By Chris Campbell
Cardiff University Swimming Team’s 23-strong squad, descended on the freezing Steel City of Sheffield for the BUCS Long Course Swimming Championships 2012.
The team arrived with great expectations following promotion from Division 3 last season and a record points score at the BUCS Short Course Championships 2011. Moreover, as a result of an impressive Division 2 campaign this season the team is eyeing up back-to-back promotion.
Star Swimmer, Libby Hetherington, stole the show, winning Cardiff University’s first individual medal at a BUCS competition for as long as the BUCS records go back. She touched home in the 50m Freestyle in a time of 26.93 to claim the bronze medal in front of some notable swimmers from top swimming universities such as Loughborough. Libby also finished the 100m Freestyle in sixth place, a very tightly fought race in which she only finished half a second behind a second podium place of the meet. Improving all the time, next season promises to be very exciting one for Libby.
Other top performances came from the Men’s Captain, Chris Campbell, who was just beaten to a medal in the 50m Butterfly finishing in fourth, 0.4 seconds outside the podium places.
Alex Mackay, who will be attending the London 2012 Olympic Trials held next month at the Olympic Aquatics Centre, also put in some performances of true grit in the longer distance events.
He came fifth in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley and seventh in the 200m Individual Medley. Alex’s gruelling training regime of 18-20 hours a week in the pool (including hitting the pool at 6am three/four times a week) is really paying dividends and he’s sure to take the Olympic Pool by storm.
Most importantly, as a team, Cardiff finished a record 14th place out of over 50 universities. The team gave incredible support to each other throughout the long weekend and credit must go to some great supporting swims which massively raised morale and team spirit as tiredness kicked in.
Next for the team comes the BUCS Team Championships Division 2 Trophy Final held in Sheffield on March 10th and the Team is in a great position for further success and promotion. All in all, Cardiff University Swimming is well and truly on the up.