Toon impress in debut dual meet

Flying start: Jordan McDonald finished in second in the 100m fly. Image: Lucy Nehring

It’s a rare occasion that the Newcastle University Swim team face off against one of their biggest rivals, Northumbria, but last Wednesday saw the two teams compete in a dual meet.

With 15 of our finest swimmers, we crossed onto enemy turf, and started warming up at Sports Central. At a usual meet, one would see multiple heats of the same event, but on this occasion, it was one heat per event, meaning our non-BUCS swimmers had one shot to show Northumbria what they’re made of.

“Second years Simon McCormick and Sam Herford got the indiciudal events to a great start for Newcastle, grabbing first and second in the 100IM respectively”

The first event saw the men and women’s 200-medley relays, with both Newcastle and Northumbria putting forward two teams. The medley relay consists of four swimmers, each swimming two lengths of one of the four different strokes, beginning with backstroke, then breaststroke, butterfly and finishing with freestyle. Both our A and B squads for the men’s and women’s events performed incredibly, with second place finishes for both.

After the first sets of relays were over, the meet continued with the individual races. Each event had three Newcastle and three Northumbria swimmers competing for the glorious feeling of reaching the wall first. Nothing can beat the feeling of stretching that last inch for the pad, turning and realising you’ve managed to take a close and hard fought win, a moment claimed by many Newcastle swimmers.

Second years Simon McCormick and Sam Herford got the individual events off to a great start for Newcastle, grabbing first and second in the 100IM respectively. This is one of the tougher events, where competitors swim 25 meters of each stroke (similar to in the Medley Relay).

“Captain Emily Shones, who usually dominates the pool with her backstroke, raced the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke”

Captain Ben Purcell raced to victory in both the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke, demonstrating the power this second year Chemistry student can bring to the pool. Fresher Jordan McDonald fought hard in his incredibly close 100m fly event, managing to push through to claim second, an impressive feat against some extremely quick Northumbrians, many of whom are BUCS finalists. Having recently competed at short-course BUCS, it is impressive to see these exemplary swimmers maintaining their drive to race and performing so well again.

The meet was also an opportunity for Newcastle swimmers to practice racing a stroke that they wouldn’t usually compete with. Captain Emily Shone, who usually dominates the pool with her backstroke, raced the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke, showing her power across strokes. Cat Fraser and Steph Strange also showed impressive skill in their 50 butterflies, having never raced the event before.

Last Wednesday we exhibited a strong team, that will only continue to thrive in the new year, where we hope to compete again, with a chance of including more squads from around the North East.

The meet saw impressive times being swum by our all our members, along with some victories under our belt. It was an extremely successful meet, and we are determined to challenge Northumbria again soon.

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