This weekend saw the 2016 BUCS Nationals take place in Sheffield, with 48 athletes across seven different sports traveling to compete in karate, athletics, badminton, climbing, fencing, and swimming.
Over the weekend, we had six sport scholars competing: Amber Sawford, Kelly Horsfall and Tyler McKenna in the Karate Championships and Martin Schweizer, Liam Selby and Tully Kearney in the Long Course Swimming Championships.
Dave Corps brings us the full report from the weekend.
It was a slow start to this year’s BUCS Nationals for us, with the only real performance of note was the men’s 4 x 100m relay swimming team qualifying for Saturday’s finals by coming third in their heat.
In the Badminton Individual Championships, Sam Webb and Will Truong both gave strong performances against their oppositions, to both narrowly miss progressing to the next round.
Saturday saw our position begin to change, featuring the first day of finals in the Long Course Swimming Championships and a change of luck for our badminton team.
The morning session saw Vicky Mitropolou qualify for the women’s 50m breaststroke final with a third place finish in her heat with a time of 31.13s. In the men’s event, sport scholar Martin Schweizer cruised into the men’s 50m breaststroke final, winning his heat in 28.65s and qualifying fastest overall.
In the men’s 100m freestyle, sport scholar, Liam Selby qualified fastest in his heat with a time of 23.25s, earning his spot in the evening’s final.
The daytime sessions also saw two fantastic performances from our sport scholar, para swimmer, Tully Kearney, in the 50m freestyle and the 100m fly, competing against able-bodied swimmers.
Over at the Karate Championships, our sport scholars, Tyler McKenna, Kelly Horsfall and Adam Sawford competing in the kata. Unfortunately, Tyler and Amber both lost third round bouts to eventual finalists.
After a great performance, Kelly came through the repechage to win bronze after going out in the semi-final to the eventual winner.
Finally, over at EIS, the change of day brought a change of luck for our badminton team, as Danni Higman and Mel Mahar charged through the early rounds not losing a game until they faced Durham in the last 16. A strong Durham team proved too much for the girls as they exited the tournament, but a superb effort none the less.
The evening took us back to Ponds Forge to catch the day’s finals in the Long Course Swimming Championships, with four of our athletes competing.
First up was Vicky Mitropolou who came seventh in the women’s 50m breaststroke, smashing her entry time into the event by over half a second. Next, it was the men’s turn. In a very close race that went down to the wire, our sport scholar Martin Schweizer beat his qualification time with 28.55 seconds and earned silver.
Competing in the 50m freestyle final, Liam Selby earned a fourth place finish in a strong field: the eventual winner set a new BUCS and British record in the process of doing so, demonstrating the high standards being set throughout the weekend.
The last final of the night was the men’s 4 x 100m relay where our team were disqualified for going more than 15m underwater from the blocks after finishing fifth.
The third day turned out to be a super Sunday for us, in what was a golden hour; bringing four medals to the table in the space of 60 minutes!
After her great performance on Saturday, Tully competed in the women’s 400m freestyle, with her performance over the weekend amassing a fantastic 25 points.
The morning also saw great swims by Lizzie Hall in the women’s 100m freestyle, winning her heat in a time of 1:03.65s and Vicky Mitropolou, who narrowly missed qualification for the women’s 100m breaststroke final with a time of 1:17.75s.
In the men’s 100m breaststroke, sport scholar Martin Schweizer cruised through his heat, winning it in a time of 1:05.25s to qualify for Sunday afternoon’s final. Next up was sport scholar Liam Selby in the 50m butterfly who took the pool by storm, winning his heat in a time of 23.95s, the only swimmer to go under 25 seconds and was 1.3s ahead of his nearest competitor.
Sunday afternoon brought our golden hour with four medals coming in it. In the pool, Martin Schweizer turned up the heat to earn a second silver medal of the championships with a time of 1:04.10s, again missing gold by the narrowest of margins.
The final swimmer in the pool was Liam Selby and, after qualifying quickest by over a second in his heat, the pressure was on for Liam to repeat it and repeat it he did! He swam 23.95s, an identical time to his heat, earning his first and MMU’s first gold medal of the championships. Liam stormed home by nearly a second from the field, an incredible achievement over such a short distance.
During the final session of the Karate Championships, sport scholar Kelly Horsfall came through the repechage to claim bronze in the women’s kumite.
Just moments later, fellow sport scholar, Tyler McKenna matched this feat in the men’s kumite, also claiming bronze.
This success was matched just moments later in the men’s Kumite by fellow sport scholar Tyler McKenna who also claimed bronze after coming through the repechage, a great achievement for both fighters in their first BUCS Championships.
In the judo, competing in the women’s Kyu -78kg event, Eleanor Hannan earned a silver medal.
Overall, our MMU Swimming club finished ninth in the BUCS points table for the weekend and has two swimmers in the top 10 rankings with Liam Selby in eighth and Martin Schweizer in tenth position, rounding off what was a very successful weekend for MMU Sport in 2016, with the future looking bright for the 2017 Championships.
For full results from this year’s BUCS Nationals, visit the BUCS website.