Derbyshire Doubles Up On Day 1 Of 2019 BUCS


The 2019 British Universities & Colleges Sport Championships (BUCS) long course swimming competition  kicked-off at Ponds Forge on Friday, with the men’s and women’s distance events setting the tone for the 3-day meet.

Loughborough’s Emily Clarke got her team on the board first with a win in the women’s 800m freestyle race, taking gold in a mark of 8:57.83. The only other swimmer to delve under the 9:00 threshold was runner-up Amber Keegan of Sheffield, who notched a time of 8:59.62 this evening. Clarke finished 5th in the 2018 edition of this race, clocking a quicker time of 8:54.73 a year ago. For her part, Keegan holds a personal best of 8:47.90 from 2016.

The men’s race wasn’t nearly as close, as winner Tom Derbyshire beat the field by almost 11 seconds. Stopping the clock at 8:18.08, well off his career-fastest of 7:58.26, the 20-year-old Bath freestyle ace touched the wall and waited until teammate Matthew Wright swam his way to silver in 8:29.00. For Wright, that clinched a new personal best, clearing the 8:31.57 he threw down just last month at the Bedfordshire ASA meet.

Rounding out the top 3 in the men’s 800m free was Tim Shuttleworth, the 21-year-old Loughborough reigning 1500m freestyle British National Record holder in short course. Tonight, Shuttleworth produced a casual 8:37.35 for bronze, enough to medal, but well off his PB of 7:50.52 that represents the 8th fastest British time in history.

However, Shuttleworth has been quiet on the competitive scene due to injury, with tonight’s valiant effort marking his first race since spring of 2018.

Clarke was back in the water for the women’s 1500m free, remarkably just an hour later, where the Loughborough athlete snagged silver in 17:13.91, finishing just over a second behind winner Nicole Ryan. Ryan of Oxford Brookes topped the podium in 17:12.31.

Ryan’s personal best effort of 17:02.75 in the event from last year’s British Summer Championships ranks the 20-year-old within the top 50 British performers all-time, while Clarke’s PB rests at the 16:55.82 from Stockholm last year.

Along with Clarke, Derbyshire wasn’t done either, as the Bath maestro topped the men’s 1500m freestyle field in a mark of 15:33.72. That improved his runner-up result from last year’s meet, although in 2018 Derbyshire cranked out a much quicker 15:21.82.

In relay action, Loughborough took the mixed medley relay in 3:50.19 winning by just over 3 seconds ahead of the University of Stirling (3:53.44). Edinburgh rounded out the top 3 in 3:55.43.

Loughborough men also got the upper hand in the 400m freestyle relay, touching in 3:25.01 to runner-up University of Stirling’s time of 3:25.86.

The women’s 400m free relay saw Edinburgh snag gold in 3:50.73.

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What hellish madness is 800m then 1500m an hour apart.

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