The BUCS Short Course Swimming Championships is the first major event of the university swimming calendar. From the 10th to the 12th of November, over 1,700 students representing universities from across the country congregated at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield. With both Olympic and Paralympic athletes competing, it promised to be an exciting weekend of competition.
The team from Manchester made a significant improvement on last year’s 24th place result, finishing 10th out of 92 universities in the overall points standings.
A stand out performer on the Manchester team was para-swimmer Grace Harvey, who smashed the Women’s SM7 200m Individual Medley European Record in a time of 3:09.71 — with 759 British Disability points — to take silver. A University of Manchester Sports Scholar, Harvey also scooped bronze with 710 points in the multi-disability 100m Freestyle behind teammate Rosie Bancroft — 744 points — who took the silver medal in a time of 1:05.64. Bancroft brought home her second silver of the weekend in the 50m Freestyle, scoring 758 points with a time of 31.00.
Sports Scholar Ashley Hogg had a successful meet, competing in the Men’s 400m Freestyle, 400m Individual Medley and 1,500m Freestyle distance events placing 7th (3:57.60), 8th (4:27.57) and 6th (15:37.31) respectively. Bailey Hairsine also put in a strong performance, closely following Hogg to finish 10th in the 1,500m Freestyle in a time of 16:17.31 and 11th in the 400m Individual Medley stopping the clock at 4:36.43.
Jamie Ingram – a third Sports Scholar — qualified 9th for the Men’s 100m Butterfly final, improving on his time in the final to finish 6th in 54.46. Ingram also qualified alongside Jacob Lea for the 50m Butterfly “B” final, racing to 1st and 4th place finishes in times of 24.44 and 25.12 respectively.
Elsewhere, the Men’s 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay qualified for the “B” final. The quartet of Ingram, Hogg, Afonso Sequiera and Lea clocked a time of 1:34.78, improving on their time in the heats to place 5th.
“I’m very proud of the whole team,” says Girls Captain Frances Garnett. “With four para-medals, swimmers continuously making the finals and placing in the top 10, it’s been a fantastic weekend for University of Manchester swimming.”
The team can now look forward to the BUCS Team competition and the BUCS Long Course Championships, which is part of the multi-sport BUCS Nationals weekend taking place in February next year.