Oxford Win Varsity 2012

Oxford Win Varsity 2012

Oxford whitewash in blues swimming varsity













Following a close defeat last year, the Oxford swimmers welcomed their Cambridge counterparts to the Rosenblatt pool last Saturday confident of revenge having beaten the Cambridge team in the BUCS south qualifying round at the end of Michaelmas term to qualify for the national finals.

In the 120th anniversary event (the first swimming Varsity match was held in 1892), the opening parade saw the Cambridge team walk out to Chopin’s funeral march. This set the tone for the remainder of the competition, with records tumbling and Oxford earning the overall win by a record margin and taking victory in the women’s match for the first time this millennium.

The first university record and Oxford win came in the second event, the men’s 200m IM, with Tom Booth posting a stunning 2:04.26. With two swimmers from each team competing in each event, strength in depth is key to victory, and the third event saw the first Oxford 1-2 from Kelsey Ida (1:04.91) and Rachel Franklin in the 100m back, Franklin storming down the last length to pip the leading Cambridge girl by 0.5s. This was matched by the men in their 100m back, with Jordan Anderson (57.43) and James Jurkiewicz earning a 1-2.

Spurred on by these wins, and the tremendous support from their teammates and capacity crowd, the Oxford women continued to excel, taking 1st and 2nd positions in 5 of the 7 women’s individual events throughout the afternoon, including two wins for fresher Rachel Andvig (100m and 200m free) and a win for American Justine Schluntz (100m fly). Again Franklin was involved in a close finish for 2nd, this time in the 400m free, pulling ahead of the Cambridge girl only on the final length of the 16 length race. With these wins came records, and captain Lucy Spencer took the university record in the 400m free (4:33.43) and Katherine Rollins in the 100m breast (1:14.85).

The men were not to be outdone though, with wins from ex-Tab Dane Rook (100m breast) and a second victory for Booth (100m free). Booth’s free victory came in the closest race of the day, which he won by just 0.02s. These fantastic swims gave Oxford an unprecedented 44-26 lead in the women’s competition and a 36-34 lead in the men’s at the interval before the relays.

The four relays were where Oxford cemented their victory, winning all four of them and all by much larger margins than in previous varsity matches. These included a university record for the women’s 4x50m free relay team of Andvig, Rollins, Ida and Justine Schluntz (1:48.35), with Andvig beating the 50m free record on the lead off leg (26.44). This dominance in all the relays clearly showed just how strong Oxford swimming currently is.

The future looks bright for Oxford swimming, with most of the swimmers staying in Oxford and returning to the pool next year. This Oxford team is one of the closest teams ever, and this camaraderie was evident throughout the match with those on poolside cheering and supporting those in the pool giving one of the best atmospheres of all the Varsity matches. The team would also like to thank Justine Schluntz who has not only been swimming but also coaching the team this year. Her work appears to have paid off‼

A special mention should also go to Kouji Urata who has qualified for the 200m fly at the British Championships and Olympic trials to be held in 8th week at the Olympic pool. He will be joining Jack Marriott, who has taken a year out from Oxford to train with the GB squad in Loughborough, with the aim of racing for GB at the Olympics. Listen out for them both on BBC radio 5 live‼ The summer will see Oxford and Cambridge race again, this time across the channel to France (hopefully avoiding jellyfish, ships and hypothermia) with Oxford aiming for the win after losing by just 9 mins 2 years ago.

Results for the individual races are available at: http://www.ousc.co.uk/varsity-results/2012-varsity/