Plymouth's Jacob Roberts is hoping to make capital gains at university
PLYMOUTH rowing star Jacob Roberts has no doubts trading the familiar waters of the River Plym for the cut and thrust of the Thames can help him realise his international dreams.
Roberts is leaving his Hooe home for the bright lights of the capital where the personable teenager will study medicine at King's College.
The former Plymstock School student will be juggling his three-year academic biomedical degree course with training and bidding to win a regular place in the University of London's Elite Rowing squad.
So, there will be a lot of pressure on his young shoulders, but if the 18-year-old is feeling any of it, then he's disguising his emotions very well.
"I really can't wait to get started at university and also with the elite team now that everything is confirmed," said Roberts who last year, on the water, competed nationally and had Great Britain trials, while winning age-category titles at indoor rowing.
"It is a step up in all senses of the phrase, but I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity.
"I purposely dropped national competition from my programme this year so that I could concentrate on my A Levels.
"That was tough cutting back on rowing, but the strategy worked as I gained the grades needed to study medicine at King's which was my foremost goal.
"I will be sorry to leave my family, friends and club-mates at Plymouth Rowing Club, but gaining international recognition has always been an ambition of mine.
"And if I work hard with the London university crews, then, hopefully, in a year or so, I'll be considered by the selectors.
"Last year, I was only two places away from gaining an international call-up, and by competing nationally for London, I'll put myself back in the mix again."
Roberts has been a member of The Herald-backed Team Plymouth, a scheme which supports talented young sportsmen and sportswomen with much-needed cash.
He said: "I'd like to thank The Herald and Team Plymouth for the help they gave me – the funds came in very useful, as competing and travelling to events, is costly.
"It's an invaluable aid to those of us lucky enough to be part of Team Plymouth and it's helped me no end."