Sports Editor Lucy Brogden speaks to swimming’s Kit Secretary, Lucy Nehring, to learn more about the club and their fortunes this year.
How can people join the club?
We have trials in September every year for new members, and there are A and B times which swimmers have to meet. To be considered for the performance squad, swimmers must make the A time. Senior squad members do not have to re-trial. We have trials because we’re a competitive swim team, rather than a swimming club.
What is the performance squad?
The performance squad is made up of the top 10 swimmers in the team. These swimmers are most likely to perform at BUCS, they attend S&C and they get to train with the Newcastle City swim team. Our top 10 tend to post the fastest times at trials, but admittance to the performance squad is also based on previous recorded times at national and regional competitions. We sometimes have scholarship athletes too.
Do you have to have to be a competitive swimmer to be part of the club?
No, not necessarily. Although we are focused on competitions, some of our members do not compete in BUCS and our other competitions.
“It’s pretty cool to be sharing a pool with an Olympian”
How often do you train?
We train five times a week, which adds up to six hours a week in the pool. It’s seven hours if you are in the performance squad and go to S&C, and eight if you go to circuit training in a morning.
Where do you train?
We train at the Royal Grammar School by Jesmond Metro. Their pool is really good as it’s a 25m, six lane pool.
Is it hard not having a pool at university?
It’s not hard until it’s half term, and the pool’s shut. This year we couldn’t train the week before Stan Calvert and BUCS because of the way half term fell.
What competitions do you compete in?
We have four main events in the swimming calendar: short course BUCS, long course BUCS, team BUCS and Stan Calvert. Short course BUCS is swum in a 25m pool, and long course is swum in a 50m pool.
Which sort of pool do you swim quickest in?
You tend to go quicker in a 25m pool because you make up time in your push-offs and turns. However, 50m pools are what are used at most international competitions.
40 club members
Have you had any stand out performances in your BUCS competitions this year?
Lucie Ellis came 20th in the 200m free, but the 400m is her main event. It’s really hard to do well in BUCS because there are so many incredible swimmers- international athletes often come and compete at BUCS to use it as a warm up for their international meets. For instance, Adam Peaty (who won gold in Rio), competed at long course, and fellow Olympian, Ben Proud competed at short course. As they’re not always competing as students they don’t take the points for the win, but it’s pretty cool to be sharing a pool with an Olympian.
At long course, our girls relay team came third in the B final in a time of 4.09.47, which was a very impressive achievement.
What went wrong in Stan Calvert? (The swimmers lost 6-0)
The meet is set up so that if you dominate in the 100m events you’ll win the meet overall. We dominate in the 50m, and this isn’t reflected in the final score. Despite this, we did have a few notable performances: captain, Emily Shone came second in the 100m back by just 10 milliseconds, and Issy Centeleghe won the 50m butterfly. Northumbria have some very strong swimmers- especially in the backstroke. Our cause wasn’t helped by the fact that we couldn’t train as our pool was shut for half term.
How many of your club are graduating?
We’ll be losing about ten swimmers this year, four of whom are in the performance squad. Thankfully, two of our performance squad members are medics, so they’ve got plenty of years to go!
What competitions have you got coming up?
Our final event in the year is Team BUCS, which is made up of relays and individuals.