Oxford break six team records and score twice as many points as Cambridge to come 6th at the BUCS team division 1 final
Once again, a great performance at the South qualifying round had secured the Oxford team a position in the division one national final, held at Sheffield on 10th March. Coming just three weeks after the Varsity match and on the last day of term it was always going to be a challenge to swim well, but the team excelled putting in a number of great swims to secure 6th position.
Following the thrashing of Cambridge in the Varsity match the team were very excited to be racing Cambridge again. The lane draw which placed the Tabs between Oxford and Loughborough ensured that every race Cambridge were reminded of this victory, swimming in the wash of swimmers from both sides. The Cambridge swimmers certainly knew a lot more about the feet of the Oxford swimmers by the end of the afternoon, being beaten in 20 of the 24 events including all the girls’ events – so, no Oxford girl was beaten by a Tab in the whole competition‼
The competition got off to a great start with the girls 4x50m medley team of Kelsey Ida, Katherine Rollins, Rebecca Neal and Rachel Andvig coming 4th in a new team record (2:01.13) in the opening event. This time was especially impressive considering star swimmer Justine Schluntz was resting up for the next event and not part of the team. This stunning opening performance set the tone for the meet, with everyone continuing to pull fast swims out the bag.
The first individual event, the 100m IM, saw both the men’s and women’s records fall. Schluntz went faster than her performance in the heat, to grab 4th in 1:04.62. Following this, Tom Booth, despite the large area of scabs on his leg from a rather nasty fall from his bike the week before, recovered quickly from the relay to go 58.27 to break one of the oldest men’s records.
Schluntz broke a second team record in her other individual, the 50m fly (28.08), a race in which she came second, Oxford’s highest position of the day. Other team records to fall were Rollins in the 50m breast (35.09) and the girls 4x50m free relay team of Andvig, Schluntz, Rollins and Ida (1:48.21). There were also great performances from other swimmers, including, as he liked to remind everyone……, PBs from James Jurkiewicz in both the 50m and 100m back.
Loughborough, with many swimmers competing who had just returned from the Olympic trials, were the dominant team, winning ¾ of all the races. They were closely followed by the Edinburgh and Bath teams. But, after these teams the overall competition was very close, with Nottingham, Birmingham, Oxford and Manchester finishing within 24 points (20 points were available for a relay win). Oxford’s 6th position, and being so close to the strong Nottingham and Birmingham teams, was credit to the strong performances from every member of the team and is the second highest position Oxford has ever come in this competition. It was made all the more special by the fact that Cambridge came last, with just over half the number of points as Oxford. This was a great way to end what has been a brilliant year, and with very few leaving, the future is looking bright for OUSC.
Final points: Loughborough 270, Edinburgh 238, Bath 204, Nottingham 165, Birmingham 153, Oxford 145, Manchester 141, London 117, Cambridge 77