Back over the Easter Weekend, 10 swimmers headed up to Sheffield for the day to race in BUCS Teams. This is where the teams swim head to head and the team with the most points at the end is crowned the winners.
Going into the competition in the Championship (Top) Division, the team were desperate to retain this placing and not face the dreaded relegation. They were up against some of the best teams in the country: Loughborough, Stirling, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Surrey, Leeds, Lancaster and Bristol, so were a bit nervous given many swimmers from these teams were coming straight from British Championships the week before and the closest a couple of our swimmers had been to water since Varsity was by having a shower.
Arriving quite promptly due to a lack of Easter traffic, the team loaded up on Spaghetti Bolognese before heading on a warm-up wander of Sheffield, finding the World Darts Championships and getting a selfie with the Chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation!
The competition started off with the Women’s 4×50 Medley Relay. Louisa Zolkiewski, Zoe Faure Beaulieu, Rusha Mondal and Nina Holguin started strong, finishing in 7th place. The boys followed suit with a strong 8th place: Jackson Spry, Max Underwood, Andrew Hong and Matty Johnson.
In the 100IM Rusha Mondal and Max Underwood both swam strong times. Sophie Lawrence tested out life as a sprinter and got a PB in the 100 Freestyle and Max Anderson Loake had a very close finish to touch in 7th as well.
Andrew Hong brough home a 4th Place in the 100 Butterfly, Nina Holguin also had a strong swim, finishing in 6th place
It was all extremely close between Oxford, Leeds, Lancaster and Bristol….
Louisa Zolkiewski and Jackson Spry took on the 100 back and scraped a few more point off Leeds and Bristol before Zoe Faure Beaulieu and Max Underwood did the same in the 100 breastroke.
Exhausted from the 100 freestyle, Sophie Lawrence and Max Anderson Loake were back in the water for double the distance… the 200 free. Back in their comfort zones of distance freestyle they both swam well with Max bringing home 6th place.
Next the 50 fly… Nina Holguin smashed the race in a time of 29.83, coming 5th and Andrew Hong 6th in 25.73.
Jackson and Louisa swam 50 backstroke, both bringing home 7th places. Louisa had the length of Zoe and Max’s 50 breasts to rest (which was not long as they were both very speedy), before she was back in again on the 50 free. This quick turnaround was no problem for her, as she smashed the 50 free in a time of 28.32. Matty Johnson also had a strong swim in a time of 24.60.
Then the freestyle relays. For the women: Sophie Lawrence, Louisa Zolkiewski, Rusha Mondal and Nina Holguin. All the women were exhausted and the team goal was to hold sub 30s! The women seriously underestimated their abilities as sprinters and their stamina as is goal was absolutely smashed, with the 4×50 relay coming home in a time of 1:54.20.
The men followed suit, hitting a strong time of 1:40.05.
Oxford absolutely smashed the gala, finishing in an accomplished 7th place with 109 points. Well done to all the swimmers for rounding up the Oxford pool season on such a high. This was the last competition of Sophie and Max’s captaincy…. Bring on the 2022-23 season and captains Ellie Browne and Andrew Hong!
This content was originally published here.