Swimmer Caroline Ball hopes move to America will help her fulfil goal
The 21-year-old Marjon student is both a long and short course swimmer of no small talent and dedication, whose fast-growing reputation has preceded her to the United States, and spurred the probable career and life-changing offer.
Ball has no doubts that a move to Indiana University and its 'fantastic training facilities' and 'top flight' aquatic, would improve her chances immeasurably of competing for at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. With Indiana University generously footing the bulk Plymouth-born Ball's bill for the two years, it still leaves her having to find and then fund her own lodgings.
Which, of course, she is perfectly willing to do, but is hoping that she can persuade a backer – private or corporate to help with the costs.
An initiative, given these parlous, financial times, is an entirely understandable and sensible step to take.
Ball, who has been a recipient of help from the Herald-backed Team Plymouth programme which offers support to élite athletes in and around the city, has already proved that helping her spread the costs incurred with training and competing, will be rewarded with equally-improved performances in tournaments.
And Ball has been consistent in her progress, and last summer, she scored her best result to date, winning a bronze medal at the 10k open water European trials, to help swell her already impressive aquatic CV.
Ball is hopeful that her appeal will not go unanswered and said she would be willing to publicise any potential sponsor.
She said: "It's a great offer to go to Indiana and I'm convinced it will help achieve my goal of competing at next year's Olympics in London.
"Indiana have a great reputation in improving swimmers, like me, who are close to stepping up to the next level.
"And so, I'm absolutely thrilled and proud to have been offered a scholarship which I intend to take up in August.
"The university is generous and will cover most of the fees, but I will have to pay for my living accommodation myself.
"So, basically, I'm looking for a sponsor or sponsors to help me fund part or most of the costs.
"In return, I'd do my best to make sure any potential sponsors' contributions would not go unrewarded.
"I'd try and give them as much public recognition as I possibly could."
Anyone able to help Ball or to talk with her over the award, should contact her on 07800797390.