BULSCA Student Championships 2020: Sunday

The Bristol Squad – including the Champs organisers/Bristol Alumni Steph and Sophie.

Day two of Champs runs as a normal league competition – and after a great Saturday, the Bristol squad were ready to take on the day.  Bristol had an impressive five team showing on the Sunday: A, B and C teams made up from the six boy, six girl squad who competed on Saturday as ‘counting’ towards the overall weekend results, as well as D and E teams made up from individuals who competed or were helpers on Saturday.  Champs SERCs are typically more elaborate, so set up took a longer amount of time than is typical, but eventually our first team was called.

The dry SERC was situated at a campsite, and with no other information given in our brief, we did not know what to expect when we walked in.  Once the SERC had started, perhaps the biggest challenge was having two unconscious non-breathing casualties – one of them, a baby lying face down in a paddling pool of water, and the other an adult who had been electrocuted.  Treating both of these casualties left only two team members taking on the rest of the SERC if teams did not manage to find the emergency triangle behind the door (also hiding the first aid kit), which led an emergency first responder to enter the room who could also treat the casualties.  Amongst the other casualties, there was also the baby’s mother whose panicking developed into an asthma attack, an unconscious breathing adult in a tent, and an adult who was choking and would go unconscious if left untreated – a lot of very high priority casualties! To add to the confusion multiple phones were found in the SERC, all with no signal, as well as a significant number of props to distract us.  Despite this, the Bristol teams coped very well with the dry SERC – some amazing results with Bristol A coming 5th, and great consistency with the B Team coming 10th, C Team 12th and D Team 11th

Immediately after the dry we were moved to the wet SERC, where our brief and introductory video prepared us for a capsized ship off the coast of Scotland.  Upon entering the SERC there were two boats in the water – one capsized with a panicking swimmer holding onto it and a panicking non-swimmer stuck underneath it, and one upright with Bristol alumni Alex acting as captain of the sunken ship, with one more asthmatic casualty in the boat with him.  A pair of locked swimmers, a panicking swimmer and one more non-panicking swimmer in a life jacket made up the rest of the casualties in the pool, as well as a casualty suffering from chest pains on the side of the pool.  To make matters more difficult, there was an unconscious, non-breathing adult on the side with an untrained casualty performing CPR on the manikin upon entering – teams had to negotiate her away from the manikin, and then dedicate one member to continuing CPR on it, leaving only three team members to the rest of the SERC.  Bristol A managed the wet with ease, coming 1st out of all 35 teams, with the B Team not far behind coming 7th!  Our E team also had a great performance, finishing 15th overall.

After the SERCs had finished, we moved to the speed events.  Firstly, we had the rope throw relay which saw Bristol A coming 6th overall!  Notably, for the first time at a competition, our D Team captain Jess got her rope out!  After rope throw, we moved to the final event of the Champs weekend – the swim-tow relay.  Despite the demanding Saturday and previous SERCs, Bristol came away from this event with some great times and results, with the A Team placing 2nd overall in the competition and the B Team not far behind placing 8th.   

Our A Team, who placed 2nd overall in the Sunday competition!
Our B Team, who placed 8th overall in the Sunday competition!
Our C Team, who placed 21st overall in the Sunday competition!
Our D Team, who placed 25th in the Sunday competition!
Our E Team, who placed 22nd in the Sunday competition!
Our wonderful Bristol helpers, including UBLSC alumni Adam, Chris and Alex.

BULSCA Student Championships 2020: Saturday

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.

Hannah reeling in her heat victory!

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!

Handing over the manikin in the Women’s 4*25m Carry

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!

