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Seconds Swimming Varsity 2022

26th February 2022 at Rosenblatt Pool, Oxford
Cambridge 73 Oxford 107
Mens: Cambridge 42, Mens Oxford 48
Womens: Cambridge 31, Womens Oxford 59

Seconds Team

Varsity this year was hosted by Oxford at their Rosenblatt pool, which meant an early start for the Seconds. The Seconds have had a particularly dynamic squad this year, with tough training times, some of the swimmers found it difficult to work around academic commitments and other sporting commitments, as well as some notable losses due to injury. With Renat Samur stepping up from the development squad, Raphael and Tads dropping down from the Blues to help fill the men’s squad, we managed to pull together a full squad! At 5:30 we departed for Oxford. After a quick parade, and an intense warm up, we could feel Oxford eyeing us up from across the pool.

The morning’s proceedings kicked off with the 100 IM, with the gent’s squad unsure what to expect; cheers erupted on poolside when Ed Roberts snatched first place by a second and a half from the first of the Oxford swimmers with a personal best time of 1:05.29. Ben Roberts secured 3rd place closely behind with a fantastic performance.

Next up was the 50 backstroke, where Grace Riley put on a fantastic performance to take 3rd place less than a second behind 2nd, with a 35.39, and Julia Dabrowska posted a personal best of 40.98. Tads put in an equally strong performance for the gents, securing 3rd with a 29.66.

This was followed by the 100 free. Evie Anema secured 2nd place with a blistering 1:04.4. Despite this performance some say the pool was still too warm for her taste. Raphael’s 58.02 marked 3rd for the gents, and Nathan Williams was closely behind with a personal best of 58.29.

The 50 Fly followed, where Anna Stevens secured 3rd place with 32.62, and late squad addition Abbie Lewis put in an incredible performance, swimming 35.31 despite only being with the squad for a few weeks prior to Varsity. The gents 50 fly proved equally stimulating when underdog Harry Weston brought it home, securing 1st place for the light blues with a rapid 26.67. Some say the warmup was his 4th training session of the year.

Into the break, Oxford led with a 20 point lead, but the squad was undeterred, with adrenaline running higher than ever as the second half kicked off with the 200 free. Another strong performance from distance swimmer Evie Anema tagged third place for the light blues with a time of 2:18.38, just 3 seconds off first place in what was a tense race right down to the final flags. The gents 200 free proved equally fruitful with Tads bringing home the full 4 points with first place, pipping oxford swimmer by 2 seconds to the pads.

50 breastroke was a loud one, with much anticipation from poolside regarding Ed Roberts’ performance. Some say he’s our very own Peaty. After a tense first length, Ed bolstered his lead and the scoreboard confirmed the win for Cambridge with a 32.32, pipping his Oxford rival by 0.3 seconds, and bagging his second personal best of the day.

Finally for the individual events was the 50 free. Despite difficulties making it to sessions due to various far-flung placements, the squad knew that Anna Stevens was fast on paper and quicker still in the water. Placements didn’t stop her from taking the lead in the first length, and after managing to fend off the Oxford swimmers she took home another victory for the light blues with the time of 29.71, a full 0.4 ahead of oxford. Despite this lead though, all swimmers finished within a second of each other, with Grace Riley narrowly missing out on 3rd by just 0.1 of a second, but still posting a personal best of 30.84.
For the gents, again a close race ensued, with just 1.2 seconds between first and last place. Wild card Harry Weston took to the blocks, and managed to convert all his erg training into a mighty performance for Cambridge, securing the win with a phenomenal 25.33. Ben Roberts put in an equally strong performance posting an impressive 26.55.

Oxford had a 26 point lead into the relays, and whilst the hopes of a win for the light blue seconds at Rosenblatt seemed only a distant dream, the squad was determined not to go down without a fight, and a loud one at that.

First up was the medley, with both the gents and the women conceding to Oxford, with the gents’ race being particularly close, with the light blues being just 1.5 seconds behind, owing to Oxford impressive backstroke performance.

