The Student Championship is really like no other competition on the BULSCA calendar. On the Saturday is a Speeds competition, featuring different and more challenging races than usual. It’s a chance not just for teams to compete, but individual lifesavers too.
Representing the club were: Megan, Bea, Hannah, Millie and Maisie on the Women’s squad and Jared, Jason, Cas, Colin, Olie and Chris on the Men’s, with Caitlin, Keyao, Lottie and Jessie competing individually.
Bristol’s day was full of drama even before we got to the pool. An unexpected breakdown (RIP Dorey) risked some of our team-mates missing the warm-up; thanks to Megan, however, all our team arrived on time and ready to compete!
The excitement remained high throughout the day and began with Bristol’s favourite event: rope throwing! The guy’s squad came second in the 4*10m relay, with a blinding time of 1.08.56.
Strong performances by all in the rope throws was followed up in the grueling 200m Obstacles race, where competitors must dive under 8 barriers throughout they race, with Cas and Megan both securing 5th place for their respective teams. In the 4*50m obstacles relay, Bristol came 5th in the Women’s and 3rd in the Men’s.
Next came the manikin events.
In the 50m Carry, where competitors must retrieve a manikin from the pool floor halfway through and carry it the rest of the way, Megan and Jason both secured 7th place.
Bristol’s teamwork pushed it further up the rankings in the 4*25m Manikin Carry Relay, the Women’s squad coming 4th and the Men’s coming 3rd, both coping well with the tricky change-overs in the middle of the pool!
In the 100m Manikin Carry with Fins, which also involves racing with a manikin for half the race, Megan and Jason came 9th and 6th. This event was also notable for Chris just coming in ahead of the infamous Dr Stathis from Athens, and 16 year old Anton from the local Keynsham Lifesaving Club coming 1st and setting a new BULSCA record!
The 100m Rescue Medley is especially challenging: you race for 50m before having to hold your breath racing 17.5m underwater to recover the manikin before the final sprint to the finish. All 8 of Bristol’s competitors in this race ‘went the distance’ and finished strong, with Megan and Cas securing 7th and 6th respectively.
Things then took a turn for the technical as Jason, Cas, Megan and Natalie came 6th in the Mixed Pool Lifesaver Relay (after the first sprints 50m, the second swims with fins to pick-up a manikin and pass it to the third, who carries it without fins to a fourth who carries it with fins to the finish)
In the 200m Super Lifesaver, which involves 2 manikins and putting on fins halfway through, Maisie came 9th and Jason won Silver. Cas, despite having to carry his broken fin to the finish, still won his heat and finished in a strong 6th place!
The last individuals event was the 100m Tow with Fins, where competitors tow manikins for the second length, having (hopefully!) secured them with their torpedo buoys! Here, Maisie won 16th and Jason a Bronze for Bristol.
The final event was the 4*50m Medley Relay: a 50m sprint, followed by another with fins and a third with a torpedo buoy, before handing it to the fourth swimmer who sprints to the finish towing the third competitor.
The Women finished 6th and the Men 5th; the tension was high to the very end, as I had to race to catch the torpedo buoy on the 4th length before it was too late.
There’s few ways better to celebrate and recuperate from a tough competition than a group meal, especially when it’s Chilli and hosted by Club Captain Natalie. It was a great end to the competition, and relax before Sunday’s competition!