By Abi Curran
The pool at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre had not hosted a finals day in almost two years. So, when Durham headed down to Sheffield for the BUCS Short Course Championships, the club were on the lookout for a weekend of strong swims.
Joined by Olympians and European record holders round the pool, Durham University Swimming Club (DUSC) were in good company. Athletes such as Andreas Vazaios and Louise Hansson, national swimmers for their respective countries, raced alongside students from 81 universities across the country.
In this respect, it wasn’t going to be an easy weekend for DUSC but, if their Sky Sports-esque introductions via Instagram stories were anything to go by, the team meant business. A weekend of impressive swimming broke nine Durham University records.
Perhaps the most successful team was the women’s relay team. On day one, in the heats, the 4×50 freestyle relay team A set a new record by over a second in the 200m race. After coming in the top 20, the team then broke their own record in the B finals. Brodie Judge, Amy Hodgson, Flora Forrest, and Grace Maskell came away winners after a strong B final race.
The story in the 4×50 women’s medley relay was not too dissimilar. The same swimmers pushed hard and broke the seven-year-old Durham record.
The medley team managed fourth place this time in the B final and, if that wasn’t enough, simultaneously broke their own record again in the final race. Over in the mixed relay, both of Durham’s teams managed to break records, and then break them again.
Durham A broke the 4×50 mixed medley relay record of 1:56:51 from 2019 by over a second, with Durham B cutting that time by over another second in their subsequent race.
It comes as no surprise that Ponds Forge is famous for being one of the world’s fastest pools. The depth of the pool is complemented by the type of gas that is used to chlorinate the pool providing perfect conditions for records to be broken.
After success in the Short Course Championships, Durham University Swimming Club will look forward to the Long Course Championships which are to be held in February, anticipating more records and success in the pool.
Image: @durhamuniswimming via instagram