Finally, all eyes fixed on the calm waters for the freestyle relay. After a close race the women were just 5 seconds behind, and whilst not beating Oxford, it represented a strong performance from the women that they should be proud of.
The final relay, the gents 50 freestyle relay proved to be one of the most intense races of the Seconds Varsity, and perhaps the closest I have ever seen. Despite strong performances from Tads and our dev squad swimmer Renat, Oxford put in a strong performance, and led by 3 metres into the final 100. Ben Roberts, our third swimmer, was faced with the daunting task of reeling Oxford in. Unbelievably the fresher from Fitz was able to take the wind from Oxford’s metaphorical sails, completely closing the gap, and leaving both shades of blue neck and neck going into the final leg. Stepping up to the challenge for Cambridge was top trainer Harry Weston. The tension on poolside was tangible. After hitting the water for the 6th time this year, in perfect synchrony with the oxford swimmer, Mr Weston surfaced a metre ahead of the Oxford rival. No doubt spurred on by the screams and chaos that were unfolding on poolside, he managed to fend our rivals off to the flags, and the team secured a win in the last event beating oxford by a full second and a half, with a time of 1:42.11, ending our fierce battle on a high.

Despite not quite being able to clinch the win from oxford, the squad should be very proud of themselves, the determination they showed right up until the last race, and phenomenal team spirit that was present throughout the whole event was truly fantastic. Despite difficulties making training times, a big congratulations should go out to the women’s squad who’s commitment to training regularly translated to some excellent personal bests.

On behalf of the team, I’d like to extend a massive Thankyou to Oxford for hosting us this Varsity, to Felix Gallagher for organising this fantastic weekend, to the Oxford Captains Lucy Greenwood, and Joel fernandez, and finally to our Coach, Chris Greenhalgh, and all our friends and family who have helped us along the way! I wish both squads the best of luck for any future competitions they may have, both in swimming and the squad’s many other sporting disciplines.

We look forward to duelling again next year, a little closer to home, in more familiar waters.

With warm regards,

Alex Vayro and Cameron Lackey
Second Swimming Captains

127th Blues Swimming Varsity 2022

26th February 2022 at Rosenblatt Pool, Oxford
Cambridge 77 Oxford 103
Mens: Cambridge 40, Mens Oxford 50
Womens: Cambridge 37, Womens Oxford 53

Blues Varsity Team 2022

Varsity was back to its roots this year. Hosted at the Rosenblatt pool, Varsity started early for the Blues team as we all travelled up at … 5.30am, which led to a lot of people having a cheeky nap on the coach. Despite the sleepy start, the team was in great spirits as we cheered on the Seconds to a fantastic performance. Then, at 11am, it was time for the Blues to parade and perform.

Swimmer taking a nap

After a confusing last few years, the team was back and ready to hit the ground running. The team has put in an incredible amount of work this season and despite only having 5 sessions a week, having an almost record breaking number of injuries: from sprains, to torn muscles, to broken feet, we were looking strong and feeling excited for the battle we were preparing for. With the camp training under our belt, coached by the one and only El Captain, Coach Collins, only a month prior to Varsity, confidence was high and the team had an incredible atmosphere.

Carmen, Alfie and Ellie

Our very own Captain, Ellie O’Keeffe, and Justine Rannou, a first time Varsity swimmer, led us off to a flying start, with Ellie breaking a 12 year old club record in the 200 IM going an incredible time of 2:22.15 and Justine coming shortly behind.
The guys were already jealous of the strong female performance. So, the dynamic duo of Theo and Leo (Cannon and Karski) stepped up to the blocks for their 200 IM. They took matters into their own hands, with Theo breaking his own club record in a spectacular time of 2:01.05, and Leo following hot on Oxford’s heels for another 2nd/4th finish.

After this incredible start, the 100 Backstroke was up next. Second year’s Sophie O’Keeffe and Clemmie Butler Brown performed fantastically, with both swimmers getting best times and Sophie smashing the blues time, smashing the O*ford swimmers by over 2 seconds and winning our first race of the meet. In a close finish, Clemmie was unfortunately touched out by her competitor, but put in a brilliant race.
In an even closer finish, the guys race led to all swimmers finishing within 0.5 seconds of each other and an exhilarating race. Fresher Yann Divet and CUSWPC Veteran Kaz Uzwyshyn-Jones smashed out two blues times with Kaz achieving his first ever in his final year of racing.

