Wednesday 25th April 2018 saw Swansea play host to Cardiff in the biggest sporting event of the University calendar – Varsity! Varsity saw the events which took place before Wednesday 25th, as well as the events at the Sports Village next door to Singleton Campus, the events on Bay Campus, and of course the grand finale of the Men’s Rugby match at Liberty Stadium in the evening.
Going into the day’s events, it certainly looked extremely positive for Swansea, who had already succeeded in five events, including Equestrian, Cycling, and Kickboxing, and a draw overall for the Boxing which took place on Monday 23rd April in the Refectory on Singleton Campus. As the day progressed at the Sports Village, Cardiff slowly but surely, claimed victory of the Varsity shield. Having never myself been to the annual Varsity event, it was difficult to know what to expect from the day. However, it certainly did not disappoint in the slightest. In terms of the final scores of the day, our sports teams here in Swansea did claim victory in several of the day’s events – Athletics and Golf to begin with, and American Football which culminated in a score of 42 to the Swansea Titans to 2 to the Cardiff Cobras. Four women’s teams also scored Swansea points towards this year’s Varsity shield – the Women’s Tennis, Women’s Hockey, and Women’s Ultimate Frisbee, as well as the Women’s Rugby team, who of course were victorious in the 2017 Varsity tournament where they played at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. It was perhaps disappointing that they were not playing at the same venue as the Men’s Rugby again this year. Furthermore, the Women’s Football result was a draw between Swansea and Cardiff, as was the Men’s Football and the Canoe Polo event held in the Wales National Pool. Further Swansea victories at the Sports Village throughout the day included Swimming and Men’s Volleyball.
Despite Swansea losing the Varsity shield this year to Cardiff, teams on both sides displayed such brilliant sportsmanship. This was, I think, especially proven in the case of the Men’s Fencing. One of the members of Swansea’s Fencing team is the brother of one of Cardiff’s Fencing team. From spectating the Men’s Fencing, the respect that the two teams had for each other was clear to see. Our Waterfront team were also fortunate enough to have some of the rules of Fencing explained to us by a member of the Cardiff Fencing team, who was more than happy to impart knowledge onto us. A heart-warming and incredible moment at the end of the Men’s Fencing event – despite a Swansea loss to Cardiff – was both teams doing a little cheer for each other.
The overall atmosphere among the fans at Varsity was intense. With some – shall we say, interesting – chants going on from both the green supporters and the red supporters at the Netball, for example, proved that the sportsmanship displayed by the competitors on both sides certainly isn’t always emulated with the fans and spectators. A group of supporters at the Swimming event in the afternoon however turned up armed with cardboard posters and pictures in support of their friend who was competing in the event and witnessing the sea of green and red t-shirt cladded supporters turn out to support their sports teams was amazing.
Overall, the Varsity events at the Sports Village were thrilling to watch. Despite the Green and White Army (GWA18) of Swansea University unfortunately losing 2018’s Varsity Shield to the Cardiff University sports teams, all of our teams competed exceptionally well. Months and months of hard work and training goes into Varsity; this is what we have found out from a lot of our pre-Varsity articles for Waterfront. Naturally, there’s bound to be some disappointment, however, as the famous saying goes – it’s the taking part that counts!
by Emily Maybanks