The new season of BUCS fixtures is nearly upon us and nobody is more keen for it to start than the Cardiff University Swimming and Water Polo Club. The season begins for the mens and ladies water polo teams in November against Imperial College London, whilst the swimming team kick off their season with the short course BUCS championships, also in November. Following a highly successful 2014/15 season for the club, President and first team polo player Kate Thompson is looking forward to what lies ahead; “We’re aiming for the club to continue to improve and develop within every training session and to maintain and indeed, build upon the high level of performance that the club has been achieving over the past few years.”
Thompson is not wrong about the high level of performance that exists within the club. Last season, the mens polo team made it to the BUCS finals, resulting in a hard fought third place before coming second at the UPolo finals in the last matches of the season. The men’s water polo captain, Daniel Picton, adds; “After a tough season of polo we were thrilled to win a bronze medal at the BUCS finals in Leeds.” The ladies team was no exception, making it through to the BUCS semi-finals and also achieving a superb second place at the UPolo finals. Varsity also saw another victory for the men’s team with a convincing 16-3 win over Swansea University.
The swimming team also put in a strong performance during the year, making it into the B finals at the BUCS short-course championships. Despite a loss at this year’s Varsity, the men’s swimming team captain, Luke McCluskey, remains in a buoyant and positive mood for the new year; “As captain all I can ask for is full commitment from the squad so that we can be as successful as possible in BUCS and hopefully reclaim our titles at both Varsity and the Celtic championships.”
Both Cardiff polo teams face stiff competition in the Premier South Division in the form of first teams from Birmingham, Cambridge, Imperial, Oxford and long-term rivals, Bristol. Despite some losses to the squad over the summer, Picton is confident about building on its previous success; “Having retained key players and welcomed some promising new freshers I believe it is well within our ability to achieve the same level of success as last season.” Meanwhile, the swimming squad faces a tough challenge in both the long and short course championships but with freshers trials coming up shortly McCluskey is positive about the squad’s chances.
Cardiff University Swimming and Water Polo Club not only prides itself at succeeding in its particular sports, but is also keen to emphasise the social aspect of its club. Its weekly socials are as important as every training session in the pool. Kate Thompson adds; “As well as aiming high this season we want to remain a social team that is inclusive to all its members and allows them to make new friends whilst keeping fit.”