Nastassya Muller: UoN's only netball AND water polo player

 

What’s the best part about being involved in not one, but two, sports teams at the university?

I found that being involved in two different sports means that the range of people I meet has massively increased, from freshers to fifth year students, to medics and architects.  They’re people I’d never meet just from my course or from halls and I’ve found it’s really enhanced my university experience.  Being in the netball team is just so tight knit; your netball friends become as close as your halls friends.

Any other reasons?

I actually only joined for the kit, so I can walk around in all of my stash.

We’ll get to that a bit later!  So, what’s the truth? How hard was it getting into the teams?

Netball was gruelling!  It was two days of just pain!  At the end of Freshers’ Week, the Saturday and Sunday, we had three or four hours of training after a summer where you’ve done nothing or been drinking.  When I got back and saw the stairs I just thought ‘no, this is not going to happen’.  It was really hard but it’s worth it, you knew that trying your best was getting you somewhere.  And water polo is very social which is enjoyable because it’s more about sticking with it as they accept everyone – although two of the girls are ex-Team GB!  You don’t necessarily have to compete and they’re really welcoming.

How often do you have to train in the week and how is it balancing your sporting commitments with your course?

For netball I train Tuesday evenings from 6-8pm, and then we have matches on Wednesday afternoons, and finally we have Sunday fitness which is usually around two hours.  It balances as long as you manage your time well enough.  You just need to account for your sports in your timetable.  I find that sports really clears my head so it’s useful in my academic life.

How are the training sessions?

You do push yourself hard and end up really sweaty but they are so useful and you can feel them working.  You get a really good buzz and when you’re playing a match and it’s a high pressure situation you can feel all this energy coming back to you so you can keep pushing.

Tell us about one of your worst experiences during training or a match.

During a match I got knocked over quite badly by one of the girls and landed really heavily on my knee.  It started bruising almost immediately and my whole knee was huge and swollen.  I could feel it for like 2 months afterwards.  It was a badge of honour though.

Are you still friends with the girl?

Oh yeah, no hard feelings!

How many press-ups can you do in a row?

I could probably do 40-50 easy press-ups or 25 normal.

You look pretty flash in your netball outfit, do you love the university’s sports branding or do you think there is room for improvement?  

I do like the stash, it’s really comfortable but we’ve just been rebranded and there are slight issues, like some of the training tops can get quite hot because of the material.

Must be pretty empowering having your name on the back though.

It’s definitely a bonus!

What do you really think about the water polo outfits? Do you think there is anything they can do to make them more appealing?

No, with the water polo costume it’s basically tight and I think that’s all they are going for.  It’s for good reason though, otherwise people can grab you in the pool.

Being a part of the netball team means you are often a frequent visitor to Crisis.  Can you tell us about your craziest story from a sports night out?  

I have too many!  We end up with a lot of themes.  One time I found this shark costume on the floor with my friend Lydia and we both tried to put it on at the same time.  It was a struggle getting around.   But probably the craziest involved seeing the alcohol I had consumed over the course of the night for a second time… and it was coloured pink.  I won’t say anything else.

Fair enough! Moving on then, what is the truth about those rugby union lads?

We do have a lot of joint socials, rugby union being one of the biggest.  They’re hilarious, really up for a laugh and quite hard drinkers so keeping up with them is always interesting.  I went dressed as a bumblebee to the last joint social. Noah’s Ark had bumblebees apparently…

Are you interested in taking up any other sports during your final year of uni? Is the great Nastassya Muller going to tackle anything else?

I’d quite like to try some other sports but I don’t think I could handle any more clubs! I would like to try boxing, or kicking boxing, or maybe volleyball! I’ve always enjoyed volleyball.

So what advice would you give to those who weren’t successful in getting into a sports team first time round?

If you’re not successful the first time I would always recommend going for it the next year.  Some years can be a lot harder than others and I know from my year that about 250 girls tried out and only 25 got places.  But then some years will have a big intake because lots of third years will leave so don’t be demotivated by not getting in.  It’s always worth it.