One University of Stirling tennis enthusiast has taken his love of the game to new heights – as a London 2012 Games maker.
James Swanson, a second year Marketing and Spanish student, already plays, coaches and referees tennis. From July, he can add statistician to his tennis CV having been selected as a volunteer at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The 21-year-old, from Newmarket in Suffolk, will be courtside at Wimbledon with the Technology Division throughout the Games, tracking every point and feeding it into a computer to provide the watching media with all the facts and figures they need.
He said: “You have to type in where a serve is going; whether a point was out or into the net and determine if a point ended through a forced or an unforced error. You don’t have to do the whole rally; just the start and the end of each point.
“I was selected for a refereeing course in Roehampton and did well at it. The person organising the tennis aspect of the Olympics was there and told us about the opportunity and from there, I had an interview in London then was selected for a test event at Wimbledon where we tried out the technology.
“It’s a unique experience to be a part of the Olympic Games and play a part in putting on a show for the rest of the world. I’m a minute part of it, but it’s still that team aspect.”
Swanson recently celebrated winning the league with the Stirling third team - one of three victorious Stirling sides in the Scottish Student Sport and British Universities leagues this year. The men’s first team enjoyed a clean sweep of titles, winning the league and team finals, with Nick Rosenzweig claiming the individual championship.
James is now scheduled to put his Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) qualification to the test refereeing a youth tournament in St Andrews later this month.
He also acts as the tennis club Competitions Manager and coaches on the University’s children’s class programme at the Scottish National Tennis Centre, so no prizes for guessing his career plans.
“My aim is to work in sports marketing, hopefully with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA),” added James. “One of the reasons I was drawn to Stirling was its tennis programme and my attitude just now is to get as much experience of as many different aspects of tennis as I can.
“I’m in the process of establishing myself as a referee in Scotland, so hopefully I will be selected for a few more events. Where the umpire is in charge of a match; the referee is in charge of ensuring the match and the tournament all runs smoothly. You have to learn all the detailed rules, but the key attributes are organisation, communication and confidence.”
This week is Universities Week 2012, which runs until 7 May. This year, it takes an in-depth look at the contribution our universities make – and have always made – to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the sports industry and society as a whole.