Southampton Competition 22nd February

Bristol at Southampton

The second competition of 2020 took Bristol to Southampton. 3 teams from Bristol entered themselves into this competition for what looked to be one of the toughest days yet in the season. After arriving and heading straight to isolation, the competition begun. We tackled our way through Richard’s isolation quiz which put us in the problem solving mindset that is essential for SERCs. Unfortunately, our lifesaving was better than our knowledge of Winter Olympic host cities and Grand Nationals so we didn’t come out on top, but all teams enjoyed combining our knowledge to attempt to answer all the questions. Bristol A left isolation first to participate in the SERCs, encountering a yoga session as the location of the dry SERC, including casualties such as a diabetic, an unconscious non-breathing person and someone who had overheated. All 3 teams excelled in this SERC, shown by Bristol A placing 2nd, with Bristol B and C both coming in the top 10. Next, we headed onto the wet SERC. It was set in the Yosemite Valley Swimming Pool, after a sighting of a bear that had luckily disappeared from the area before the lifesavers emerged on the scene. Casualties included an unconscious non-breathing drowned swimmer who had unfortunately been attacked by said bear and had a cut on their shoulder, an asthmatic and a hypothermic casualty. Bristol A outdid all other teams on this scenario by coming 1st, with Bristol B close behind in 4th place. We moved onto the speeds events, starting with rope throw. All teams managed to successfully rescue at least 2 members of their team, with all the members of the A team getting their rope out to each other. After this we raced in the obstacle relay. This was the first time this season this race has been done at a competition and so we were excited to partake in this event. Each team member swims 50m of the pool, but halfway through each length, the swimmer must dive under a gate that has been suspended in the pool. Bristol sped through this event, with Bristol A placing 5th and Bristol B following them with 6th. Finally, the competition ended with Swim and Tow. This was a fantastic event for Bristol competitors as most came away with personal bests and all placed in the top 10, with Bristol A placing 2nd. After the iconic Southampton full English breakfast it was time for results. Bristol C placed 11th overall, Bristol B came 7th and Bristol A took 2nd place. It was a very successful and enjoyable competition and we can’t wait to compete in the BULSCA Student Championships this weekend! 

Bristol A with their 2nd place medals

Warwick Competition 8th February

Bristol on poolside

Our first competition of the new year was held in Warwick. 4 teams of Bristol lifesavers (and one judge and helper) travelled up, ready to partake in what was to be a challenging but exciting competition. After a long wait in isolation, accompanied by many cups of tea and coffee provided by the Bristol isolation kettle, the SERCs started. Bristol C kicked things off, being the first Bristol team to tackle them. The dry SERC took place in the setting of the aftermath of a football match at the University of Warwick. Casualties included an unconscious non-breathing adult, a victim impaled with a knife and a choking casualty. Bristol A were able to easily deal with this incident, earning them 2nd place. Next, our teams headed over to the wet SERC. This SERC took place on a sinking boat where all passengers and crew had been tipped overboard. Casualties included 2 unconscious swimmers, a head bleed and other weak swimmers. Bristol C did fantastically in this SERC, gaining 4th place! Next, the relays started with rope throw. Bristol A was able to win this event, managing to rescue all team members. Next, competed in the medley relay event. All teams excelled in this event, with a special mention to the A team that came 7th. Finally, we ended the competition with swim and tow. This was a record breaking event for Bristol lifesavers with most achieving personal bests for their swims! Well done to Bristol A that were able to come 5th for this event. With everyone pleased with their performances for the day, we headed into results to discover the outcome of the day. Bristol A came 1st in the A league and 2nd overall, Bristol B came 4th in the B league and 9th overall, Bristol C came 17th overall and Bristol D came 14th overall. It was a very successful day for all Bristol teams, seen by the amazing results and we can’t wait for Southhampton in 2 weeks time! 

Bristol A with their 1st place medals

Birmingham Competition 7th December 2019

All of our Bristol competitors

The fourth and final competition of 2019 was hosted by Birmingham on 7th December.  Bristol brought three teams counting towards the league results, as well as a scratch team the result of unexpected last-minute team changes just a few days before the competition, made up of two of our club members and two members from Keynsham LSC.  We were waiting for a typical few hours in isolation until our first team finally got to the start of the competition: the SERCs.

Our dry SERC was a simulated dark alley at night – not complete without a stabbing victim who deteriorated and went unconscious during the SERC.  Amongst the other casualties there was a suffering hypoglycaemic diabetic, an asthmatic, an unconscious, non-breathing adult in a tent, a drunk bystander, and a non-suffering diabetic with a head wound (who in real life is our own Gen Sec Bea whose burst eardrum stopped her competing!).  One of the biggest challenges in this SERC was attempting to find the mobile phone to contact the emergency services, which ended up being in the tent with the CPR casualty amongst the used needles and other rubbish.  Our fantastic D Team captain managed to find this which definitely helped to boost her team to get 7th in the dry SERC – an incredible achievement for a scratch team who had not met each other before 11am that day, and for Charlotte who had never captained before! 

