Cheerleaders chase world championship glory

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Cheerleaders practicing their programme.
Five cheerleaders with Chalmers t-shirts
The Swedish national team in cheerleading practised their program before leaving to compete in Florida.

Six national sports students from Chalmers are getting ready to compete in the World Cheerleading Championships.

Cheerleaders practicing their program.

Sara Wikström, who studies the Chemical engineering bachelor's at Chalmers, is one of six national sports students getting ready to compete in the championship in Florida on April 19-21. She discovered cheerleading through her classmates when she was younger and has been competing in the Swedish national team since the 2014/2015 season.

"What I love about cheerleading is that it's a sport for everyone. It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like. There's always a position that will fit you. It's a very inclusive sport," she says.

During the competitions, there are 24 people who perform a program consisting of different elements that they are being judged on, such as gymnastics, pyramids, stunts, and different throws - called "tosses".

"We put together a routine and try to fill it with as many difficult skills as possible. The program we're going to compete with at the World Championships is stylish. It looks easy and nice when we do the different elements. We also want it to be clear that we're having fun on the mat."

Cheerleader Sara Wikström.
Cheerleader Sara Wikström studies at Chalmers while being an elite athlete.

Competing at the highest level

The national team from Sweden competes in the highest class, called Senior All Girl-Premier, and the goal is to put together the best program possible.

"Then it's up to the judges because this is a judged sport. We've been in the top four for the past few years, so of course we're aiming for a medal. We think our chances are good. The toughest competitors are likely to be the United States and Finland."

She has five fellow competitors with her at the World Championships - who also study at Chalmers.

"It's really fun that there are so many of us from Chalmers. It just shows that you can combine elite sports with studies at such a high level as Chalmers. We have a strong community in the team and can help each other with studying. You don't feel alone in your situation, and that's really nice."

Planning is important

Sara has been studying full-time at Chalmers for a year while training at an elite level and has found a good structure in being able to do both.

"You have to take a lot of personal responsibility and plan well to be able to do everything. Sometimes it can be difficult to fit in training several times a week and also make it to the labs and exams, but I've had good friends here who have supported me. If I've missed a lecture, I've been able to see my classmate's notes. So far, I've been lucky and haven't had any major competitions that clashed with the exam periods."

Other advantages of being a national sports student include having access to free training at a gym called Fysiken.

"There, I work on building my own strength outside of cheerleading training to reduce the risk of injury. I've also been able to do different physical tests through my membership which has helped me a lot in my sport."

Read more about sports and studies at Chalmers

Sports and studies

Are you interested in doing sport or developing technical solutions in sport? A wide range of activities and clubs ensures that there is something for everyone at Chalmers. With us, you can also combine your elite sports career with your studies.


Vedrana Sivac