Henry Hill jumps into the deep end with the UCL swimming team
Arriving at the Olympic park to watch swimming in the Aquatics Centre, I was full of excitement. My joy was slightly dampened when a UCL supporter nervously suggested we had a better chance of winning the water polo against KCL than the swimming. The idea of sitting through 23 races of defeat was not on my to do list. But this would turn out to be the only negative vibe I experienced, as two hours of athleticism, speedo’s and annihilation culminated in an overwhelming victory for the fantastic UCL swimming team.
I must admit my swimming knowledge is poor. Indeed my ability to swim a competent 50m is questionable and probably dangerous. I brought my friend Hannah along to help, though her opening observation that “if this was done on body lats KCL would win” almost prompted me to push her in the pool. That said, if you are reading this George Morland of Kings (highly probable), I might have found you a date. But don’t worry UCL you were beautiful too. And more importantly far quicker in the pool.
Lead by captain Ryan Millar, UCL swam to victory after victory. From the girls Tiffany and Stefania, Ellen and Ieva, and Jolene and Laura all formed solid partnerships, consistently delivering in every race. The 50m freestyle was particularly enjoyable, where after a frantic start Ellen narrowly pulled clear to register another win for UCL.
The boys were equally impressive. Hiro and Henry consistently performing across every discipline, no matter what the stroke. Indeed Hiro was vocal throughout, putting as much emphasis into his supporting as his swimming. Fergus and Christian got UCL roaring with a 1st and 2nd finish in the 100m backstroke, whilst Ryan and Matt didn’t let up either.
It wasn’t looking good for Kings, and the halftime score line reflected that too, UCL with a commanding 68-52 lead. Hannah meanwhile was preoccupied with the horrendous diving taking place in the neighbouring pool, which closely resembled a best bits montage from Total Wipeout.
After the break the punishment continued. The girls 4x50m freestyle team won by a length of 25m, and Fergus and Matt claimed another 1st and 2nd finish in the 50m backstroke. The wonderfully bearded Nils Vanweiser, who the crowd informed me was the ‘Belgian Barracuda,’ stepped up for the 100 fly. However I would say a Sea Bream was more of an accurate comparison, as he came in a casual 4th, but lets blame it on the beard. He should have shaved. Not to finish in a better position, but just because that beard will be stinking of chlorine for days now…
The days events came to an end with the 8x50m mixed freestyle, which would turn out to be the most exciting race. The lead was juggled between the two teams, until KCL pulled away in the final 20m, much to the elation of their fans.
But it didn’t matter, as we smashed Kings. The final score read 134-108 to UCL, and the Olympic Arena lit up with cheers from the UCL support, and the team had a celebratory dunk in the pool. Kings were left out to dry.
Josephine Park, the UCL Swim team president, was equally enthralled. The team had “come along way after the London League,” and was “in good standing for BUCS final,” emphasising the significance of the victory.
Kings on the other hand were evidently disappointed, though not as disappointed as Hannah was when we discovered George Morland wasn’t single. He looked slightly stunned when I asked him the question, but I put it down to professional journalism. Here at Pi Media we cover all angles.
An easy victory, in a fantastic venue, by an excellent team.
All image credits: Luke Blackett, Pi Photographer