Immediately after the dry we had the wet SERC, designed by our own Bristol alumni Sophie and featuring two more Bristol alumni casualties in the pool.  The scenario for this SERC was Jimothy’s pool birthday party gone wrong, with the added element of each team member having to wear shorts and a top into the SERC, which we were free to do with as we liked once the SERC had begun. Although there were some ‘typical’ casualties such as locked swimmers and a panicking swimmer, the challenges for this SERC proved to be rescuing them from the water – the only aid we had was a giant inflatable crocodile (and potentially our tops and shorts) which both the locked swimmers and the panicking swimmer required to be rescued to the side of the pool.  Also in the pool was a seizure casualty who went unconscious and required towing to the side, a non-panicking swimmer who could swim to the side with encouragement, and a body on the bottom of the pool representing an unconscious, non-breathing child whose role was as the missing brother of one of the party guests.  In the wet SERC, D Team came 23rd, C Team came 18th, and B Team came 15th in the overall results.  Birmingham’s SERCs tested all our teams but the A Team managed them both with expertise, winning 1st place out of all the teams in both the wet and the dry!

After the SERCs finished, we moved onto our speed events.  First we had rope throw where the different ropes we had to use challenged all the competitors, with only eight teams across the competition managing to finish the race.  After rope throw, we had manikin carry – a 4x25m sprint relay towing a full manikin.  Our final event was the swim-tow relay, requiring each team member to sprint 50m and then tow one of their team members a further 50m.  Across these two relays both C and B Team were consistent in their performance, getting 18th and 10th in manikin carry respectively, then 16th and 10th again in swim-tow. 

Once the competition was over, we had results which revealed that the A Team came an incredible 2nd in the Overall results, and 1st place in the A League! Within the Overall results, Bristol D came 19th, C Team came 20th, and the B team came 15th.  The last competition of 2019 was a successful one!

Bristol A Team (minus Cas) with their winning medals!

Bristol Competition 16th November 2019

Celebrations in the pool after a successful competition!

The third competition of the season was none other than Bristol comp, our home competition and therefore expectations were high. Weeks of planning by our club member Maisie had finally come to reality as teams started arriving into isolation, ready for the competition to begin. Bristol had a large representation at the competition, with 5 current teams and our alumni coming back to form their own team as Bristol Old Boys. The captains were called for their briefing and the competition started with the dry SERC, written by another alumni, Gaby. This was set in a factory where teams waited outside until they were called into the factory by a scream. Casualties included a non-breathing adult that needed CPR, an internal bleed and a seizure. Bristol teams were able to tackle this with ease, with Bristol A winning the SERC, Bristol Old Boys coming 2nd and Bristol D placing 6th. Next, we moved onto the wet SERC. This was set at an aerobics class that had been moved to the shallow pool due to tiling work happening in the main pool. Casualties consisted of a foot bleed, chest pains and an unconscious non-breathing builder who had been sent to fix the pool tiles halfway through the SERC. Again, this scenario was handled well by Bristol with the A team once again winning this SERC, and the Old Boys coming 4th, showing Bristol domination. Next, it was time for speeds with rope throw kicking things off. Bristol A showed the rest of the competition how it was done by winning this event making it their third event win of the day! The Old Boys showed they still had it by finishing closely behind them with 2nd place. After this, we moved onto medley. This was another strong event for Bristol teams with the A team placing 9th, the C team placing 12th and the B team placing 13th. Finally we ended with Swim and Tow. The A team didn’t falter, giving a strong performance and finishing 3rd. These strong results saw the A team win the competition and the A league, the Old Boys finishing 3rd overall, the D team coming 18th, the C team coming 20th, the B team finishing 25th and the E team finishing in 27th place. We celebrated our successes with an out of this world social at LUNA which saw Bristol dominate the dance floor. We all throughly enjoyed this competition, a huge thank you to Maisie for organising it and making it the success it was! We look forward to the next competition at Birmingham to keep up our fantastic results!

Bristol A winning 1st place overall
Bristol Old Boys with their 3rd place BOB trophies