200 Free was up next, with Jasmine Gray and Yoshi Eschen stepping up and both achieving personal bests.
CUSWPC legend Jacques Bonsell dove in next with fresher Tom Woolley. A solid 2nd/3rd performance from the boys with two fantastic swims and Tom achieved his first 200 Free PB in 4 years!

Men's 100m Fly

Ellie was back up again for the 100 Fly, along with fresher Megan Kemp. Both swam fantastically with Ellie getting a close second and Meg getting a brilliant personal best time.
Up next Hugo Bellamy and Alex Song swam a strong 100 Fly. Hugo managed to equal his previous record and Song came in strong just behind.
Our very own president, Carmen Lim, stepped for a 50 Free. Not only did she hit a strong personal best, she also went the fastest S8 50 Free in Asia for this season!

After a short break, it was time for some distance. Yoshi was up once again but this time with Fresher/OAP Georgina Quayle to race the 400 Free. Despite both girls being more used to choppier waters, they swam incredibly well, with Yoshi getting a blue and personal best and Georgina swimming her heart out for a personal best as well.
After the girls was one of the most exciting 400 Free races I have witnessed in a long time. Jacques was on the blocks again, accompanied by Fresher and BNOC Flynn Ryan. The front pack came in to all finish within about of a second of each other with Jacques being touched out by O*ford’s Max Loake. Flynn finished in an incredible personal best of 11 seconds!

Next up was the 100 Breast, with Lili Csada and Sara Mahmmud both performing in their first Varsitys. They gave their all, finishing some great races but couldn’t quite reach the O*ford girls.
The guys 100 Breast was a tough battle. Giorgos Papageorgiou smashing a big personal best, getting his blues time and beating the O*ford team captain. While Maxim de Wildt managed to hold onto the ex-Olympic gold medalist from O*ford … for 25 metres, before finishing 0.3 behind the next O*ford swimmer. The boys came out with a strong 2nd/4th finish.

Men's 100m Breast

Then we came to the final individual race, the 100 Free. For the women’s race, Sophie O’Keeffe was back up again with 6 year CUSWPC veteran Charlotte Rowlands, who was performing with a broken foot! Sophie came in 2nd with an awesome personal best and blues time, with Charlotte close behind and only 0.4 off her personal best.
The boys then stepped up. Theo the Cannon Cannon was back again to smash another personal best, beating his own record and became the first CUSWPC swimmer to ever go under 50 seconds for 100 Free! Following close behind was Jonnie James, who claimed a personal best and his first ever blues time in his first full season in the Blues team.

Women's 100m Free

Men's 100m Free

Second break over, and it was time for the relays, and as always, these supplied some incredible swimming and amazing races.
For the Women’s 4×100 medley relay we had Clemmie Butler Brown on the Back, Alex Vayro on the Breast, Megan Kemp on the Fly and Ellie Mason on the Free. The girls performed fantastically and hit great times.
For the Men’s 4×100 medley relay we had Alex Goodacre, resident Geriatric, on the Backstroke, Samrahn Sandhu on the Breast, Kashif Carter on the Fly, and finally Ben Carter on the Free.

Ellie and Jasmine

Finally, my personal highlight from the competition, the 4×100 Free Relays. Both teams beat Oxford and broke club records and did the team proud.
The girls were led off by Jasmine Gray, followed shortly by Ellie O’Keeffe, then Charlotte Rowlands and then brought home by Sophie O’Keeffe in an incredible final time of 4:01.03.
For the guys, The Cannon led us off, followed by a strong Hugo Bellamy, then Jacques Bonsell whipped out a swim, anchorman Tom Woolley smashed out the back end to bring home in a final time of 3:24.85.

