The University of Birmingham Sport (UBSport) swimming team headed up the M1 to Sheffield on Saturday, March 10 to compete in the British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) Team Championships held at Pond’s Forge International Sports Centre.
His teams were to reap the rewards of their training as they walked away from the competition with 29 personal bests (pbs), 10 seasons bests, five new club records and, for the second team, a set of silver medals.
Alessandro Lazdins won both the second division 50 and 100 metres freestyle events and in doing so became only the second University of Birmingham swimmer to go under 52 seconds in the latter.
Speaking after the event to Redbrick newspaper, Alessandro said, ‘I’m very pleased I wasn’t expecting that. Last year I did 53.1 and I expected around a 52.5 this year so that was incredible.’
The second win came for the team of Sian Evans, Holly Gunner, Paige Jepson and Danni Pryor in the second division women’s freestyle relay. But the impressive achievements of this day did not centre on winning events.
Head Coach Gary Humpage totalled up the number of seconds taken to swim all the races and compares them to last year’s results. His findings show that the division one team were a total of 9.81 seconds quicker than last year while the division two team were 28.24 seconds quicker.
Considering the team’s improvement, the lower finishing place than last year is a disappointment and shows how the standard of competition has increased.
Speaking after the competition Gray was still happy with his team's performance, ‘Overall it was a fantastic performance. It was a tremendous set of swims with big pbs. There’s nobody that didn’t do themselves justice.’
However, mixed emotions could be seen from club captain Chris Taylor speaking to Redbrick he said, ‘The team did amazingly,’ he said, ‘it was an improvement on last year and it’s frustrating that the results didn’t reflect that. It’s disappointing not to get a medal but individually the improvements were amazing.’
Frustrations at the lower placing aside, it was a buoyant team that left Sheffield as the swimmers came away delighted with their improvements. Kristina Paige, Chris Buchanan, Joe Marsh, Steffi King and Phil Hodgson had all broken club records while many others had seen large improvements on their times.