UEA Swimming have been forced from the upcoming Derby Day programme due to the absence of an important component of the day – the opposition. The ‘Essex Blades’ swimming team, who normally represent Essex University at swimming competitions, have suffered from a certain bluntness this year, failing to even have access to training facilities for the first half of the academic year.
After a difficult start to the 14/15 season, Essex have a new president and training times, and a rebuilt team. Despite this however, as their president explained: “we are nowhere near ready for any championship”. Indeed, having pulled out of last week’s BUCS Longcourse championships, Essex have decided to “spend this term building and establishing teams and preparing… for the next academic year”.
UEA Swimming’s Vice President, Simon Tate, said that he was “disappointed” by the decision, which means that Derby Day will now not feature swimming until at least 2017, as Essex University, which will host next year’s tournament, does not have a pool. Derby Day last featured a duel in the pool in 2012, hosted at UEA, where Essex failed to notch up a single individual win as they crashed to defeat. Tate said that he remembered this as one of his “best university memories” that would stay with him “for the rest of his life”.