Oxford Unleash Varsity Thrashing

On Saturday the 9th of February, Oxford’s top swimmers returned for the first time to the scene of their 2011 Varsity defeat, in which Cambridge snatched victory by the finest of margins in the final race of the meet. Yet having responded in emphatic style at the Rosenblatt pool last year with Oxford’s greatest margin of victory in history, OUSC well and truly consolidated their revenge by smashing the record margin yet again with a 117-63 final score, just short of the maximum possible difference of 126-54.

The competition started off as it was to continue for the Dark Blues with 1-2 finishes in both the women’s and men’s 200m Individual Medley as Naomi Vides, Rachel Andvig, Tom Booth and Xander Alari-Williams demonstrated Oxford’s superior all-round ability. The subsequent race saw Cambridge seal their first – and ultimately last – victory of the meet, as they put both of their strongest swimmers in the women’s 100m backstroke, gaining maximum points. The Dark Blues hit back immediately however, returning the favour in the men’s event: Human Sciences fresher Anthony O’Driscoll and Men’s Captain James Jurkiewicz again left the Cambridge men in their wake en route to 1-2 finish.

Next up was the 200m freestyle, which saw Addy Vachon and Lucy Spencer school the tabs in race tactics with their impressive back half speed to score maximum points. The men followed suit as Cody Duncan and Tristan Goodfellow both overhauled Cambridge stalwart and 5-time full blue Andrew Corley. Tristan came out on top of the tightest finish of the meet, storming back up the final fifty to take down the Cambridge distance specialist by just one one-hundredth of a second.

Hannah Johnston and Women’s Captain Rebecca Neal put in great performances to get 2nd and 3rd in the 100m butterfly despite strong Cambridge swims. This was followed by a fourth consecutive 1-2 for Oxford’s men by Kouji Urata and Joe Northover, with a great last 25m from Joe to surpass Cambridge’s top flier, out-touching the Light Blue swimmer by nine one-hundredths – a comparative lifetime alongside Tristan’s previous effort. Going into the break Oxford were ahead 50-30 having secured maximum points in every men’s event so far!

After the break the winning streak continued with Rachael Franklin and Lucy Spencer claiming a now familiar 1-2 in the 400m freestyle. The men then made it 5-for-5 as Cody Duncan and Kouji Urata returned to the pool to consign Corley to another unfamiliar 3rd place finish. The women’s 100m breaststroke swimmers provided one of the more dominant 1-2s of the day, as Naomi Vides and Ellie Berryman-Athey crushed their opponents. The men followed with a victory and club record for Teddy Hall fresher Xander Alari-Williams and a strong 3rd place finish from Anthony O’Driscoll.

In the final individual events Oxford were again victorious with wins from Rachel Andvig and Tom Booth in the 100m freestyle with Addy Vachon and Tristan Goodfellow both finishing fractionally behind in 3rd. The scores going into the relays were 89-51 to Oxford – an unassailable lead.

However, even with victory already sealed, the Dark Blues did not let up and the women produced a devastating performance in the medley relay, sealing victory by several body lengths. The men unleashed a similar performance, as O’Driscoll opened up a 5-second lead after the backstroke leg and the Oxford quartet never looked back. The women’s freestyle relay of Andvig, Vachon, Schluntz and Ajulu-Bushell swam to a club record of 1:47.48 to finish their meet in victorious fashion. This was followed by a final emphatic win of over 5 seconds in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.

Despite the plethora of superb individual performances, Hertford fresher Naomi Vides took the swimmer of the meet trophy for her wins and meet records in both the 200IM and 100 breast. Just as they had last year, the Dark Blues secured both the Men’s and Women’s trophies, with a record margin of victory that will prove almost impossible to surpass, although given the youth of the squad, there’s no telling what they could produce next year.

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