With 16 points up for grabs in the pool on Saturday, University of York’s Swimming and Water Polo teams knew how much a good performance would count this year. For in the past, York’s performances in the water have been found wanting to say the least. To end up sharing the points, with eight going to each side says a lot more than many people might think.
So to Archbishop Holgate School for what may have been the last ever Roses event held there (if that thing called a new pool is built on Heslington East by 2012, that is). Here are how the events unfolded:
UNIVERSITY OF YORK WOMEN’S WATER POLO 1 – 12 UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER WOMEN’S WATER POLO
York’s newly formed Women’s team fought gallantly against a strong Lancaster outfit, but were unable to stop the onslaught of attacking play executed by their opponents. Four goals in the first quarter damaged the girls’ spirits, but some excellent defensive play in the following quarters suggested room for potential. Captain Emily Huntingford will definitely be pleased with this term’s progress.
UNIVERSITY OF YORK MEN’S WATER POLO 7 – 6 UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER MEN’S WATER POLO
For someone who has never really followed Water Polo before today, the Men’s match has quite possibly converted a former swimming purist to properly appreciate that ‘other sport they play in water.’ Forget the FA Cup final, York vs. Lancaster Men’s was a tense and dramatic display of end-to-end action, full of controversy to rival even an El Classico derby.
An unprecedented 17 major fouls were called against the York boys, with only 9 against the Lancastrians. To add insult to injury, York had to play with 4 men against 7 at one point, when three (again, unheard of) York players were sent out of the pool. It was as if York was that unfortunate child who always gets sent out by the lifeguard for throwing a ball really hard at his mate; no pun intended.
Despite the lack of players at certain points, York dug in tremendously deep, with man of the match, Chris Snowden making a countless number of saves, including a few penalties – all of which resulted in a compounding boom of cheer by the poolside spectators.
Whilst the goalscoring seemed to flow back and forth between each team, a particular mention must go to Giulio Schinaia for what must only be described as a wonder-goal. It was 6-6 going into the last few stages until York nicked a goal on a counter-attack in order to set up a thrilling finale: 7-6, with two minutes left.
With pretty much the last play of the match, Lancaster got a penalty. For it not for Snowden’s last ditch tip onto the post, York would have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The keeper ensured it was the other way around.
UNIVERSITY OF YORK WOMEN’S SWIMMING 39 – 73 UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER WOMEN’S SWIMMING
UNIVERSITY OF YORK MEN’S SWIMMING 71 – 42 UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER MEN’S SWIMMING
With the Water Polo results tied overall, it came down to the York swimmers to show Lancaster the way to the changing rooms. Despite losing the Women’s 200m Medley Relay first up, York’s spirits were flying high after a phenomenal season, seeing promotion into BUCS Division 2 whilst breaking many club records along the way. The Men’s team confirmed this confidence after gritting their teeth to win the 200m Medley Relay (which consists of 4×50 metres of Backstroke, Breastroke, Butterfly and Freestyle for those who don’t know) in a time of 1:57.62.
In a way, this was how the rest of the meet paved out, with Lancaster’s women winning the majority of their races, and the York men theirs respectively. All but three races finished with York in first and second place, with some notable swims coming from Lewis Cherry in the 50m Freestyle (26.51), Elliot Thurland in the 100m backstroke (1:05.81) and captain Tomek Dobrzycki in the 100m I.M. (1:07.34).
However, the true testament to this team is its strength in depth. Despite losing, the Women’s team had many fantastic swims, including a monumental effort from Kim Briscoe, swimming the 100m free and 100m Fly consecutively, as well as playing in the Water Polo match earlier. A similar effort was given by Raymond Wade who showed class is permanent by swimming some very strong Free and Fly sprints after no training since September.
From my own point of view [Liam Woodcock], everyone in the club is incredibly proud of how far we’ve come as a team this year, and as a Fresher on the Men’s team, it has been absolutely brilliant to taste victory on my first Roses outing.
President of USWYC and breastroker, Chris Unsworth had this to say regarding the result: “It’s a sign of how much UYSWC has improved over this last year, and hopefully with the arrival of our new pool in 2012, things can only keep getting better.”