"Sport for all is important, but helping the elite and developing excellence is also important. There's always a balancing act, but I don't think the British Universities and Colleges Physical Education Association would measure success on sheer numbers through the door. At Plymouth, we try to make the most of what we have.
We have developed our water sports facilities - sailing, canoeing, sub-aqua diving, waterskiing - to the point where I would say they were a centre of excellence. As a result we attract students who are high-level performers in water sports, as well as students who haven't previously had the opportunity to participate, for whom we run a coaching scheme.
Our other facilities are perhaps considerably poorer than some other universities'. We also have the problem of long distances to travel for inter-varsity sport, a cost that is generally borne by the students' union. But we recognise that success in sport reflects on the university, so if our teams reach semi-final and final stages of BUSA competitions, the university will fund the teams directly."
Winnie Coles, secretary of BUCPEA and Plymouth University's recreation services manager
Interviews by John Davies.