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Who doesn’t love constantly smelling of chlorine? That wasn’t the only reason that Lydia Smith, swimming club captain, gave for choosing swimming as a sport.

With the swimming varsity coming up on the 4th March 2017, I met up with Lydia on what seemed to be the warmest Wednesday of February so far, where we spoke about the club’s fundraising events in the run up for varsity and recent BUCS successes. In hindsight, the clear skies were probably a missed opportunity for a quick dip in the cornwall house pool.

The important psychological benefits of swimming presented the sport as a great way to ‘de-stress’

Our conversation started off casualy, as we spoke about the benefits of being involved in sports, especially at University, where our stress levels can reach an unexpected peak quite quickly. Lydia highlighted the importance of sports, as she’s ben a member of the swimming club for the past four years, throughout both her undergraduate degree and masters.

The important psychological benefits of swimming presented the sport as a great way to ‘de-stress’ in a ‘social atmosphere, where you can be an individual in the pool as you can dive in and forget about everything else.’ Lydia also mentioned the physical benefits of swimming, as the sport itself uses most of someone’s muscles during exercise.

In contrast to other AU sports clubs at Exeter, the swimming varsity is less competitive and more of an enjoyable experience

With 4pm ends to our short spanned sunlit days, being active in sports was discussed as a great way to ‘get out the house, release some energy, and to see your friends.’ Lydia mentioned how the community oriented atmosphere that swimming creates lasts far beyond members’ time at university as alumni come down for the club’s Christmas dinner and for varsity.

The swimming club’s varsity involves athletes from Bristol, Bath, and Falmouth who will be coming down for a friendly day of competitions and socialising. Prior to varsity, the club held a bake sale in the forum, where a total of £149 was raised. Similarly, they hosted a pub quiz on Sunday 26 February and are running a charity fun run, in collaboration with the windriders club, on the 1st March in order to raise money for ‘cardiac arrest in the young,’ which is the club’s chosen charity this year.

In contrast to other AU sports clubs at Exeter, the swimming varsity is less competitive and more of an enjoyable experience, that aims to include as many members as possible. Lydia mentioned that it’s one of the most important cub events in a year that ‘members always look forward to.’

The charity MIND that swimming raised money for

Last year, the swimming club’s chosen charity for their varsity was ‘MIND,’ where the club successfully raised £1629.72. Lydia couldn’t have been more excited about the amazing line up of events in preparation for the varsity and mentioned that she ‘hope[s] the club can raise even more this year.’

Briefly touching upon the swimming team’s successes at the BUCS long- course, where the club’s national successes were almost too good to not praise! The club was able to see one of their athletes, Dominic Wooldbridge make it to the men’s finals for the 100m fly event, securing a silver medal. Similarly, Dayna Riordan reached the women’s finals for 50m breastroke and the women’s IM relay team was successful in reaching the B finals of the competitions. Overall, swimmers broke six club records over the weekend of 17-19 February. Lydia emphasised the versatility of swimming, which includes ‘both and team aspects to the sport.’

Upcoming events for the club also include the BUCS team championships on the 17-19th March, where an A team and B team are entered. This event is probably as inclusive as it can get, as it’s not exclusively catered for the BUCS squad. My chat with Lydia was a great example of bringing awareness to the inclusivity and excitement of sports that aren’t always in the public eye, not to mention that being half naked and permanently wet is probably as exciting as it can for a sport.

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