Student of the Week
Karis lives in Finchley Central and came to Woodhouse from the Wren Academy. She is studying English Literature, Theatre Studies and Politics.
Later this year she hopes to fly off to Long Island University in the USA to study Liberal Arts on a $200,000 sport scholarship. An offer she's accepted out of an incredible 48 other scholarship offers from various institutions. Why is she in such demand? She's an incredible swimmer.
Karis has been a member of Barnet Copthall Swimming Club since she was nine years old and began competitive swimming almost immediately.
"I started swimming around four years old and by seven was taking my life saving badges" she told us. "I took a break and did Karate for a couple of years, almost to black belt, but my teachers kept telling my parents that I could swim really well and to get me into a club, and they did. I started at the bottom and worked my way up, within a year, to competing for the club. At eleven I qualified (by a 10th of a second!) for the British nationals in Sheffield - at 200m breaststroke. In the heats, I knock 5 seconds off of my personal best to get into the final and dropped another 3 seconds in the final itself. I was the sixth fastest 11 year-old in the country"
Karis has since competed in Luxemberg, France, and Belgium, and trained in Tenerife, Spain and Italy. Her list of swimming achievements is too many to list here, but she has also had to overcome major hurdles...
"I picked up a bad knee injury in my early years and had to switch from breaststroke to backstroke for 3 or 4 years and am really only just coming out of that, it was quite a setback. But it's also helped me develop all round skills in swimming. I compete in individual medley (she came 9th in 400IM in the 2013 national final) and freestyle. I swim 'sprint' and 'distance'. I don't have a single specialism, and I think thats why I got so many offers, because I post good times in lots of different races."
Karis tried out for the 2012 London Olympics, which was good experience, but - at 14 - wasn't too disappointed to lose out to swimmers 10 years older, her time will come. She's also had the chance to compete against Katinka Hosszú - the hungarian world record holder at Individual Medley. "I got to stare her in the eye before the race and managed to stay with her on the first 50m too, which is cool - but I've a little way to go before I match her times"
So for now, between revising and exams, it's up at 4.30am 3 days a week for morning pool training (5 evening sessions too), twice weekly gym sessions, protein shakes, bullet vitamins - "so hard to swallow" - 3500 calories must be consumed every day - "I've reduced that from 5000 - I just can't eat that much!". And a whole team behind her, keeping her in shape.
But she does find time for a part time job. "I work on the 'Build-a-bear' stall at Hamleys the toy shop, helping little kids to build and personalise their teddys. "It's quite good fun. I wanted a job so that I could drive and pay for my own petrol - give my parents a break from the years of taxiing me back and forth. I don't want them to have to finance everything, they've done so much already. Thats why the scholarship is so great because it won't cost us any more than my health insurance fees."
So how is it, studying at Woodhouse?
"I really like it here and definitely feel more like an adult since I left school - Woodhouse has helped me grow up. It's encouraged me to develop my initiative and independence and really set me up for Uni. Also, I'm a 'stresser' - but the pastoral team at Woodhouse have been so supportive and helpful, they've really listened and cared, and that's made all the difference."
Well, we are happy to help Karis and wish you the best of luck with, firstly, your exams, but also your swimming and your big American adventure. We hope you get an Olympic medal someday and bring it back to show us. Welcome to the Woodhouse Student of the Week - hall of fame!
09 November 2016
Class of 2016
22 March 2016
13 January 2016
Theo Cox Dodgson
10 December 2015
26 November 2015
12 November 2015
28 October 2015
08 October 2015
01 October 2015
17 September 2015
10 September 2015
25 June 2015
30 April 2015
23 April 2015
16 April 2015
12 March 2015
05 March 2015
26 February 2015
19 February 2015
12 February 2015
05 February 2015