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For those who are unfamiliar with the format of swimming at Roses and how points could be awarded to declare the winner: each team entered two competitors into each event with four points being awarded for coming first, three for finishing second, two for third and one for fourth, although relay events were worth double points. This meant that the maximum number of points which could be achieved by one team, in any one event, excluding relays, was seven.
At the end of the gala the university with the most points accumulated in the women’s events and the men’s, which were scored separately, would claim the points. Overall Lancaster men won by 72 points to 68 whilst the York women won with the same score. This was the close run gala which had been anticipated and which followed the trend of recent years. The number of events an individual could compete in were capped, as to stop the most gifted swimmers from winning every event; something which a good few of them would surely have been able to achieve.
York had expressed a great deal of confidence coming into the swimming, despite their men’s team being heavily beaten by Lancaster at BUCS, their contention being that they have a more in depth squad. Bill Timpany the York swimming captain, had stated in the build up to the gala that his team “would come out on top as usual” and this was something which Lancaster fought desperately to deny in the opening events. York women’s Butterfly leg in the opening medley relay could only be described as being a race winning swim and was worthy of note. This was followed by a consistently strong squad swim by Lancaster Men’s A’s who claimed first place.
Patterson, the Lancaster vice-captain, showed great spirit and determination in the first event of his final Roses and easily romped to victory in the 100m I.M. He will be missed by the club but there is strong hope for the future in the form of his replacement and VP elect: Bloor, who has taken to university swimming exceptionally. Most of note for this freshman, was his calculated and calm swim in the 200m freestyle. After having ensured that he maintained position throughout the first 150m of the race, his response to the York swimmer’s attempt to break away from him was to kick on himself, leaving members of the York team with their heads in their hands. It was not surprising to see both teams applauding him as he touched the pad to finish comfortably in the lead.
Overall, the gala was a tale of two genders. At each break, when the points were announced, Lancaster men’s were in front; whilst the women would be behind. There was fight in this Lancaster team and the women appeared to be clawing back points in clinching a 1-2 finish in the 100m breaststroke, Boardman finding that little something extra to reduce the several meter distance between herself and the York swimmer over the final 50, to snatch second place behind Cantwell on the touch.
This however, was too little too late and the four points for the women were out of reach, providing York could finish first in the final event, a relay worth double points. Lancaster’s women needed to finish first and second to win, or first and third to draw, whilst York needed to secure first place in order to take home the points. York men were in the same situation as the Lancaster women and in the end this was too much to ask of both teams.
Lancaster men’s A-team having dominated much of the gala, cruised to victory, as did York women’s A team and with that, the eight points available were shared between the two universities. For both genders it was a close run contest which came down to the wire. The pots and pans only added to the wall of noise, which was the Lancastrian support, creating an atmosphere on poolside fitting of the 50th Roses.