Varsity 2010 – First Day Review

Following victories in today’s rowing, climbing and swimming events, York University have established a useful 22.25-4.25 lead in the Varsity tournament

Photograph by Irene Sieberger

Photograph by Irene Sieberger


A series of strong performances in Saturday’s rowing, climbing and swimming events means York University have a commanding lead in this year’s Varsity competition with York St. John.

The University, who have never been defeated in a Varsity tournament, lead 22.25-4.25 entering the second and final day, although the weekend has been overshadowed by a number of disappointing cancellations.

The decision was made on Friday afternoon to cancel the rowing on the River Ouse because of high water levels following heavy rainfall, the event replaced by an ‘Erg-off’ on machines in the Tent. With the schedule reduced to just four races, the legs split evenly between the crew members in an entertaining relay format, York claimed a clean sweep.

The most dramatic race was the senior men’s eights contest, with York fighting back from an early deficit to win by a margin of less than five metres. The respective times of 24 minutes 07 seconds against 24 minutes 13.5 seconds emphasised the tightness of this one.

The senior women’s race proved more routine, with the hosts taking it by an impressive 750 metres, recording a time of 28 minutes 02.8 seconds. St. John finished with a time of 30 minutes 54.8 seconds, a distant second.

In the novice women’s eights, York completed the ‘course’ in a time of 15 minutes 02.6 seconds, 42 seconds ahead of their foes, while in the men’s novice eights, where one Varsity point was on offer, York registered a time of 12 minutes 11.6 seconds, considerably quicker than St. John’s 13 minutes 05.3 seconds.

Rowing- Varsity, Irene Sieberger

The Rowing ‘Erg-off’ today, staged in the Tent. Photograph by Irene Sieberger.

In the late afternoon swimming events, staged at the Archbishop Holgate School, York were again impressive, taking the majority of the first and second place finishes on offer to win 67-43.

The gulf between the respective men’s teams was demonstrated most clearly in the 4 x 50 metre individual medley and freestyle relay races, the concluding events, where York’s swimmers were almost a length quicker than their St. John opponents.

St. John had the upper hand in the women’s races, however, claiming both relays by narrow margins to pick up their first points of the weekend, but were beaten into third in both the 100 metre backstroke and 50 metre freestyle races.


Action from this evening’s swimming at the Archbishop Holgate School. Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle.

In the climbing event, which kicked off the Varsity weekend at the Oaklands Leisure Centre, York recorded a 935-675 victory.

With each climber allowed three attempts to reach the summit of the wall, ten points were awarded for accomplishing this first time, seven for a second attempt and four for a third try.

Both York’s B and C teams prevailed, establishing a useful lead of 561-392, before impressive climbs from York’s A teamers Will Steven (127 points) and Joe Barker (130) put a gloss on the scoreline.

The Sunday schedule has been curtailed due to waterlogged pitches on the 22 Acres, with the football fixtures reverting to a combination of five and six-aside matches on the Astroturf and in the Tent during the late afternoon and the rugby fixtures called off.

Reflecting on the first day of action, Emily Scott, the York Sport President, told Nouse: “I’m obviously gutted about the weather putting a spanner in the works, but i’m really chuffed about how things went despite this.

“The climbing was a great success for its first year in Varsity and it was great that York managed to pick up all nine points on offer. The rowing worked surprisingly well in the Tent, where there was a fantastic atmosphere, a huge amount of noise and York clinching the tightest of victories in the men’s senior eights by five metres!


St. John picked up their first points of the weekend at the swimming, but York retain a commanding lead. Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle.

“Swimming was the first place St. John were able to get on the scorecard in an action-filled gala at Archbishop Holgate. There were plenty of close races with some photo finishes. A great start to the weekend for us!”

Nouse will have complete round-ups of the rowing and swimming events online this evening and will be blogging on Varsity Sunday from 9am tomorrow at, with live updates on Twitter.

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