroke and the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay. She was awarded British Swimming’s Splash Young Swimmer of the Year Award and nominated for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award.
Earlier, in 2010, she set new British and European Junior records when she won Gold in the 50m backstroke at the European Junior Championships. She also picked up Silver medals in the 4 x 100m Freestyle relay, 4 x 200m Freestyle relay and 4 x 100m Medley Relay.
Having juggled her swimming with A levels in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Geography, Emma then won a full-time Swimming Scholarship at the University of Alabama in the States. She has consistently broken Alabama swim records – and her own – since she began her studies in Geography back in 2012.
Did any member of teaching staff particularly inspire you while you were at School?
The School was great in helping me out, they let me take time off for the Olympic trials and the teachers gave me work to take with me. I even had their email addresses in case I got stuck! It was tough at times trying to balance training and school work, but it essentially boiled down to being organised and making the most of your time. Whilst I have always wanted to be the best swimmer I possibly can be, I am also conscious it is important to achieve as highly as you can in your academic studies.
What do you feel your experience at Bolton School has given to you personally?
The encouragement I received during my time at Bolton school gave me the confidence to take the opportunity to study so far away from home. The University of Alabama offered a similar support system, allowing me to pursue both a Bachelor of Science Degree whilst also continuing to compete competitively within the United States and returning home to the UK each year to swim in the British Championships. I graduated in May 2016 with 3.9 GPA, Majoring in Geography (GIT) and Minors in ‘Computer Tech and Applications’ and ‘Criminal Justice’, and am currently studying a Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Science at The University of Manchester.
What is the best career advice you can give to Bolton School pupils today?
I would highly recommend studying in the US, and if anyone were interested in trying to attain an athletic scholarship to the United States I would be happy to help and advise.