It may not be the slickest rendition of the K-Pop sensation ‘Gangam Style,’ but the swimmers from Team Durham, of the British University of Durham, brought some levity to Ponds Forge this weekend at the BUCS Championship meet. This is the short course version of Britain’s National Championships.
This event is truly unique in that it brings together Olympians who train hours every day with talented, but significantly less dedicated, college swimmers into one massive meet for team titles – there is always fast swimming, but always with a certain air of sportsmanship and enjoyment that reminds us all about the joy of sport.
There were two National Records, and one WORLD RECORD, broken at this year’s meet. Luxembourg’s Laurent Carnol became the fastest 50 breaststroker in the history of his country with a 27.97, slicing .02 off of his old record set at December’s European Championships. Carnol, it appears, is continuing his training at Loughborough through the next Olympic cycle, even with some turnover in the coaching staff.
Tom Laxton, also representing Loughborough, broke the Welsh Record in both the 50 fly (24.02), and then twice in the 100 fly (53.02 and then 52.67). Tilly Gray broke a BUCS record in the women’s edition of the same event, posting a 58.66, and finally James Hollis broke the IPC (para-swimming) S-10 World Record in the 200 fly with a 2:17.05: knocking two full seconds off of the 13-year old record held by fellow Brit Jody Cundy: a legendary Paralympian both in swimming and in cycling.
Among other notable results in the meet, Swansea’s Georgia Davies crushed the BUCS records in both the 50 back (27.35) and 100 back (58.22). Olympian Robbie Renwick didn’t break any records, but showed off perhaps a touch of versatility by winning all of the freestyle races from 50 through 400. That includes very-nearly a personal best of 49.26 in the 100, and a very easy-looking 3:48.64 in the 400 free.
A trio of teenagers all broke two minutes in the final of the women’s 200 free, where Bath’s Anne Bochmann outraced Olympian Aimee Wilmott 1:57.64-1:57.92. For Willmott, that’s easily a best time after she exploded in this summer’s long course season, and Bochmann very-nearly missed one of her own. Libby Mitchell from Swansea took 3rd in 1:59.40.
The swimmers from Loughborough, not surprisingly, dominated the team battle with 340 overall points. They only narrowly conquered Stirling in the men’s division, while easily flew through the women’s ahead of Edinburgh.
Bath took 2nd overall in the co-ed team battle.