Sheffield Competition 9th November 2019

Bristol on poolside after finishing the competition

The second competition of the season took place in Sheffield. As this is the furthest competition away, it meant another early start on Saturday to take on the long drive up. When teams had arrived and had settled into isolation, we felt confident that we could match or even beat our fantastic results from the previous competition. The captains left for their briefing and the day started with Bristol B heading out to tackle the SERCs, followed by Bristol A. The dry scenario took place in a lab at the University of Sheffield where a disaster had occurred. Casualties included an amputated finger, a chemical burn and a tour guide that went unconscious if not treated. Both Bristol teams excelled in this situation, with Bristol B winning the dry SERC and Bristol A closely following with 3rd place! Next, the wet SERC. This took place at a lake where swimmers, including a family had got themselves into difficulties. Casualties in this SERC included a head bleed, an unconscious non-breathing child and someone who had heatstroke. Again, this situation was no problem for Bristol lifesavers, with Bristol A producing another 3rd place and Bristol B just behind in 6th place. After some successful SERC solving from both teams, it was time to move onto speeds and Bristol lifesavers showed no signs of weakness. Bristol A won the rope throw with an impressive time of 1 minute and 27 seconds! Bristol B also showed a strong performance with all team members successfully throwing their ropes to their casualties. After this came the medley relay, the first time this event had been tackled this season. This consists of 4 different elements. The first of these is a 50m sprint, followed by a 50m swim with fins, then a 50m sprint with a torp which the third swimmer transfers to the fourth swimmer who swims with fins and the torp while towing the third swimmer. To make this complicated event even harder, due to the longer length of the Sheffield pool, each length was elongated to 33m, adding an extra 16m to each section of the relay. This didn’t phase the Bristol lifesavers who mastered this event, with both teams coming in the top 10! Finally, we competed in swim and tow. Again, the length of the Sheffield pool made this a taxing process yet the teams rose the the challenge, with Bristol A finishing 3rd and Bristol B finishing 9th. The day had been a huge success for both teams and they were both rewarded for their efforts. Bristol B managed to place 2nd in the B league while Bristol A came 3rd in the A league and overall! With the competition at its end, it meant an evening of celebrating with the other BULSCA teams at Pop Tarts before returning back to Bristol, feeling pleased and proud of the performance they had shown. 

Bristol A (and Bristol A alumni) with their 3rd place medals
Bristol B with their 2nd place medals

Nottingham Competition 26th October 2019

Bristol after finishing Swim and Tow

After only a month of training, 16 Bristol lifesavers, including 7 new recruits headed to Nottingham where the first competition of the season was held. We had an early start but that didn’t damper our spirits as when we arrived the mood was high and excitement filled the isolation room. The captains left for their briefing of what the day was to entail and the competition started with the first Freshers team, Bristol C heading out to start their SERCs. They were closely followed by Bristol D and Bristol B, the second Freshers team. With their SERCs completed, Bristol B, C and D watched the other university teams puzzle through the wet scenario, getting tips and enjoying the casualties background stories. A highlight was the love story between 2 casualties that eventually went on to become engaged! Soon, it was time for Bristol A to take part, masterfully completing the dry SERC, consisting of casualties that had taken part in a meeting that had been interrupted by a criminal who had injured someone before falling unconscious themselves. Casualties also included a diabetic, a choking person and even a baby that needed CPR. Next, they headed for the wet scenario. They found swimmers who had headed to a lake that had got themselves into difficulty, including locked swimmers, a hypothermic casualty and someone with a spinal injury. Luckily the Bristol Lifesavers were on hand to help and managed to put their skills into use. A special mention to Bristol A and B who managed to retrieve the Body on the Bottom. With these completed, the speeds started. First up was rope throw. Teams threw a rope 12 meters to their team member who would retrieve it, be pulled in and do the same thing to the next member until all were out safely. Shoutout to Bristol D who smashed their rope relay, managing to get 3 people to the side. Next, manakin carry. Teams swam with an orange manakin, passing them onto the next team member until all had swam. We were pleased to see that all our teams did an excellent job of this, especially our Freshers who tackled this tricky event for the first time. The finale was Swim and Tow. Teams took turns in towing each other, competing for the fastest tow. Special mention to Bristol B, who were neck and neck with a Warwick team, for overtaking them at the last second for a victory! Bristol then headed for the results and a well deserved social. Bristol A came 2nd overall and Bristol B came 3rd in the B league with Bristol C and D also doing us proud with their fantastic results. Finally, we participated in a ceilidh, which was energetic but an amazing way to end a successful competition. We thoroughly enjoyed competing at Nottingham and can not wait until Sheffield where Bristol will continue to excel!

Bristol A with their 2nd Place Medals
Bristol B with their 3rd Place Medals

Officially the 2nd best uni for Lifesaving in the UK

After Bristol’s Lifesaving teams most successful season to date we are now officially ranked 2nd in the BULSCA league for 2018-2019. We have had an incredibly successful year, we now say goodbye to some of our older members but look forward to welcoming the a new cohort to take Lifesaving in Bristol to new heights. As Bristol’s most successful watersport, we are hoping to expand both our dry and wet training sessions to allow us to reach even better results in both the A and B league.

But first we look forward to going to the sports awards ceremony and our annual weekend away to London.

Interested in joining UBLSC? Message the club on our Social media!

Bristol Comp 2017