As originally published in the Lent 2022 Ospreys Newsletter.
Many often refer to the ‘Cambridge bubble’, the sense that when in Cambridge, the outside world appears to dissipate, and you are at once transported into this 8-week period of academic seclusion. Whilst this distance can be welcomed, when crises such as the ongoing war in Ukraine, emerge, it is necessary to bridge the gap between where we find ourselves in Cambridge and global realities. This was the point of CUSWPC’s 24-hour Swimathon. Thirty-three water polo players took it upon themselves to swim in 30-minute slots around the clock from 5pm on Monday 14th March until 5pm on Tuesday 15th , with the aim being to raise as much money as possible for the British Red Cross Charity as part of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). Our challenge, to which we succeeded, was to swim the distance between Parkside Leisure Centre (where we train) and the Ukrainian Embassy in London; measured as 80.6km.
It was a pleasure to connect with many individuals who are as fond as CUSWPC as we are. Receiving an email from Penny Woods, the pioneer of women’s water polo at Cambridge, was a personal highlight of mine. Watching the comments from donators come through on the JustGiving page was also particularly endearing and shows the extent to which CUSWPC is more than just a club, but a family.
The war in Ukraine is a terrifying and heart-breaking situation, something that personally affects many CUSWPC members. It is for this reason that we participated in the Swimathon; to show solidarity with our friends, for CUSWPC is a team not just in the water, but out. Whilst we all love to win, in times of crisis, it is not the number of goals that matter but the ability to unite and champion justice that is what counts. We raised a total of £7,319 for Ukraine and I have never been prouder of my fellow teammates.
Anna Leeson (Women’s Water Polo Captain 2021-2022)