A first year De Montfort University, Leicester (DMU) student has spoken of her pride after being made captain of the first ever university Women’s Squash team.
Charlotte Fish, 18, was awarded the title after receiving one of the Vice-Chancellor's prestigious Sports Scholarships, which were introduced just this summer.
The scholarships are part of DMU’s decision to invest £1million into sport over the next year for coaching and support for its 37 sports clubs and recreational opportunities, under the umbrella brand DMUSport.
Charlotte, who has just started studying DMU’s BSc Media Production degree said: “I was absolutely delighted with the scholarship offer; it has really been the icing on the cake and means I can enjoy a full and rounded experience at DMU.
“I know it’s definitely made my family proud as well, so it feels good to make them proud, but that personal achievement feels good too. DMU has welcomed me very well.”
It wasn’t the desired start for the Women’s Squash team on Wednesday October 12, as they fell to a 3-0 defeat to the University of Leicester in the opening British University and College Sports (BUCS) fixture of the season.
However, the side recorded a landmark victory at home to the University of Lincoln just a week later to secure their first ever BUCS success.
Yorkshire born Charlotte has competed at a high level throughout her squash career to-date since picking up a racquet at the age of eight.
Charlotte said: “My brother was having swimming lessons at a local leisure centre. I was bored and I accidentally found the squash courts which were tucked away in a corner and the junior coaching sessions were taking place.
“The coach asked if I’d like a go and as soon as he put the racquet in my hand, as they say, the rest is history.”
From that day on Charlotte has represented Yorkshire at U13, 15, 17 and 19 levels, the North East Region since 2011 and is consistently in the Top 10 of National rankings having been No.1 in Yorkshire since the 2012/13 season.
However, her rankings have slipped more recently as she took the foot off the gas to focus on her GCSE and A-Level exams before starting university.
Charlotte’s coach George Marshall who introduced her to the game and who she is indebted to for his influence on her game, sadly had to retire due to illness when she was 11, leaving her to find alternative coaching.
Charlotte said: “Because I live in rural Yorkshire there was no-one to continue to coach me on a regular basis when George retired.
“Self-coaching was the only way forward apart from the odd private session and attendance by invitation to regional training squads.
“So that I could at least maintain the standard I reached, I played a very active role in junior competitions and in several local leagues, simply to get on court and try to improve where I could.
“In the main I think I held my own and achieved success against girls being schooled at squash academies.”
Aside from helping the first DMU Women’s Squash Team establish itself in BUCS and beyond, Charlotte will also be developing her coaching career. In November she will be taking her Level 2 qualification in Squash and Racquetball after gaining her Level 1 in January 2015.
She hopes to train the female Freshers’ on the team and get them to a level which will guide the side forward in years to come.
She said: "Squash is such a big part of my life and it would have been strange to suddenly stop playing which would have probably happened without the scholarship."
Posted on Friday 21st October 2016