by Charlie McLeod
I first joined the Swansea Swans Quidditch Team after noticing the stall at Freshers Fayre. I knew quidditch as the sport played in the Harry Potter books and was intrigued as to how it could be played in real life – and as a full contact mixed gender sport too. As soon as I joined, I found myself among a great group of people who I would later call my teammates.
The game itself is divided into four positions – chaser, keeper, beater and seeker, with four balls – three dodgeballs (the bludgers), and a volleyball (the quaffle). The chasers pass the quaffle between themselves with the aim to score by putting the quaffle through one of the opposing team’s hoops while defending their own hoops, with a scored hoop counting for ten points. The keeper plays a similar role but with extra privileges such as being immune to tackles and beats in their zone (the area a few metres either side of the hoops). The beaters can throw their bludgers at opposing players and if hit, a player is considered ‘beat’ and must dismount their broom (take their broom from between their legs), run back and touch their own hoops before they can remount and continue playing. The snitch is represented by a neutral player dressed in yellow with a tennis ball in a sock stuck to the back of their shorts. To end the game a seeker must pull the snitch tail from the shorts of the snitch runner, scoring thirty points in the process.
Quidditch began as a sport at Middlebury College in Vermont, USA, in 2005. In 2016, 21 teams participated in the Frankfurt IQA World Cup, including our own Team UK. The Swansea team started more than three years ago and we have steadily climbed the UK rankings. As we are in the Southern region, we compete at the Southern Cup every November to qualify for the British Quidditch Cup (BQC), traditionally held around March. At BQC this year, we ranked fourteenth out of the thirty-two teams that qualified. Alongside these national tournaments, we also take part in the South West League, which last year comprised of the two Bristol teams, Bath, Falmouth and Exeter, where we managed to take third place. This year, the League has expanded to include fourteen teams and has been split into two divisions. Based on our performance in BQC, Swansea has made Division 1 with our first fixture happening at home against Bristol on the 28th October.
Being part of Swansea Quidditch has been a huge part of my life during my time at university. One month on from joining the society in 2015, I was competing with the team at Southern Cup against some of the best teams in the South. Two years later, this November, I will be competing in my third Southern Cup as Vice-Captain and Logistics Manager for the team and I am very excited! It has been great for both my physical and mental health as it keeps me occupied and fit, as well as helping me meet new people from across the quidditch community.
So, if you are interested in joining us this year, we meet outside Fulton House on Wednesdays at 1pm and Sundays at 2pm to go to training. Also come and find us on our Facebook Page, Swansea Swans, or on Twitter @TheSevenSwans.