Overall the team managed to achieve a record breaking 18 individual blues times, 6 club records. Despite this incredible performance from the whole team, it was sadly just not enough this year. For a team with only 5 sessions a week and a lack of our own pool, we surpassed even our own expectations.

We would like to say a massive thank you to Oxford for so graciously hosting us this Varsity, to Felix Gallagher for organising this fantastic weekend, to the Oxford Captains Sophie Lawrence and Max Underwood, and finally to our incredible Coach, Chris Greenhalgh, and all our friends and family who have helped us along the way!

Hope to see you all next when we face off against the dreaded O*ford, but this time on home turf.

As always, lots of love,

Ellie O’Keeffe and Alfie Collins xx
Blue Swimming Captains

CUSWPC 24-Hour Swimathon

CUSWPC are running a 24h Swimathon to raise money for Ukraine. We will each be swimming in 30 min slots from 5pm on Monday 14th of March to 5pm on Tuesday 15th of March. We are raising money for the Red Cross effort in Ukraine and would really appreciate any support you can show, even if it just sharing the cause with friends and family. If you are able to donate, our just giving page is linked in our bio. Thank you in advance.


Swimming Training Camp 2022


On the 3rd of January, 18 of CUSWPC’s finest swimmers embarked on the Lanzarote Training Camp 2022 for a 7 day and 13 session week of pure grind and torture. Unfortunately, due to COVID reasons, female captain Ellie O’Keeffe, Social Secretary Sophie O’Keeffe, and resident OAP Alex Goodacre had to miss out on the camp.


Upon arriving at the Airport, we found out the week had already started to test us with a flight delay. But with our Vice-Captain, Maxim De Wildt’s incredible bartering skills, and the fact it was Jet2’s company policy, we were compensated with a £10 duty-free voucher and a free drink on the plane. From here on in though, it was plain sailing. We arrived at the hotel, checked in and got to the pool in plenty of time for our TJ’s (Team Juniors), Megan Kemp and Yann Divet, to find out that they would be leading the land warmups for the week, much to their excitement. This is also when the team found out that the male captain, Alfie Collins, would be their coach for the week due to injury, again much to their excitement.


Over the week the team completed 55km of swimming and smashed 3 massive gym sessions. This year, we had a double focus. Not only were we aiming to substantially improve fitness approaching Varsity, we had the additional aim of maintaining technique through the hardest parts of the sets. This tested the mental and physical strength of the whole team, with every single one of the proving why they are part of the top university squad. The gym sessions proved to be a big hit as well, with freshers and veterans alike improving a vast amount over the week. Seeing the older, more experienced swimmers help and teach the less gym savvy swimmers was fantastic to witness and really developed the team bond. Charlotte Rowlands showed the girls how gym isn’t just for getting mega massive but is such an important aspect of the sport for everyone.


Alongside the tough training schedule, we enjoyed many games night, a great day out at the beach and multiple team challenges with O*ford, who happened to be there at the same time as us.


Finally, on the last day of camp, we held a little camp awards night to celebrate the achievements over the week. Big congratulations to Yann Divet for receiving Male Swimmer of the camp, to Megan Kemp for receiving Female Swimmer of the camp, and to Leo Karski for receiving Swimmer’s Swimmer.

Both captains are incredibly proud of all the athletes on the camp, in their training, the way they conducted themselves over the week and in the amazing team spirit that was shown, be that at 6:30 in the morning before 30*100s best average or when helping each other improve technique.


We would like to thank Chris and City of Cambridge Swim Club for providing us with the sessions and thank Sports Abroad for the amazing support they gave us in organising a camp with all the difficulties there are currently.

Onto Varsity! #GDBO

Swimming Varsity 2021

Swimming Varsity Pic

Virtual varsity

Cambridge: 26th June 2021 at Parkside Pool, Cambridge.

Oxford 24th June 2021 at Rosenblatt Pool, Oxford.

