On April 10th, thousands of Swansea University students will descend on Cardiff for the most hotly awaited event of the year- Welsh Varsity. For most students, Varsity preparations may include lining stomachs, finishing any assignments, and stocking up on green and white glitter. However, for the athletes representing Swansea University, the preparations have been far more rigorous and started months ago.
This year the Netball team have been doing everything they can to ensure that they are ready for the challenge awaiting them, spurred on by the close defeat of last year. The team have taken new measures to help improve their performances.
Most notably- the strength and conditioning sessions conducted by Gareth Beer, coupled with the Netball and interval sessions, have forged a new balance in the training regime for the team, something that they are hoping will propel them to the next level.
In addition to the incredibly important physical sessions, the team are also focusing on team-bonding. The girls have been working hard to improve their cohesive nature which should help the team to operate in high-pressure situations in addition to allowing the team to execute complicated team-moves with ease.
Women’s Rugby are looking to win for the third year in a row against strong competition, Cardiff. Women’s Rugby 1sts have this season been promoted to the Premier South Division, meaning they have had competitive fixtures every week, and have performed fantastically.
The team is part of a High-Performance Group, an initiative set-up by the university to help high-achieving sports teams, and have kept up with a tough but rewarding training schedule with weekly early-morning fitness and weight-lifting sessions, on top of multiple training sessions each week.
Captain Jess McCreery says the team is focused and ambitious and hopes to continue the team’s winning streak.
The Swansea University Equestrian team will be competing at Triley Fields Equestrian Centre in Abergavenny. The Swansea outfit, consisting of 8 members, will be striving for glory in the annual event for the third year in succession.
The team have been striving to put themselves in the best position and condition for the event, utilising a myriad of training techniques to ensure that all involved are in the best condition to be successful. Preparation consists of rigorous weekly sessions at the team’s headquarters in Dinefwr, Ammanford where each team member is performing to the best of their ability ready for the big day.
These sessions are important for the physical challenge and have also benefited the squad by allowing them to further bond as a cohesive unit, creating the platform for them to push each other to be the very best they can be.
These weekly sessions, combined with weekly Pilate sessions to improve strength and flexibility, add an extra dimension to the already phenomenal Swansea University Equestrian team, that will be hoping to complete the treble at this year’s Varsity fixture.
The Kickboxing Club is going for their third win in three years. Having won the last two fixtures, the Swansea Club is looking like favourites for Varsity this year.
To prepare, the club are taking training and development very seriously. The Club Captain, Will Ashwood, says the fighters have shown “great dedication” whilst also developing a great “passion and love for the sport”.
This year the Captain says the build-up towards the Varsity has definitely put the club in “good stead for another victory”.
The Athletics team are the team to watch in this year’s Varsity with the team last year scoring the greatest point total in all Varsity events.
The aim is for the team to retain their crown from last year’s Varsity and build on their physical and mental condition, which they have done by introducing new intensive training and conditioning sessions.
Hopefully, the team will put the Cardiff squad through their paces at the Outdoor track at the Sports Village, and bring home the victory that their preparation deserves.
For this year’s Varsity performance, the Swansea Sirens will be performing dressed in their new uniforms designed by club Captain Sasha Theobalds. The routine has been in the pipeline since January, undergoing rigorous planning and innovation.
The Varsity performance is the biggest in the club’s calendar and something the athletes have been working hard on. This year, the team say their performance will be the most creative and ambitious yet.
Due to the non-competitive nature of the performance, the show will be a more entertaining and fun event. The final performance of the season for the Sirens is on March 16th, allowing for any training afterwards to be focused on their performance at Varsity.
For the third consecutive year, the Swansea Sailing club is primed for the win against Cardiff on their home waters. Sailing is one of the most successful Swansea teams at Varsity, and they have been preparing throughout the season with this important fixture in mind.
The team have improved this year by sharpening the focus of training sessions to tactics and communication skills.
This combined with the extraordinary support from the entire club and University, the Sailing team are hoping to end the season with a well deserved and expected triumph.
The Swansea Rowing Club have been taking Varsity preparations to the next level this year, going to great lengths- both figuratively and literally- to prepare the team for the event.
The Team travelled to Totnes in Devon for a week of intense training and received professional coaching from the Dart Totnes Rowing Club giving the team a new and improved edge. This training session was conducted at the end of January and since this, the team have continued their intensive training schedule, with the senior team training up to seven times a week, including both water and land sessions.
The athletes have shown great commitment and effort levels illustrating how much the boat means to them. The preparations have never looked so positive, and the team hope the performance levels shown in training translates to a successful Varsity for the Rowing team.
This year the Swansea Hockey Club are striving to throw everything at Cardiff in this year’s Varsity Fixture. This fixture is the focus for most of the club’s season and this year they are implementing a high-pressure training camp two weeks before the event.
The team say that these training sessions will involve a lot of “stick and ball” sessions to perfect their already phenomenal skill and make sure of tactical intricacies. The team bonding and fitness sessions will also be vigorous to prepare them for the physical challenge. Conor Baverstock the 1st team Captain said that the team have had a “very good season overall, so we know going into this year’s Varsity that the pressure is off”.
Baverstock adds that winning Varsity would “complete a near perfect season”.
by Harvey Stanton