By Becky Grey

BALANCING a molecular biology degree while trying to stay atop the windsurfing national rankings is not how most 18-year-olds spend their time, but that is the daily norm for Erin Watson.

The teenager recently began studying at Edinburgh University and regularly travels down to Weymouth to train with the National Sailing Academy.

After finishing fifth at the Youth World Championships in July, Watson took part in three national ranker events and shot to the top of the rankings, two places above her sister Islay.

And the windsurfer is looking to maintain that with just one more ranker race to go, though her ultimate goal is to compete at an Olympic Games.

“The World Championships were the best result I’ve got so far,” she said. “It was unexpected because of the venue and the conditions you get there and what I’m usually good in so it was a big one for me.

“That was my last World Championships at youth level, so under-19s, then I’m going against a tougher level of competition so I want to get an idea of where I am against seniors going into next season.

“We all look forward to the Olympics and have hopes of getting there – that’s my motivation.

“I’m a very competitive person as well so I want to keep bettering myself and uni and sport allow me to do that.”

Molecular biology is a particularly challenging degree choice and Watson admits it can be hard to find time to study during busy training periods.

But the young sporting star shows a maturity beyond her years when she explains why she chose to add lectures to her already very full schedule.

“I like it because education gives you something to look at other than just windsurfing, so I don’t get too focussed on that,” she added.

“It gives me a bit of a release, so it’s been really nice to get back into something because I’ve not been in school since I left early this year.

“I had the whole summer to do windsurfing which was obviously great to improve but it does get a bit more stressful if you’ve not got something else to look at to put everything in perspective – it takes your mind off results for a while.

“The choice to go into education was because I do want something at the end of it and I do enjoy the subject.

“I’m not going to do the sport forever so I did want something to fall back on, you have to be motivated to make it all work and that’s what I’ve been going for.”

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