Lancaster’s swimming team reigned supreme as the Lancashire Cup returned for the first time in two years. The event, which is contested between the Universities of Cumbria and Central Lancashire, as well as Lancaster, took place for several hours in a crowded sports centre.
Lancaster made a storming start and maintained a comfortable lead throughout, finishing with an impressive haul of 196 points. UCLAN finished second with a tally of 128, while the newly established Cumbria team finished with 90.
The event came about when Lancaster swimming club, led by President Dan Boyd, decided to bring back the tournament. They organised the event with the other universities, with all three helping to put finding together, including the purchase of a new trophy.
Each team had swimmers compete in races, with fifty and one hundred metres competed in every stroke (including butterfly, freestyle, breastroke, backstroke and individual medley). There were also four team relay events (of which Lancaster won all) involving four swimmers for each team.
Lancaster provided some very impressive performances and times, demonstrating their experience. They have participated in national galas before and are members of the Amateur Swimming Association, while their success at last year’s Roses in York was not really acknowledged amidst the record defeat of the University as a whole.
In contrast, this event was the first that the Cumbria team has competed in. At the beginning of the day captain Becky Barker commented, ‘we’ll see how it goes’. We have some people taking part in up to five events, so it will be difficult.’ Although they did not upset the odds, the team showed potential, and will hopefully progress with future competitions.
UCLAN is also relatively new to the competition, and midway through the day captain Emily Birch declared herself pleasantly surprised at some of the team’s performances. She said that they had all had fun participating in the event, thanked the organisers and hoped that the Cup would return next year.
Victorious Lancaster Captain Emma Gage said ‘everyone has worked hard and pulled out all the stops for this event.’ Gage and vice captain Alistair Grubb gave their thanks to the sports centre, Athletics Union and the LUSU VP (Sports) Sue Wynes, who was in attendance.
As for the future, Boyd has high hopes for the swimming in the Roses later this year. ‘Last time around we won eleven out of twelve events, and came very close, so hopefully this time we’ll get the clean sweep.’
In the longer term, 2011 will see the opening of the new £20 million sports centre, which will be centred around the swimming facilities. The complex will contain an Olympic size pool with eight lanes, each of which will have touchpad sensors that will be able to record times and display them on a large scoreboard. As well as this the pool will boast a floating floor that will vary the depth of the water. All of this is reason for optimism, and events like the Lancashire Cup will hopefully become a regular event in the University’s sports calendar. Boyd said ‘the swimming team always wants events to participate in, and the University will want things to be happening in the new facilities.’
Let’s hope that this exciting new development will lead to a bright future for Lancaster’s swimming club.
The winners for Lancaster were:
Emma Gage: 100 metres Butterfly and the 100 metres Freestyle.
Susann Kern: 100 metres Backstroke and the 50 metres Backstroke.
Heather Clarke: 100 metres Breaststroke.
Sterling Austin: 100 metres Individual Medley and the 50 metres Backstroke.
Jinny Gunston: 50 metres Freestyle.
The people in the four successful relay events were:
Dan Korcz, Sterling Austin, Simon Rigby, Alasdair Grubb, Andy Barratclough, Emma Gage, Susann Kern, Jinny Gunston, Becky Turner, Claire Hockaday,
Heather Clarke and Ali Corkill.