Blues Washed Away In Varsity Swimming

SWIMMING: Oxford prove too strong for the Light Blues in the Varsity Swimming, TOMMY BAJOREK reports.

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Oxford produced one the of strongest all-round Varsity teams in the competition’s history on Saturday to win back the swimming title from the Light Blues.

The Cambridge team still produced some outstanding swims, their loss a testament to the increasingly high standard of the two teams.

Following the ban on full-body suits, the prospect of lean bodies and tight buttocks crammed into tiny Speedos attracted a large crowd to the Oxford University swimming pool/shed. The scene was set for some Best Pace swimming.

The Cambridge women got off to the best possible start, with captain Henny Dillon leading a one-two in the 200m Individual Medley. In the men’s race, Dale Waterhouse and Tom Rootsey did enough to come 2nd and 3rd to tie the points. Whilst the women would soon feel the Oxford girls’ relentless wrath, the tie in the men’s race would be an omen of things to come.

The women’s 100m Freestyle gets underway

A PB from Mike Garner-Jones did not prevent a disaster in the 100m backstroke as Oxford bagged 1st and 2nd in both races, displaying the skills that pay the bills both off the turns and underwater. It was a warning shot to Cambridge that they would have to pull off something special to keep their trophy.

Varsity veteran and last-year’s captain Andy Corley produced just that on the men’s 200m freestyle, simply swimming away from his competitors in the second 100m and coming agonizingly close to the Cambridge record. This geed-up the men who promptly went on to take the 100m butterfly as the sheer power of team captain Joel Carpenter over the first 50m threatened to shatter the tiling of the Rosenblatt pool.

In the ladies’ 400m freestyle, Cambridge and Arizona’s Katherine Pickard, flaunting her glorious loping stroke straight out of the American distance school, smoothly slid her way through her 400m.

As the women’s battle became increasingly hopeless, the men started to raise the temperature of the pool enough to jeopardize Health & Safety. Corley again showed utter contempt in dispatching the Oxford pair on his 400m freestyle, with Brad Dixon doing enough to grab a 3rd place behind the seemingly very popular Kouji Urata.

Reaching for the wall in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke

The men’s match was tied. Former Light Blue Dane Rook, despite his rapidly advancing years, rolled back time by taking the men’s 100m breaststroke but with the Cambridge pair doing enough to tie the points once again. This left the most thrilling race of the meet.

Last year’s saviour, Dale Waterhouse, went at it with OUSC’s President Tom Booth on the 100m freestyle. Two one-hundredths of a second separated the two at the finish, but the tin-pot time boards gave the race to the Oxonian despite it being clear to all around the pool that Waterhouse had nailed the touch. Upon an inquiry it turned out there wasn’t even a touch judge among the officials.

After this result, only divine intervention from the swimming Gods could save Cambridge’s trophy and the final relays provided an impressive demonstration of Oxford’s talent.

Perhaps the Cambridge sport syndicate should look at the quality of Varsity swimming in spite of the shameful lack of facilities and pull its finger out. Well done Oxford, though I’d only give your women’s team a 5.5.