If Uni had the luxury of picking any sport to use to catch up with Trent in the Varsity Series, Swimming would definitely be top of the list. Since being commissioned, the event has provided victory after victory for the swimmers and this year was no exception. The comfortable 379 – 225 result gives Uni its first point on the Varsity 2011 scoreboard, and offers the Rugby League team a real boost ahead of their event that could tie the series after four fixtures.
Despite there being fewer events and points on offer, Uni went about beating their Trent opponents in ruthless fashion; dominating the podium in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke and Women’s 100m backstroke, 50m Butterfly and 50m Freestyle. Like last year, Trent fans and swimmers alike could only watch as Uni took control from the offset; picking up the win on every occasion, though the moment of the day came in the Men’s 100m Backstroke as a Trent competitor tied with Matt Smith in a dramatic dead-heat. Though still unable to win outright a single race at the University Pool, Trent have definitely improved on last year’s performance and would easily have scored more than the 25 points they needed to equal last year’s tally if they had the same amount of races to compete in.
Coach Alex Thurston, captains Alex “Rusty” Rust and Katie Ambridge, men’s “Skins” winner Matt Smith and President Will Hughes all paid testament to their opponents on the day and offered similar responses when asked if Trent had developed in the last twelve months. “They must have done, because we let them have a joint-first this year” quipped Thurston, who can be very proud of his team’s efforts this season after impressive performances in the BUCS competitions, held in November and February. According to Rust, Trent had been downplaying their admittedly-thin chances of success in the Pool prior to the event, perhaps in light of the constant suggestion that Swimming may lose its Varsity status given its domination by Uni. But “a much better team than they were last year,” Trent can be proud of their efforts according to Rust, who is already looking forward to an even more competitive fixture next year. Ambridge offered similar sentiments: “They have come on as a team and a lot of the races were closer,” particularly in the Women’s competition.
The hotly anticipated “Skins” finale (a five stage knockout competition) unfortunately failed to deliver on the excitement it promised in the build-up though, with an all-Uni podium in both Men’s and Women’s races. Women’s winner Ambridge won every race she competed in, and though Men’s winner Matt Smith found it “absolutely knackering”, he was clearly pleased with his efforts. When asked if it was as hard as it looked, Smith’s response summed things up bluntly: “Oh yeah…I’m gonna need a bucket.”
IMPACT also managed to catch up with AU Officer Dave Heads amidst the pre-emptive Uni celebrations ahead of the final race. When asked for his thoughts on Uni’s impressive performance, he said he was “really happy, always the way I thought it was going to be.” On the future of Varsity Swimming, Heads spoke of a successful meeting with the President of the Trent team, concluding that they are happy to compete in the event while the profits remain charity-bound. Heads was equally clear about his visions of future Varsities; expansion to incorporate other sports, which he feels would not be economically viable. It is only Varsity Ice Hockey that makes money and obviously the intention is to raise as much as possible for the chosen charity, not make a loss. In Heads’ opinion, adding sports would jeopardise this objective. One person who is more enthusiastic about expanding the Varsity Series is AU Officer Candidate Robin Allison, who also took in the Uni victory from poolside yesterday afternoon. Asked what he thought about wishes to cancel Swimming, he offered a firm “no” saying he wanted to “expand varsity not restrict it.” Also lurking around the pool for the duration of the afternoon was Sarah ‘Swills’ Williams, who was another sharing enthusiasm for Varsity’s expansion, even suggesting Volleyball as a new Varsity sport (perhaps pushing for the male vote…).
With Swimming over, Varsity now heads towards this weekend’s Rugby League encounter, which Heads is eagerly anticipating: “Rugby league on Saturday, last year we won it and this year we’re pretty good. As a Rugby Union player myself I’m very excited about watching it.” Early doubts concerning Uni’s start to this year’s Varsity could certainly be laughed off if a second win in four days levels the series, and with Uni retaining the Swimming crown in emphatic fashion, they are already half way there.
Final Score :
Uni – 379 Trent – 225
Image by Aniec Lu