'There is a lot of design work and model-making, more practical stuff that I like'
My Stor: Sam Curtis, Product Design, DIT
Sam Curtis is combining his third-level studies with preparations for a hoped-for place in next year's Olympics.
The 21-year-old Irish men's kayak champion is about to enter third year of the BSC Product Design in the College of Engineering and Built Environment, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).
It was his love of three subjects while at school at St Peter's College, Dunboyne, Co Meath - design and communications graphics, art and physics, that made product design his top CAO choice.
"It had a balance of everything I was interested in. It is a broad course, with a lot of design work and model-making, more practical stuff that I like," says Sam.
Now mid-way through the four-year programme and with every intention of completing it, Sam is hoping that, in the short term at least, he will have a future in sport: "I would be very keen in staying in sport as long as I can, but I always knew I would eventually have to leave and I want something that I am interested in."
Sam started kayaking at the age of 12, quickly making a name for himself on the national scene, and has been a member of the Irish men's team for a number of years.
His sporting skills earned him a place on the DIT Athlete Support Programme, which provides both financial assistance as well as performance-enhancement workshops in areas such as nutrition and strength and conditioning. On the academic side a certain leniency may be shown, by the extension of assignment deadlines, if necessary, to allow him meet his sporting commitments.
Sam has a training regime of about 15 hours a week, but he is still required to meet a certain attendance level in college, which doesn't present him with any problems.
There was little rest for Sam over the summer, though, spending a month in Europe competing in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia ahead of the all-important Olympic qualifiers next month.