Gah-Kai Leung jumps in at the deep end with his report on the swimming
UCL triumphed in the pool last Saturday at the inter-Varsity games against KCL, defending their swimming title for the second consecutive year by 143 points to 97. It was no easy task, though. With 28 events in the swimming lineup, including both mixed and single-sex contests, the squad gave it their all to clinch their trophy.
Men’s captain Hiro Harazawa, a third-year geography student, was understandably proud of his teammates’ performance. “Tonight has been a nice farewell for me as it is my last year as captain,” he said. “I am ecstatic and happy that we did not face a huge upset from KCL.”
Indeed, UCL’s loss in the first event – the 4 x 33m men’s relay – raised the spectre of a comeback performance from a King’s side eager for vengeance, especially after UCL had thrashed them in two previous London League meetings.
UCL quickly changed gear and began to dominate throughout the night, time after time taking first and third place in the individual events against KCL’s second and fourth place finishes. By half time, UCL had secured a 70-46 lead over their opponents: a staggering 24-point difference.
The squad never lost momentum though in the second half, finishing first in nearly every event.
Highlights included the 4 x 33m mixed underwater relay – arguably the most difficult part of the competition, with only three breaths allowed per swimmer – which UCL finished in fine style.
The climax, a 8 x 66m mixed squadron relay finale, started as an extremely close contest between the two sides, as King’s seemed determined to regain a foothold. UCL’s tactical advantage began to tell quickly, as it had done throughout the night, with team members placed in strategic positions in the relay. By the last length, the outcome was a foregone conclusion as the UCL swimmer found the pool’s end a good few seconds before his opponent.
Women’s captain, second-year Ellen Trayhurn, commended her team’s efforts, particularly given the freezing conditions in which they had been training. “We have had to put up with 3C temperatures at the Hackney Lido,” she said. “I’d like to say a massive well done to everyone and all the hard work has paid off.”
Social secretary Fergus Stewart echoed her sentiments and had a few kind words for the losers who had started the night so well. He said: “Fair play to them as three-quarters of that team are going on to play in the water polo afterwards, while we have two separate squads.”
UCL showed they have strength in depth in this tremendous team display. Now it was on to the water polo…
Featured image credit: UCL Varsity