Elite Athlete Programme Launches
Whole School News Of Former Pupils

Water polo playing Olympian and Commonwealth Gold medal winner, Dr Ed Scott, returned to his alma mater to help officially launch Bolton School’s Elite Athlete Programme. 

Addressing an audience of elite athletes and their parents and guardians from the across the Foundation, Ed recapped his journey to the very top in water polo. He told how he had really fond memories of his time at Bolton School and recalled how, with the help of Dr Yates, Mr Jones and Mr Pledger, he found his sporting passion there. 

Ed emphasised how he had worked hard and had often taken himself out of his comfort zone, playing with a higher age group to develop his talents. He recalled winning his first of three different age group national tournaments with the School’s U14 team and then, shortly afterwards, picking up his first England cap. Ed spoke about joining up with the GB U19s’ team for the European Championships and how he was supported through this by his teachers. He recounted how in Year 12 the ‘stars seemed to align’ as he was chosen for the England men’s seniors, ahead of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia where the team just missed out on a bronze medal. 

He said sometimes, in life, it is about working hard, being in the right place at the right time and then making your own luck. After completing several years of study at the University of Leeds (a Biomedical degree), he recalled how he was allowed a year out to play water polo for Barcelona where, through sheer hard work, he became one of the best goalkeepers in the Spanish league. After the 2012 Olympics and a second year in Barcelona, he returned to Leeds to complete his studies. Ed is now a doctor and anaesthetist. This, he said, did give him something to focus his energies on after water polo and that it was important for athletes to always have a Plan B and to think about their next chapter. 

Ed recalled a number of interesting insights into the London Olympics, which he said was a crazy, whirlwind month, including breakfasting with Usain Bolt, tea parties at the palace and open top bus parades! After this tournament, the group largely stayed together and Ed went on to captain the England team that won Gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

Ed advised the current crop of athletes to take up every opportunity to find out what they are good at, telling them how he had also played football and taken part in archery and rock-climbing whilst at school. He said he did not do any of these endeavours particularly well until he found the niche position of goalkeeper in a niche sport, water polo! 

He also advised boys and girls that they will need to get good with their time management and prioritisation skills. At one point, he was juggling playing for five or six teams and keeping up with his studies! He told of the social experiences that he missed – he was often in the pool at 6.00am in Manchester - but how this was more than worth it as sport had helped shape who he was: an Olympian with a second language, who had travelled the world. 

Dr Mullins from the Boys’ Division and Mrs Winder from the Girls’ Division also spoke on the evening, outlining how the School is the centre of a child’s life and how it attempts to balance sporting endeavour with academic success. 

They told how the School aims to develop a positive mindset in pupils, to offer guidance on nutrition and strength and conditioning and to provide bespoke curriculum adjustments. There was consideration of certain ‘pinch-points’ as children move up from Primary to Senior School and as they move into their GCSE and A level years. Both also spoke about the ‘supporting team’ around an elite athlete – their coaches, their parents and their teachers and the importance of mentors within school – be that Heads of Year or others already taking part in that particular sport as well as peer to peer mentoring and, sometimes, from former pupils. 

In the question and answer session, Ed explained how he has learnt to deal with pressure, telling how he goes back to basics, to the barebone essentials. This technique, he said, served him both in sport and in his work as an anaesthetist. 

You can watch the launch, in full, through this link.

You may also be interested in...