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