The Valentine’s weekend turned out to be a very successful one for the University of Birmingham Swimming Club at the BUCS long course event in Sheffield.
Fresher Jen Jackson, first year Medic, kicked off the weekend with a stunning swim in the 1500m freestyle, smashing the club record by 15 seconds and coming in an impressive fourth place. Jackson continued her good form with another club record in the 400m Individual medley (IM) coming seventh in a final with international and European superstars. Not content with that, Jackson had further success with ninth place in the 200m IM final.
The weekend’s stand out performance came from Sian Evans, first year Physiotherapy, who fought hard to secure a bronze medal in the final of the 200m Backstroke setting a new club record of 2.226.52 in the process, slicing 4 seconds from the previous record. Her success was made all the sweeter as it was her team mate and women’s captain Christine Tooke, second year Physiotherapy, who followed her claiming fourth place in another impressive swim.
Tom Moxon, first year Chemical Engineering, dipped under the minute mark for the first time on the 100m Butterfly setting a new personal best by 1.8 seconds and Ricky Proud, first year Engineering, hit a second personal best in the same event. Men’s captain Phil Harington, second year Medic, was welcomed back and swam well in his first races since undergoing shoulder surgery last year.
The relays, always a highlight of the weekend, did not disappoint. The boys team of Chris Taylor (second year Engineering), Tom Moxon, Ben Pardoe (third year Sports Science) and Phil Harrison (second year Accounting and Finance) worked hard to secure sixth place in the final of the freestyle relay and 10th in the IM relay.
However it was the girls 4X100m IM team of Sian Evans, Charlotte Errington (first year History), Helen Cutler (first year Psychology) and Sarraounia Samuels (second year Economics) who really wowed. Charlotte stood in at the last minute for an injured housemate, taking the breastroke leg, giving a particularly impressive performance in her debut meet for UoB Swimming Club. The final was a close fought battle ending with Birmingham ending in a very close fourth place. The girls took 4 seconds off the previous club record, lowering the record to 4.37.42 with Sian setting a new club record on the backstroke leg on the relay.
Other notable performances came from Samantha Rose, third year Dentistry, who came eighth in the 200m breastroke, Christine Tooke eighth in the 50m Backstroke, Sarraounia Samuels eighth in the 100m freestyle setting a new PB in the process and SPECS Fresher Lucy Myler who came ninth in her first BUCS year in the 50m Butterfly final.
Special mentions needs to be made for club captain, Ben Pardoe and Katie Turner, fifth year Medic, as this was their last appearance at the BUCS long course championships. They both have given a lot to the UoB Swimming Club over their years and will be greatly missed.
The Team finished in eighth overall in the competition.
Coach Gary Humpage was blown away by the team’s commitment and professional attitude on poolside.
Humpage said, ‘The team grew in confidence during this meet with swimmers improving as they progressed through the weekend. The team was a lot more disciplined than in previous years in the cool down pool and it really paid off. During previous years, the team could not repeat their swims at the same speeds due to muscle fatigue.’
He continued, ‘The new swim down procedure we used really help our swimmers repeat their swims well - instead of fatiguing, they got faster. Three girls in the last relay set fastest meet times of the weekend which was fantastic work. The performance at the meet was sensational especially as we are currently in mid cycle and swam without resting for the meet.’
Doug Frost, Director of Scottish swimming commented that the BUCS swimming League is one of the most competitive in the world, second only to the USA. Michael Scott, the director of British swimming, also visited the competition.
Overall a great weekend all round, and a young squad that is showing great promise of the future. We now look confidently forward to the up and coming BUCS team final championships on March 13th.
The UoB Swimming Club always welcomes new members of all abilities, just drop by the Munrow pool 4-5pm Wednesdays to get involved. Details can be found at www.bham.ac.uk/sport.