In the York Sport Village on Heslington Campus, slightly off of the main York campus, a packed crowd was in full voice to watch the Lancaster Swimming team line up to take on York in men’s and women’s action. A series of short 50m, 100m, and 200m races followed, mixing up the style to keep the crowd entertained.
The atmosphere was great as we anticipated the first race, with Lancaster providing great support for their representatives. The crowd were ready. The commentator was ready. In lanes three and five, Lancaster were ready. The first races of the day were the relay medleys, with York winning in both the men’s and the women’s; however, Lancaster claimed valiant second place finishes in both races which could prove valuable in the overall scoring. Next up came the individual medleys, and York were again victorious in both the men’s and women’s event. We were four races in and Lancaster had not registered first place in any of them, and it was time for the first break of the afternoon before we returned with some singles action.
Lancaster made a flying start to singles action during the 100m freestyle, with Alice Lilley storming to victory for Lancaster Women’s. The opening first place finish for Lancaster was soon followed up by Elliot Bloor, racing to victory in the men’s equivalent. Lancaster were off the mark.
This Lancaster momentum was soon foiled when York took first and second in the women’s 100m butterfly event, but Elliot Bloor restored the tempo by edging to victory during his neck and neck encounter in the men’s 100 butterfly. Next up were events nine and 10, the 100m backstroke, and York claimed first spot in both of these.
We had two events to go, with the breaststroke up next. Lancaster stormed to first and second in the women’s heat, with Eleanor Cantwell and Susannah Yielding the successful swimmers. The men, however, were unsuccessful in their attempt to replicate the women’s success.
Lancaster had claimed a few second and third place finishes during these 12 events, and the scores stood at 39 – 31 to York in the women’s and 36 – 32 to York in the mens. Lancaster were far from out of it as the next set of events, the altered lengths of 200metre and 50 metre races, were about to begin.
First up we had the 200m freestyle, with the exact same finishing spots in both men’s and women’s, York first and Lancaster in second and third. We then moved on to the same order of events as before, only this time the length was only 50metres, so the races were going to be tighter. That meant we were in for the butterfly first, with York taking the first spot again. The encouraging sign for Lancaster is that they were not losing second place in the races where York were victorious; they were consistently claiming valiant second and third spots.
Elliot Bloor flew to victory in the men’s 50m butterfly for Lancaster, but in the backstroke York claimed first and second in both heats. Just four races remained until a third and final break before the big ones, the 4 x 50 m freestyle relays. In the woman’s 50 metre breaststroke, Eleanor Cantwell again had the best stroke as she won her individual race again. In the men’s counterpart, York claimed first and second, before two extremely close races between all four swimmers. In the women’s 50m freestyle, the swimmers were separated by just 0.4 seconds, and lady luck was unfortunately shining on York as they were successful in first. In the men’s, another close one as just 0.8 seconds separated the swimmers, once again York claiming the luck with victory by just 0.1 of a second.
A break followed to the dismay of the crowd, and the commentator was quick to announce the scores: York were in a strong position to go on to win as the scores stood at 66-54 in the women’s and 62-53 in the men’s. The Lancaster crowd were really behind the team as we went into the last events.
First was the woman’s four by 50m freestyle relay, which, despite valiant efforts, York claimed first spot, and with that the Lancaster women were defeated 78-62.
It was still to play for in the men’s, and you could tell as the race was went down to the wire, and Lancaster missed out on the first spot by just 0.5 seconds. Desperately unlucky as York went on to win 77-61.
Lancaster were devastatingly unlucky as York claimed the win in the pool, but they will truly fancy their chances for next year.