Oxford university swimming club (OUSC) is the competitive university swimming club, representing the university in all inter-university swimming events. Swimming is one of the few full blue sports, so has a prestigious status in the university sports scene. OUSC is an ASA registered club (since 2006), allowing us to compete in local open meets, county, regional and national championships, as well as inter-university events. We are a high quality swimming team, winning the last 3 varsity matches against Cambridge (2 of them by record margins); and consistently placing in the top 7 teams in the highest division of the BUCS team championships over the last few years.
Oxford University Swimming Club has existed since 1892, and has become much more professional in recent years. Training now takes place for the whole squad at the new Lief Rosenblatt Pool, Iffley Road, Oxford. This is a brand new (2004) eight lane 25m pool with a moveable floor, and is part of the main complex of university sports facilities.
OUSC trains throughout the academic year although the majority of our training for the year is done in Michaelmas and Hilary terms building up for the Varsity match and the BUCS Team Championships. We hold three training camps during the year, two of which are held in our own pool, before and after Michaelmas term. The main training camp was held last year in Torremolinos, Spain in early January just before the start of Hilary term. The camp involves an intensive training schedule, but also offers the squad a good opportunity to relax and spend time checking out the local area. The squad is also invited to take part in land training. This includes weights, abdominal work, circuits and flexibility training in a programme designed by 2012 Olympic champion and OUSC alumnus Davis Tarwater.
In Michaelmas term we compete against other universities in a friendly gala, which will take place in mid-October at Oxford, followed by the BUCS short course championships in November at Sheffield. The term ends with the Southern qualification round of the BUCS team championships in late November and possibly a local open meet.
The annual Varsity Match against Cambridge is one of the main highlights of the year and is held in early February. It is hosted by Oxford on even years and Cambridge on odd years. Training is geared towards this unique event which always has a fantastic atmosphere. If the qualification round finishes successfully in Michaelmas, the year in the pool then ends with the national finals of the BUCS team championships in Sheffield.
Outside of the pool, the team also race Cambridge in the biannual team cross-channel varsity race. Oxford won the most recent event in 2012, finishing in 8hrs 44mins, less than 30 minutes off the world record. The next race will be held in the summer of 2014, and we shall be looking to put together a strong team to defend our title.
OUSC arranges a number of social events throughout the year, giving members the chance to see each other with their clothes on. The post varsity match party provides an opportunity to unwind after the rigors and stresses of the competition. Some of these events are organised in conjunction with the Water Polo Club, including the post Varsity dinner. OUSC has an extensive Old Members society, which organises an Annual Dinner and Garden Party.
For the less serious swimmers at the university, there is a second team who currently train 3 times a week alongside pentathletes and triathletes. We also organise an annual Cuppers swimming competition. This is an inter-college competition, and a great time is usually had by all, although don’t underestimate cuppers events – they do become very competitive!
Joining OUSC costs around £50 (2012/13 figure), which includes ASA membership, entry to all swimming and land training sessions, lactate testing, plus invitations to our social events. OUSC members must also be members of the swimming pool, which costs approx £77 per year; and there are also discounted 3 year packages. However some colleges give free membership to the sports centre. If you are a visiting student, we are still happy for you to train with us, even if it’s only for one term.