The lifesaving team came away from the BULSCA Championships without any medals but with plenty of experience, as many personal bests were broken.
The BULSCA Championships is an intense two-day competition that took place the weekend of 29 February to 1 March, that marks the highlight of the year for the lifesaving club.
This year, the lifesavers took a varied team, with several members having competed at the competition before while someone we’re at it for the first time.
King Yee Cheung has been on the lifesaving club for the past five years and was impressed with how the team performed.
“Over the years we have lost a lot of experienced members due to them graduating, and with lifesaving being such a niche sport, it is difficult for us to develop,” she said.
“However, there is so much potential in every member of lifesaving, and the results of this competition has proved that we are still continually progressing in the right direction.
“Whilst we didn’t win any overall medals like we have done in the past, there were many personal bests broken, and a few individual podium placings as well.
“All the hard work that everyone put in over the past few months was all preparing us for this competition.”
Despite not achieving any medals, the team finished in seventh place out of 13 competing teams consisting of some of the most experienced athletes in the country.
King Yee added: “I personally feel that our club performed well, coming in the middle of the pack. This is promising as it shows we have so much more potential to improve and to creep up to finish on the podium in the coming years.
“Most of the squads there were university squads like us but there were some top level athletes competing.
“Some had competed at World Championships and even medalled Commonwealth Championships.
“It was certainly breathtaking and inspirational to see them compete. Some competitors were just starting out but, without a doubt, will have gained so much experience from this.”
The tournament is split across two days, the first being a speeds based competition, followed by the second being focused more on skill aspects of the sport.
Lifesaving is not like most water-based sports. Whereas other swimmers might be tested on the speed of their front crawl, lifesaving has entirely different aspects to it and this tournament was no different.
One of the most challenging parts of the tournament is the super lifesaver. In this, competitors need to first take part in a 75-metre freestyle sprint and dive down to the bottom of the pool to retrieve a submerged eight-stone mannequin.
They then need to carry the mannequin for 25 metres, drop the mannequin and put on fins and a torpedo buoy, swim another 50 metres with the fins and torpedo buoy, clip a second semi-submerged mannequin in the torpedo buoy, and tow that mannequin for the remaining 50 metres.
The club has also been lucky enough to be aided by the Performance Sport scheme and have added weekly strength and conditioning sessions to their training regime, something King Yee thinks definitely paid off at the championships.
A few notable highlights of their results include Daniel Jensen who finished ninth in the 200 metre super lifesaver, Katie Finney who finished ninth in the 200 metre obstacle swim and tenth in the 100 metre rescue medley, as well as King Yee, who finished eighth in the 200 metre super lifesaver.
Looking ahead, lifesaving has other competitions coming up this season such as the RLSS National Speeds and the BULSCA League Finale Competition in Loughborough.
“The committee, especially our two training officers, have worked extremely hard to keep up the good results that our club was getting,” King Yee added.
“We are happy with how it’s gone so far – the experienced members are getting even more experienced, while helping the freshers gain new skills and confidence in a sport they’ve never done before.”