Hannah Calverley, RLSS UK member and Lifeguard, has been involved in lifesaving since she was 11 years old from competing in lifesaving sport, being a volunteer, to being a drowning prevention advocate.

Assisted by RLSS UK Trustee Pete Moyes, during her university years Hannah undertook some research for her first degree which focused on Lifeguard anxiety and emotion regulation, before moving on to complete her Master's degree and research project which extended this theme. This experience sparked her interest in research.

Hannah explained: “My involvement in lifesaving was always a hobby but it contributed to my decision to study Sport and Psychology at university when I left school. The research projects which were part of these degrees were always dreaded by the students, however under some great guidance, I undertook research focusing on different aspects of lifesaving and because it was my interest, I really enjoyed the process.”

Pete is a huge advocate for getting young people involved in the opportunities presented by the lifesaving community and supported Hannah in being a part of everything available. Through these opportunities, Hannah was able to make worldwide connections and it was these connections who informed her about a PhD scholarship opportunity in Australia.

Hannah said: “After university, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but as my involvement in lifesaving had enabled me to make worldwide contacts, I was informed by a drowning researcher of a PhD Scholarship being offered for a student to research a drowning prevention/water safety topic in Australia. Without thinking too much about the logistics, I applied. The next three and a half years saw me move to Australia by myself and set up a new life down under while studying a topic of huge interest to me.”

After completing her PhD, Hannah started a job at Life Saving Victoria as the Manager for Research and Evaluation, saying she felt the job description was written just for her.

Hannah continued: “The lifesaving community is global and tight-knit and there are so many incredible opportunities available which capture not only the sport context but also drowning prevention and water safety advocacy. If you’d like a challenge, to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and to pursue your interest in lifesaving I’d really encourage you to apply for this PhD.”

Pete concluded: “Hannah is an excellent role model and demonstrates that in lifesaving clubs across the UK and Ireland we have a deep rich vein of talent and it is incumbent upon us all to look for the talent and nurture it wherever we can our future leaders.”

The PhD can be undertaken at Deakin University in Victoria, Australia and applications for the scholarship are now open. It is a fantastic opportunity for those interested in lifesaving and applications can be made via the Deakin University website.

Find out more about the PhD Scholarship