Cambridge 106 Oxford 74

Mens Cambridge 48 Mens Oxford 42

Womens Cambridge 58 Womens Oxford 32

This year, due to the restrictions of COVID, Varsity was held in a rather uncharacteristic way. The competition therefore took place with both teams swimming in their respective pools at a time booked by them. The results of each competition were withheld until after both had been completed and then revealed on the 27th of June. Unfortunately, Oxford’s session clashed with the open water varsity and so they lost some swimmers to that event. Both teams also had members isolating from contact tracing. However, both teams had an amazing turnout and lots of swimmers stepping up at short notice. The Cambridge team still swam amazingly, showing times that were much faster than expected with the significantly reduced amount of training available this year. An amazing 16 blues times were achieved in 13 out of 14 of the individual events by an incredible number of athletes, 10 in total. In addition to the blues times, 2 new university records were broken. These included Hugo Bellamy of Pembroke college breaking the men’s 100 fly record from 2012 in a superb time of 55.85 seconds, and the woman’s 4*100 medley relay team, including Ellie O’Keeffe on the butterfly, Sophie O’Keeffe on the backstroke, Alix Knagg on the breastroke and Juliet Merelie on the freestyle. They managed an amazing time of 4.27.84 which had been standing since 2001!

Lots of love,

Ellie and Alfie xx

Blues Swim Captains

Water Polo Update 2020/21

WP Update pic

Despite the severe restrictions imposed on the sport by the pandemic, the 2020/21 season for Cambridge University Water Polo was not completely written off. In Michaelmas 2020, both the men’s and women’s side trained regularly, with swimming sets at Abbey pool and weekly training at Northampton School for Boys for the men’s side, while the ladies’ side focused on development sessions for many people who had not played the sport before. The advent of lockdown towards the end of Michaelmas, and the remote nature of Lent term for many, changed the club’s activities towards online circuits, some sessions being joint between the squads, and paired training for those in Cambridge, helping to keep spirits up and ensure everyone remained active during a difficult term. Returning to Cambridge for the Easter term moved the circuits sessions to Jesus Green, as well as allowed players to return to the pool for regular group swims. Easter term culminated in a couple of friendly matches for the men’s team, pitting an out of practise 13 players against regularly training teams from Nottingham and Loughborough. These matches, while challenging, provided an excellent opportunity to see some of the 2020 intake in action, in the first match time all year. College league, following the conclusion of exams, also gave a lot of the ladies’ side intake their first experience of water polo matches.

For the 2021/22 season, both teams have hit the ground running, with a return to regular BUCS matches and full training. The training venue has moved to Abbey Pool this year, involving the purchase of some new goals, and both the men’s and ladies’ side have 3 hours in the water each week there. The move to Abbey allows for an increased training capacity, meaning that the recruitment this year (with lots of students across the university looking to try new sports) has brought the ladies’ team up to 23 members, and the men’s team to 33. The even volume of training for all members has meant that we’ve seen great improvement this term across the board.

With respect to BUCS matches this term, the ladies team have played 5, winning 2 of them (including their first match against Birmingham, winning by 1 goal) and losing 3. Both men’s sides are still chasing their first wins of term, with the firsts having played six close matches, losing three of them by 2 goals or less, and the seconds having played two this term. Both sides have also had hugely beneficial training matches against KCL and City of Cambridge.

Despite the tough term of matches for the men’s side, this year’s intake has seen a large range of playing abilities join the side, with our solid defence during matches meaning that they are all low scoring, tense events. For both teams, the score line of matches has seemed unrepresentative of the exhausting battles we’re seeing in the pool, with both Cambridge and opposition teams giving it their all.

In January, we look forward to the return of the annual training camp, where the club will revisit Malta before the start of Lent term. The strong attendance from both sides on tour means that Lent term is looking very promising, where varsity and the second half of BUCS matches will benefit from the fitness gains made in Malta.

Andrew te Water Naude and Anna Leeson, 2021/22 Captains



University Swimming Pool Update

The aspiration to build a swimming pool on the West Cambridge site for University staff, students and community use remains a key ambition for the Sports Service. It also remains firmly within the City and South Cambridgeshire sports facilities strategy, with West Cambridge being identified as the preferred location to serve the west and north of the city.

