Short Course BUCS Championships to Feature English Olympians, WUGS Champions

Photo Courtesy: Josh Dobson

By Sophia Chiang, Swimming World College Intern

We are now two weeks out from the British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) 2015 Short Course Championships. On November 13-15, 2015, more than 2,000 swimmers are expected to descend upon the Ponds Forge Swimming Centre in Sheffield, England, for the largest bi-annual collegiate swimming championships in the United Kingdom.

Going into an Olympic year, stakes are high: with less than six months to go to the 2016 British Olympic Trials, Britain’s top collegiate swimmers will be looking to race at top form one last time before tapering into April. Traditionally the high scoring powerhouse, Loughborough University will likely be facing increased competition from Edinburgh, Sheffield, and Bath among other names, who will be looking to swipe points from out under them, and fresh collegiate talent will surely shake up the field.


Photo Courtesy: Josh Dobson

Expect an inauspicious start—distance heavy Loughborough will dominate the Friday night events in the 800m and 1500m, although Bath’s Jay Lelliott will likely sweep up gold in either of the events. He currently holds the English National record in the 800m freestyle (7:50.97) and is the defending champion in the 1500m freestyle (14:58.67). Lelliott will be expected to also top the podium in the 200m (1:49.98) and 400m (3:46.06) men’s freestyles, repeating his performance at the World University Games in Gwangju, Korea, this past summer where he cracked the World Top 10 in the 400m freestyle.

Saturday will be much less predictable. Top scoring teams Loughborough, Edinburgh, and Bath will be bringing teams of top notch athletes: however, a large amount of graduated athletes from last year will mean that the relays throughout BUCS will be shaken up this year, and the key to the top of the podium will be the first year athletes the teams decide to utilize. Expect returning 2012 Olympian Rebecca Turner (Sheffield Hallam) to pull double golds in both the 100m and 200m freestyles after the departure of Emma Wilkins (Loughborough), who has been a staple in the women’s sprint freestyle events the past few years. However, new talent should not be discounted: Anna Hopkin (Bath), Raquel Matos (Edinburgh), and Rebecca Marshall (Bath) are just a few names that may very well top the podium this year.

Matos will be a name to remember. A second year out of Edinburgh, she nearly qualified for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games (at 18) in the 50m fly (27.33) but missed the cut by 0.14 seconds. A strong athlete in sprint freestyle and butterfly, she will certainly final in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly, and 100m butterfly, and Edinburgh’s increasingly powerful butterfly program is sure to back her up this year.


Photo Courtesy: Josh Dobson

The women’s sprint backstrokes will be dominated by Edinburgh and the men’s by Bath, although there is no clear winner currently. However, the men’s 200m backstroke will heavily favor Loughborough as Joel Elwood and Caleb Hughes will attempt to pull in a 1-2 win. On the women’s side, rising Scottish star Lucy Hope (Edinburgh) will vie for her first BUCS short course win.

The breaststroke winners are likely to be toss-ups, however, what is clear is that these events will be dominated by first-and-second year swimmers. Expect the women’s side to be strongly Scottish: Olivia White (Edinburgh), Hayley Monteith (Edinburgh Napier), and Laura Kinley (Loughborough) will all be swimmers to watch in these events. The men’s side should be equally exciting to watch: Stirling’s newest star Craig Benson will be out for redemption after being out touched by Loughborough’s James Wilby this past summer at the World University Games. Benson swam for the British team at the 2012 London Olympics, and was the youngest member of the team at the time.

Most exciting should be the medley and freestyle relays, however, where last year’s results showed how the United Kingdom’s swimming powerhouses can make a national championship meet look like a tri-meet. Loughborough, Edinburgh, and Bath all vied for top spots in both the men’s and women’s relays, and this year’s new talent will be the deciding factor as to who will win (however, Loughborough may very well showcase the most depth in this aspect).

The 2015 Short Course BUCS will take place from November 13-15, 2015, at Ponds Forge, Sheffield. For more information, including meet logistics and other details, please visit the BUCS Swimming site.

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Aree Abdulla
8 years ago


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