This year it was the turn of Ponds Forge in Sheffield to host the BUCS Short Course Championship. Edinburgh University was successful, coming third overall while amassing a total of 16 medals including 3 gold medals, and breaking two BUCS records.
Covering two and half days and consisting of 6 sessions the meet is a test of both speed and endurance.
The swimming season is split into two parts, the long and short courses. Short course meets are conducted in 25-metre pools, allowing for faster racing.
With the Olympics on the horizon, many of the swimmers entered the meet in the middle of a hard training block. This did not dampen their spirits, however, and some exceptionally fast times were recorded.
The BUCS Short Course Championship started on Friday with the long distance 1500m and ended (to the sprinters’ delight) with the 4×50 free relay. Both the men’s and women’s relay teams qualified comfortably in the top 3 to set up what would be a highly competitive Saturday.
The team started the Saturday as they intended to finish it, with strong performances through out the morning. By the afternoon, Edinburgh had secured spots in all of the evening’s finals.
After an impressive 5th in the 200m Freestyle, Lucy Hope earned her first medal of the meet by claiming a bronze in the 50m Backstroke. Kieran McGuckin matched the performance with a bronze in the Men’s event; captain Kathryn Johnstone earned a silver in the 50m Breaststroke; Raquel Matos swam a strong 100m Butterfly, clocking in at 59.19 to come 2nd while teammate Evie Edwards qualified 7th. Dan Barraclough also came 7th in the Men’s event.
Hope continued her imperious form, earning a second bronze in the 50m freestyle. Olivia White and Johnstone came a close 2nd and 3rd in the 200m breaststroke. Captain Nick Quinn came 3rd in the men’s event. The day of racing was capped with double success in the relays. The ladies’ 4x50m Freestyle Relay earned the team’s first gold, winning in a time of 1:42.37. The men’s team settled for bronze.
The success of Saturday continued. Hope continued her excellent form, tying for 1st in the 100m Freestyle. McGuckin came from the middle of the pack to earn bronze.
Johnstone continued her domination in the breaststroke, breaking the BUCS record and winning an incredible 5th gold in the 100m which combined Short and Long Course Competitions. Emily Jones picked up silver for her efforts in the 200m Individual Medley while Matos earned another silver in the 50m Butterfly. Hope increased her medal haul to 4 with a bronze in the 100m Backstroke.
The highlight of the meet came at the end with the Women’s 4x50m Medley relay earning a gold as well as breaking a nine year old BUCS and Scottish record. Anchored by Jack Thorpe, the men earned a silver.
Coach Matt Trodden said, “The weekend saw another fantastic weekend for University of Edinburgh Swimming. With the team in the middle of heavy training toward Olympic Trials, to see our swimmers make such massive strides in fantastic. There are many highlights to mention but Kathryn definitely earns a special mention with an incredible 5th BUCS 100m Breaststroke title as well as helping the women crush a nine year old record. Second year Lucy also put in a stellar performance, earning one individual and two relay gold medals.”