Founded in 1892, Oxford University Swimming Club is the university’s competitive swimming team. Swimming is one of the few Full Blue sports at Oxford and so has a prestigious status in the sporting scene. OUSC is made up of two teams, both of whom compete against Cambridge in the annual Varsity Match, where 2019 will mark the 127th anniversary of the event.
Both teams also compete at national BUCS competitions, with a number of our swimmers competing at the highest levels of the sport, making BUCS and national championship finals. The club also has a vibrant social scene with weekly events, ensuring that everyone feels welcome.
Both teams train at Rosenblatt Pool, Oxford. The Blues (1st team) train 8 times a week in the pool, alongside 3 dryland sessions. A high level of commitment is expected, due to the club’s Full Blue status which our members train hard to achieve. Members of this team have usually swum competitively before university, but it is not uncommon for them to have had a break from the sport before joining OUSC.
The Dolphins (2nd team) is a perfect option for more casual/social swimmers and they train three times a week. All members of the Dolphins should be competent swimmers, but a range of abilities are warmly welcomed.
OUSC’s season is a busy one. Pre-season training begins in Trinity term, as well as over the summer, and builds up towards our first competition: a friendly match against other universities which usually takes place within the first few weeks of term. BUCS Short Course Championships is the next major event, which is usually held in November. Both teams compete here and it is an opportunity for swimmers to impress the Captains and fight for a space on the Varsity team. The Blues team attend a training camp during the first week of January (this season will be located in Vila Real, Portugal) and is a crucial aspect of the training season as it ensures the team is in peak physical fitness in preparation for the Varsity Match and BUCS Team Championships. The training is highly intensive, with 10 pool sessions and gym work every day. The weeks also allows for swimmers to spend time together as a team and activities are planned alongside the grueling training!
The historic Varsity Match takes place during Hilary term and is the main highlight of the year. The rivalry is fierce and its location alternates so that both sides get to host the event biennially. It is a fantastic competition which always has an incredible atmosphere. Oxford were undefeated in the 2018 Varsity Match, and look to defeat Cambridge in 2019 by a comfortable margin.
The season draws to a close after BUCS Team Championships, which is held in Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield. OUSC normally perform incredibly well and this year finished 8th in the 1st Division National Finals.
Open water swimming
OUSC also offers a number of open water opportunities, including the annual Open Water Varsity Match against Cambridge which takes place in Henley, along the Royal Regatta course. The team also race against Cambridge in the biennial Varsity Channel Relay swim; teams consisting of three women and three men, race as a relay from Dover to Calais. Oxford won the most recent event in 2016, finishing in a fantastic 8hrs 54mins. The next race will be held in the summer of 2018 and Oxford shall be looking to put together a strong team and defend the title.
An annual Cuppers swimming competition allows for inter-collegiate rivalries to flourish in the pool and is a fantastic event to be a part of. The 2017 competition saw Magdalen crowned as champions and a very strong Somerville place 2nd. Perhaps 2018 will see this change…
OUSC arranges a number of social events throughout the year, giving members the chance to see each other with their clothes on 😉 … Weekly ‘crewdates’ allows for socialising with other sports teams and the post Varsity Match provides the opportunity to unwind after a tough season. Some of the social events are organised in conjunction with Oxford University Water Polo Club, including the post Varsity dinner. OUSC has an extensive Old Member’s Society, which organises an annual dinner and garden party.
Annual subscription to the club costs £50, which includes ASA membership, coaching and social events. OUSC members must also purchase Oxford University Sport membership which allows access to the facilities, which costs approximately £88 per year. There are discounted 3 year membership packages available. Some colleges pay for university membership fees, so it’s worth contacting each college directly to see what they provide.
If you are a visiting student, we would be delighted to have you train with us, even if it’s only for one term. If you are currently an Oxford student, or you will be a fresher starting in October, feel free to contact us if you have any questions, or get in touch with one of the committee members for more specific queries.