The Perse School is advancing its plans to build a 25 metre 6 lane pool on its Hills Road site in the south of the city and a West Cambridge site development would complement this. The rate of growth of the city and surrounding areas means current infrastructure such as sports facilities, and water space in particular, is insufficient.

Pool Pic

The long-awaited confirmation of planning approval for the West Cambridge site masterplan that was announced recently has added some impetus to looking at the remaining phases planned for the original Sports Centre that has now been open for 8 years.

There are a number of significant conditions to be satisfied within the planning approval such as finalising transport, energy and other infrastructure requirements. In addition to meeting the needs of students’ clubs, we believe that provision of better sport, health and wellbeing facilities, will be recognised as an important factor in making West Cambridge a desirable place to work and important in attracting commercial research companies to invest in the site.

Our aim for 2022 is to put a business case, plans and design options for indoor and Padel tennis, additional indoor multi-purpose sport space and a 25 metre eight lane pool into the University’s internal planning process.

There will be challenges around capital costs, sustainability, parking and transport to overcome and, of these facilities, the pool is the most challenging to deliver in economic terms. However, good pool-time programming that meets a range of needs from children’s swimming lessons to swimming for health, wellbeing and competition (including related activity such as water polo) can be managed to deliver a well-used facility within an efficient pool design.

BUCS Swimming 2021

Swimming Current Picture

On the weekend of the 19th November, the Blues swim team and a few seconds made the road trip of a lifetime up to Sheffield to compete in the annual BUCS Speedo Championships, the biggest competition of the British university calendar. For this early in the season, we weren’t expecting any huge times or swims, but how wrong we were. We took 7 cars to get the whole team up to Sheffield over the course of Friday, making sure those swimming that evening were up in plenty of time to prep. The trip was off to a strong start when the people’s publicity officer, Raphael McMahon, made one post and then forgot what his role was and ended up belting out J Biebs for the whole journey. While this delightful choral effort was occurring, our very own open water captain, Yoshi Eschen, proceeded to smash out a 1500m in a Blues record time and a new PB. Over the course of the weekend a total of 36 personal bests, 18 blues times and 4 university records were achieved. Theo Cannon came second in the B Final of the 50 Fly in a time of 24.56 and our Captain oh Captain, Ellie O’Keeffe smashed out a 1.02.74 in the 100 Fly, both qualifying for Nationals! Alongside this Hugo Bellamy also qualified for Nationals on the 100 Fly and Thomas Woolley qualified on the 100 Free! Overall a massive success for the team and we are so proud of all of them. Also big thank you to Chris for coming along to coach us at BUCS for the first time in CUSWPC history, it was great having him around and had a big impact.

Lots of Love,

Ellie and Alfie xx

Blues Swim Captains

CUSWPC Telephone Campaign 2021

Telephone Campaign Pic

It has been a great pleasure to reconnect with so many former members and friends of the club throughout our recent telephone campaign. From fond memories of the Varsity games being hosted at Crystal Palace back in the 1980s to stories of food fights at the Taddies Dinner in the University Arms, it was truly heart-warming to hear so many people speak so favourably about their time with CUSWPC.

One theme that ran universal throughout all of our conversations was the key role that CUSWPC has played in building lasting friendships. Whether it was helping to deal with homesickness, escaping from the pressures of Cambridge or using it as an opportunity to meet others outside of your college/ course, CUSWPC (and the Tadpoles) has remained a constant source of social joy for its members throughout the years.

A particular highlight of this experience for me was hearing about the time the Tadpoles apprehended a diamond thief in Antwerp back in the early 1990s. A strong demonstration of the courage, determination and slightly overconfident spirit that is still very much prevalent in the club today. This was truly a good deed to make up for the mischievous behaviour I have been informed about from their trip to Paris in the preceding years (a story fit to be told after a few drinks at Varsity Dinner rather than on our website I am afraid).

I would personally like to thank again everyone that contributed and gave up their time to talk to us. From all of us at CUSWPC we are very much looking forward to welcoming you back to Cambridge soon and are keen to carry on the legacy that you have left behind.

Thomas Adams

Tadpoles President, Alumni Officer and Men’s Water Polo Social Secretary