The LBU’s attire for their attendance at this year’s Varsity final.
I meet with Ella over coffee for a general girly catch up after summer and take the chance to see what the swim team have been up to. This is Ella’s second year with the swim team and she excitedly tells me about her new position as social sec!
I think most people have their idea of what a social sec’s role is at university. But Ella also explains “I have to take care of any issues that arise within the team and ensure that everybody is enjoying training, as well as organising the best swim socials, of course!” And when it comes to fancy dress themes the swim team have got it down to a tee, rocking their presence at the year’s Varisty as Trolls.
“Standards are a lot higher this year” is the first thing that springs to mind when I ask Ella if there’s been any drastic changes to the swim team set up this year. She explains how the training times have been cut and that as a team there hasn’t been as much availability to take on new freshers because there just isn’t the space in the pool. With the Beckett pool only measuring 21 metres long, in comparison to an Olympic size pool which measures 50 metres long and 25 metres wide, it can often be challenging for the swim team to train as a whole as it simply doesn’t facilitate the space needed for the whole team. However, the LBU swim team make the most of what they’re got and have now implemented early morning sessions into the training schedule.
Ella also tells me how a few key swimmers have left the team this year, as Girl’s Captain, Chiara Querci and past social sec Jessica Whittle have now graduated in their degrees and said a sad farewell to the swim team, and the University.
Full of smiles after their day in the pool. From Left: Sasha Mackenzie and Ella feeling chuffed at how the day went.
VARSITY – THE RESULTS
With the atmosphere of Varisty still lingering around campus, I’m intrigued to find out how the swim team are feeling after their day in the pool. “Yeah, fantastic! We did lose…” Ella begins to reflect but with pride written on her face, “but compared to last year I think the girls were 7 points behind uni of, where as last year I think we were nearly 40 points behind overall, so we have improved a lot since last year”. When I ask Ella what races she competed in I receive a response full of swimming lingo: 100 IM; 50 breaststroke; 100 breaststroke; free relay; and later have to Google most of these to find out what they are. With very little knowledge of swimming I have no idea of what is a good time for any of the races but I hesitantly ask Ella if she managed to swim any personal bests and she very honestly tells me that she didn’t, “I had summer off from training but I’M hoping at BUCS I can perform well”.
After my personal swimming lingo investigation, I realise 100 IM is a 100 metre medley whereby the four swimming styles are covered in the following order: butterfly; backstroke; breaststroke; and freestyle, and I’m left thinking how I’d find it impossible to think about what stroke comes next, while trying to beat the person in the lane next to me and tumble turning all at the same time!
THE LBU SWIM TEAM LOWDOWN
So what do they get up to throughout the year? Is what I’m left wondering. I’ve witnessed the ruthless training sessions that the swim team are put through with coaches Matthew Eades and Jack Hepburn but I’m still unsure what they’re working so hard for. “We have two major competitions throughout the year which is BUCS, the first one is short course which is actually coming up in a few weeks, on November the 11th and anyone in the swim team can take part in that, there’s just a limit of three races each” Ella begins to explain when I ask her to fill me in on the plans for this year. “Then there’s the long course event which is in February, and with it being long course that takes place in a 50 metre pool, and again there’s a limit of three races per person”. She also goes on to tell me about Team Champs whereby only a few of the team are selected to take part, depending on their previous performances, in order to represent LBU.
Ponds Forge International Sports Centre Pool, Sheffield.
Ella also describes the setup of the BUCS swimming league, describing how it’s different to other BUCS sports, “Unlike other sports where they’ll compete every Wednesday against a different team, for us, when its BUCS all the University teams come together and all the teams compete against each other across three days”. Every year the LBU Swim Team head to the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield for the three days of competition.
I revert back to the mention of training so that Ella can explain their training schedule, “We train on Wednesdays, Thursday, and Sunday evenings, but we’ve actually been given a lane three mornings a week when the British Triathlon Team train. We’re allowed to use one lane when their training, but because it’s only one lane only a few people get selected to train on the early mornings, and each session is specifically designed to fit the needs of those swimmers. I think there’s fifteen swimmers who have been selected. But we’ve also been given funding to get training down at Kirkstall Leisure Centre, where they have a 25 metre pool, which will help train for BUCS because our pool is only 21 metres.
WHY THE SWIM TEAM?
It’s clear to see that Ella has a passion for swimming, from the way that she speaks about the sport to attending training sessions at 7am, but what is it that she really loves about the swim team? “It has to be the social side of swimming, I’ve met so many new friends, and it’s so important at uni to surround yourself with good, fun people, and they’re the best group of friends. But also my fitness, I’ve lost weight and got fitter, and usually it’s supposed to be the other way around when you come to uni but if it wasn’t for swimming I’d be a lot unhealthier at uni!”
We go on to chat about the Ella’s favourite memories with the swim team and she immediately identifies BUCS as being her favourite sporting memory. “The team support and moral at BUCS is just fantastic and everybody coming together to compete is such a good feeling. But my favourite social memory has got to be Sports Ball! It was such a fantastic night, seeing everybody get dressed up, not just swimming but all the sports teams, and the coaches, it was so much fun.” And I’m sure that’s something that everybody who attended last year’s sports ball would agree with!
Ella finishes by giving a little advice to any students who don’t currently participate in sport “I’d say just do it, it doesn’t matter what teams, whether you’ve tried a sport or not, just go along to a training session or a trials night and see what it’s all about because I think if it wasn’t for the swim team I wouldn’t be enjoying uni as much I am now and it gives you such a good group of friends!”.
From left: Coach – Matthew Eades, Swimmer – Kat Robbings, Ella Robinson, Coach – Jack Hepburn, glammed up at last year’s Sports Ball.
LOOKING FORWARDS TO BUCS
The Short Course BUCS Championships commences on Friday 11th November and will run over the weekend, with final results being announced on Sunday 13th November. LBU currently stand 12th in the 1st Division BUCS Points Position, with 940 points, closely behind Northumbria, so let’s see what the Swim Team can do. We wish all our LBU swimmers the best of luck in their run up to BUCS and hopefully we’ll have chance to chat with the Swim Team shortly afterwards. For more information on the upcoming events, visit the BUCS website at http://bucs.org.uk/homepage.asp
Written by Hannah Sharpe
Edited by Dan Wood