Roses Unlocked 2021: Lancaster’s Swimmers are Definitely NOT Fish Out of Water

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Image courtesy of Tabitha Lambie

I think it goes without saying Roses this year isn’t how we’ve ever seen it before but that hasn’t stopped us; nothing can dampen our spirits – aha yes, I went there, a swimming pun in the very first sentence.

Now, I must admit I’m more for contact sports – rugby player by day, judo enthusiast by night – but I was so excited to be covering swimming this year. It’s not something I get much exposure to, so I was living for some pool-side action and boy did Lancaster deliver.

Not only did we have a PB set by Will Bowler in the 50m backstroke, but we saw some outstanding performances ranging across both competitive and development squads. Despite not having York in the pool, all of our swimmers were still fighting for gold, using each other to take their lengths to the next level. It was truly an outstanding effort and amazing to see a club so united.

Instead of going into great detail over every dolphin kick, which from where I was standing all looked pretty immaculate, I want to give you a greater insight into the club’s lead up to Roses. The swim team has been amongst those severely affected by the pandemic with most swimmers having not been in a pool since November.

After speaking with Head Coach, Stewart Horton, there were some clear concerns regarding biometrics – getting the swimmers back into the water. Despite the club president and captains diligently running land/cardio training during lockdown, this simply wasn’t a replacement for pool sessions. However, although Horton asserted there should be no increased risk of injury, he did suggest many of them may struggle from inefficiency in the water and difficulty finding that competitive mindset after a year without competition.

However, after speaking with Women’s Performance Captain, Grace Spong, and Men’s Swim Captain, Konstantinos Onoufrou AKA ‘Khaos’, finding that competitive mindset clearly hadn’t been an issue. According to Grace, there had been a real sense of determination from all swimmers as “everyone just wants to beat York”. Khaos commented on this further, expressing how the “swimmers were hungry to be back” and that over lockdown he had several swimmers asking for more drills to push themselves which in turn motivated him to put in that much more work ready for their return to the season. It’s safe to say that united determination wasn’t in vain with Lancaster pulling through for a Roses win, beating York by two points.

There is only one way to sign off this match report so, in the words of Grace Spong, “we don’t need pool time, we don’t need help to win because we have the red rose!”

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