Following on from 2018’s exhilarating draw, Varsity 2019 did not disappoint. Once again, it was a close, well-fought match that came down to the last few relays.
First up, in the women’s 200m IM, freshers Ellie O’Keeffe and Eve Hull finished first and fourth respectively, with Ellie smashing her PB to comfortably win. The men’s 200m IM was a similar story with an unbelievable swim from fresher Theo Cannon smashing the uni record in a time of 2:04.73 to get the victory, and Alex Lezard just missing out on third place by an agonising 0.29s.
Next up was backstroke. In the women’s event, Anna Kirk and Clarra Starrsjo finished second and fourth with Anna Kirk missing out on the win by just 0.32s. In the men’s event a valiant swim by Segev Gonen Cohen saw him just pipped into third. Alex Lezard also swam.
200m freestyle was a good event for Cambridge, with a first and third finish through Katrin Heider and Meghan Mulhern in the women’s event. Once again, Cambridge just lost a close finish as Meghan was beaten to second place by 0.47s. Cambridge’s men had not dropped points in a freestyle events for the last 2 years, and this trend continued as captain Henry Choong and Marcin Chrapek bossed the Oxford swimmers to comfortably get the first light blue one-two of the day.
In the 100m butterfly, Ellie O’Keeffe and Amy Felgate finished second and third, and Hugo Bellamy and Theo Cannon finished first-third to gain more points over Oxford. Hugo in particular deserves credit here as he had been out injured for 4 months and started swimming again just days before Varsity. Heading into the first mini interval, Cambridge were winning by a small 2 points margin.
After some much needed rest in the 10 minute interval, the women got things underway again with 400m freestyle. It was a three-way battle between Meghan Mulhern and the Oxford swimmers all the way, with just 1.11s separating their finishing times. In the end, Meghan secured second place and Kate Lewis finished fourth. A cycling injury to lightning Cambridge fresher Jacques Bonsell hindered Cambridge’s men’s 400m attempts, as Oxford finally gained some freestyle points. Marcin Chrapek came first in another masterfully controlled race by him, and Joe Anderson came a close fourth after going out a bit too hard at the start.
100m breastoke next. Juliet Merelie and Charlotte Rowlands came second and third, and then Lewis Waters pulled out a huge swim to break announcer Dom Holloway’s university record with a time of 1:03.37. Sadly, Oxford had one of the best breaststrokers in the country so this was only enough for second place. Segev Gonen Cohen again performed well, but finished fourth in a stacked race.
The 100m freestyle finished off the individual racing. The women’s race dominated by Katrin Heider in 58.43 with women’s captain Georgia Crawford close behind in 3rd, also dipping under the 1 minute mark in a 59.84. The men’s race was the closest race of the afternoon, with men’s captain Henry Choong pulling out a huge swim to win by 0.01 over Oxford, in a university record style of 51.10. Teammate Finn Harman also gave a stellar perfomance to grab 3rd in a blistering 51.23.
With just the four relays to go, worth 7 points for a win and 3 points for coming second, Cambridge were winning by 2 points, and so needed to win two relays to clinch the overall win. The men’s and women’s medley teams both lost but not without valiant battle, including the first appearance of the anchor Georgios Nikolakoudis to bring home the men. Onto the freestyle relays with Cambridge now needing to win them both. In a super close race, the Cambridge women’s quartet just lost to Oxford’s team by 0.5 seconds. Oxford had won overall, but in the last eventthe men’s team of Henry Choong, Finn Harman, Theo Cannon and Marcin Chrapek dominated Oxford by over 6 seconds to take the win, and hand Cambridge the men’s overall win.
Overall, a really exciting day and one of the closest Varsities in recent memory. You can find the full results here: http://www.cocsc.org.uk/varsity2019.