The swimming Varsity Match against Cambridge is one of the highlights of the year together with BUSA Team Championships, to which our training is geared. The Varsity match usually takes place in Hilary term (January to March) as part of the Varsity Games with venues alternately organized by Cambridge and by Oxford. In 2008 it was held at the Rosenblatt pool in Oxford.
The first ever Men’s varsity swimming match was held in 1892 at the Kensington Pools in London and many subsequent matches were held in London, even as recently as 1999 in Ealing. Originally the gala consisted of three individual freestyle events with two swimmers from Oxford and two from Cambridge competing in each event. The exact distances varied considerably from year to year but roughly equated to a sprint, an approximate 100m and a quarter mile; although the middle event varied from 100 yards to 174 to 240 during the 1890s. The 1920s also brought about another major change with the first ladies’ swimming Match in 1921, although it was held separately from the men’s.
- Two competitors from each university take part in individual events. Relays have one team each.
- Any competitor can swim a maximum of three events, either he/she can take part in two individual events and one relay or one individual event and both the relays.
- The eligibility of competitors is subject to the rules drawn up by the joint Cambridge and Oxford Blues Committee.
- The individual events are scored as 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 .
- The relays are scored 7 points for 1st and 3 points for 2nd. Zero points for a disqualification.
- If two competitors finish equal, the points for the two positions are shared equally.
- Points for the Mens events and Ladies events count separately towards their respective trophies.
- Points for the Mens and Ladies events are added for the joint trophy.
- In the event of equal points in any match (Mens, Ladies or Joint), a draw is declared.