Cross Channel Varsity Build Up

TOM ROOTSEY follows the Blues swimmers as they train for the upcoming cross channel varsity match.

Cambridge cross channel swim Oxford swimming Varsity


In the week of 11th – 17th July 2010, Cambridge and Oxford Universities will be rekindling old rivalries, as six members of each swimming team take part in a relay race across The Channel from England to France. In order to be prepared for the waves, the cold, the jellyfish, and the seasickness, the Cambridge team has been training hard.

Motivated by the need for revenge following defeat earlier in the year in the pool, training began as early as possible in Jesus Green Lido, where the temperature for the first session was a measly 11 degrees. Despite only swimming for around ½ an hour, the team had a multitude of dead extremities for well over an hour following the swim! In addition to training in Jesus Green Lido, the team went one step further on Wednesday with their first training swim in the Cam!

As they were heading towards the water, a fellow swimming team member not taking part in this event was heard to mutter “they’re bonkers!” This was a sentiment that seemed to be echoed by many, as the team entered the water and set off swimming upstream. When they returned, they actually seemed to be enjoying themselves despite the cold, murky, weed strewn water they had been swimming through.

“It is extremely important to get used to swimming in adverse conditions” said CUSWPC President, Tom Rootsey, “as The Channel is not going to be flat and clear like the pools we are used to swimming in.”

Channel Swim Captain, Andy Corley of Downing, said “It is very important to mentally prepare for the challenge, as even though we have strong swimmers, the cold water creates new problems physically and mentally, and training in cold water on days like today in the cam are critical to overcoming this.”

The levels of open water swimming experience in the team varies from none to “a little bit”, showing what an enormous challenge this is going to be for the whole team. The team are raising personal sponsorship for the RNLI, and are also looking for corporate sponsorship for the team. If you would be interested in supporting them in any way, please email [email protected].