The BUCS Long Course Swimming Championships showcased the best of elite university talent, whilst the Lausanne Swim Cup proved fruitful for a number of Great Britain’s top swimmers as some key preparatory racing took place at the weekend.
There was records galore at Ponds Forge for the latest edition of the BUCS Long Course Swimming Championships, with Katie Shanahan and Kara Hanlon both showing some timely pre-British Swimming Championships form with new personal bests across the weekend.
Several British international athletes took to the pool for the event, including a number of “guest” entries from both Paralympic and Olympic sections of the sport, thanks to an agreement between BUCS and British Swimming to help prepare the athletes for the upcoming trials season - although they were limited to heats swims.
One of those in action was Olympic champion Duncan Scott, who made an impression on the 200m Freestyle, 200m Butterfly and 400m Individual Medley – finishing second-fastest in the former and first in the latter two heats respectively.
S14 Paralympic champion Jessica- Jane Applegate did well over the 50m, 100m and 200m Freestyle events – taking top spot in the multi-classification ranking on all three. Paralympic medallists Ellie Challis and Tom Hamer were also in action, the latter athlete taking MC top spot in the 50m and 100m Freestyle events, and Challis taking two MC golds in the 50m Backstroke and 50m Breaststroke.
Both of the finals sessions in Sheffield brought a huge atmosphere, which has come to be expected at the event, and the Saturday did not disappoint, with European medallist Greg Butler producing one of the highlight swims of the night, the Loughborough University athlete taking gold in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke final after a tight battle with University of Edinburgh’s Archie Goodburn.
Loughborough’s dominance didn’t end there, though, as European champion Laura Stephens edged out close competition to take victory in the Women’s 100m Butterfly, before University of Stirling’s Shanahan put in that new personal best time in the Women’s 200m Backstroke, as she romped to victory in a time of 2:08.08, just over a second shy of the British Record.
Butler was back to take gold in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke final to close the individual events for the evening, before Loughborough University then took the victory in both the men’s and women’s 400m Freestyle Team finals.
The Sunday afternoon finals session rounded off proceedings, and it continued in a similar fashion, with Stephens taking another gold medal following a solid performance in the final of the Women’s 200m Butterfly, before Edinburgh’s Hanlon put in a personal best performance of her own in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke final, to finish just shy of the gold medal spot.
Butler then completed the hattrick of breaststroke golds with victory in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke final thanks to a solid back end swim, before Shanahan then returned to take gold in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley, thanks to an impressive swim which saw her edge out her international teammate Freya Colbert (Loughborough), thanks to a well-utilised backstroke leg.
European medallist Lauren Cox (Loughborough) edged out Olympic champion Kathleen Dawson (Stirling) to take gold as the latter continued her return to competition following injury, in what was a very close Women’s 100m Backstroke final, before Loughborough closed the competition with a perfect record in the relays, with commanding swims in the men’s and women’s 400m Medley Team finals.
Meanwhile,. on the continent, the Lausanne Swim Cup saw the bulk of British Swimming Loughborough Performance Centre’s athletes make the trip to central Europe for some important race practice, with the athletes taking a total of 13 medals across the three-day event.
Highlights from the event in Switzerland included gold medal-winning performances from Anna Hopkin and Abbie Wood, who topped the podium in the Women’s 100m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley respectively, whilst Adam Peaty continued his resurgence from an injury-affected 2022 to take two titles in the Men’s 50m and 100m Breaststroke finals.
Silver medals came from James Wilby, who took second place in all three breaststroke events, Hopkin and Wood in the Women’s 50m and 400m Freestyle respectively, and Luke Greenbank for the Men’s 200m Backstroke, who also took bronze in the 100 metre event.
Also taking bronze medals from the competition were Isabella Hindley, thanks to her performance in a tightly-contested Women’s 100m Freestyle final, and Wood, after she completed the set by taking third place in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke.
Jacob Whittle (50m & 100m Freestyle) and Joe Litchfield (100m & 400m Freestyle, 100m Backstroke) were the other Loughborough PC swimmers in action at the event, which gave them valuable international race experience following their warm-weather training camp on the Gold Coast.
For the full results from Lausanne, click here.
For the full results from the BUCS Long Course Swimming Championships, click here.