A sixth form college in Winchester celebrated their annual awards evening with an Olympian in attendance.

Peter Symonds College held their annual awards evening with, former student and Tokyo 2020 Olympian, Tanya Watson as a guest speaker.

The evening, which took place on September 9, celebrated the academic and personal achievements of the 2021 cohort as they faced the challenges of the pandemic.

Over 80 students received awards for a range of attributes, from academic excellence to participation in college life, contribution to the community and overcoming challenging personal circumstances.

Tanya attended Peter Symonds from 2018-2020, studying Chemistry, Maths and Further Maths, alongside training 18-20 hours per week in Southampton as a ten metre platform diver.

She represented Ireland in the Women’s ten metre platform in Tokyo and was the first female Irish diver to qualify for the Olympics.

Talking about her time at Peter Symonds, Tanya said: “Balancing college work and diving training was a big challenge as an elite athlete. Time management was very important. This involved asking teachers lots of questions when I didn't understand because of the limited time I had to study outside college.

“I asked for help to fit my timetable around training and got permission to leave early from class sometimes to get to training on time. Overall, it was helpful to plan out my week well.”

She said: “A sense of perspective helped, my performance on one day didn’t define me as a person or reflect all my achievements. I thought about all the sacrifices I had made and focused on the things I could control.

“From both experiences, going to the Olympics and going through college, the main thing I learnt is that asking for help when you need it is key. An athlete is always part of a bigger support team.

“No matter what the result, it is common to feel a bit confused when you have achieved your biggest dream.

“I learnt to make sure to have plans for after a big event so that you have a separate focus,for example, your next steps, a new beginning or university in my case. And, most importantly, enjoy the moment!”