Are we ready for Varsity? – Find out what the captains have to say

by Meryl Hanmer

RIFLE: Glen Dighton
How have you been preparing for Varsity?
Trials for the Varsity team are usually straightforward and now have a good idea of people’s average scores from the winter semester competitions. We have been pushing our top shooters with intensive training days and scrutinising everything from the ground up.

Anything that you’re anxious about?
There is plenty to be anxious about this year! Cardiff has 2 Great British Shooting members, Welsh national team members and attracts world class coaching. With a bit more training and a bit of luck, we could pull this off!

What are your score predictions?
It’s going to be an uphill struggle this year. With our cold-war era, damaged rifles, we made 6th in the UK. This match is going to be close. I predict that we’ll win the novice category and put in a decent score of around 1130 out of 1200 with the seniors. Whether we come out on top or not is something we must wait and see.

CYCLING: Kacper Gorski
How have you been preparing for Varsity?
Twice a week race training, averaging 24 mph and then another two endurance rides each week. Most riders are aiming to do about 100 mile weeks.

Anything that you’re anxious about?
We’re racing the new Carmarthen race track on the 18th April, it’s a great facility but we’ve never ridden there before so we will see how the track length affects the event.

What are your score predictions?
Having won the previous four events we are feeling confident but will still be keeping an eye on certain Cardiff riders, Also, choosing from an eligible batch of forty riders for only fifteen spots is very tough. We’re also fielding for a women’s team for the first time which is a huge step in the right direction.
ARCHERY: Matt Butler
How have you been preparing for Varsity?
We have been pushed for time prepping for Varsity this year, with so many competitions over the past few weeks. But with those out of the way it is time to start practising some head to heads to give us the best chance of success.

Anything that you’re anxious about?
I am anxious that we won’t be able to get enough practise in before April. We are shooting a different format at Varsity than to that which we normally shoot, so the more time we put in the better chance we have.

What are your score predictions?
Hopefully we should be able to come away with a win, though it could be close as some of the archers from Cardiff have been competing very well lately.

ROWING: Dominic Bright
How have you been preparing for Varsity?
The four Varsity squads started preparation several weeks ago with intense fitness and selection tests for races. April will see the squads spend a week at training camp to practice the short, explosive format of the side-by-side varsity boat race. In the build-up to the big day, final tactical preparations will be made by each squad hopefully ensuring swift victory on the river Tawe.

Anything that you’re anxious about?
I’m anxious about defending the title when the slightest mistake by any of the crew members can cost a race. However, I have absolute faith in the squads and the robust training methods used by our fantastic coach, Steven House.

What are your score predictions?
I fully anticipate us to defend our title with an overall victory for Swansea this year. Home water advantage and the knowledge of the river by our coxes gives us a fantastic opportunity to build on last year’s amazing result with a clean sweep of race victories.

EQUESTRIAN: Sarah Parry-Wright
How have you been preparing for Varsity?
We have been training weekly and competing at other universities for the BUCS competitions as well as at our competition yard.

Anything that you’re anxious about?
I am anxious for everyone to participate fairly, in a sportsmanship manner, have fun and be light hearted.

What are your score predictions?
Due to the nature of our sport it is very difficult to predict the final scores but I expect that we will beat Cardiff as we have done for the past two years.

FENCING: Euan Deamer
How have you been preparing for Varsity?
In preparation for Varsity, both myself and Nathan Potter have been going to gym sessions as part of a scholarship programme. In addition, I have been coaching the fencing team, giving lessons on technique etc.

Anything that you’re anxious about?
Honestly, I am probably a bit anxious about having the expectation of leading from the front in my role as captain.

What are your score predictions?
My brother is at Cardiff and he will also be fencing in Varsity, it is always close between us. We’ve beaten Cardiff once and they have beaten us once so it should be a close match.

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