Thursday 3 April 2014
QMBL swimming club is one of the University’s most social sports clubs, involving both Queen Mary and Barts London students in its training, competitions and socials. The club is made up of around 35 members and meets for two sessions every week, on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings, at the local Mile End Leisure Centre, just down the road from QM’s Mile End campus.
All members are chosen at the beginning of each academic year through time trials, meaning that the standards of the club are high and its members are dedicated. New members are welcome, but should be aware that previous swimming experience is needed, either as competitive swimmers or as a committed member of another club. The club are working with Queen Mary Student Union (QMSU) to introduce swimming into the ‘Get Active’ program for the next academic year, meaning that swimmers have the opportunity to swim casually without joining the club.
Members are split into two squads, and while everyone in the team has passed through time trials the top 16-20 swimmers are selected for the competition squad. The competition squad have an A and a B team and take part in competitive events to represent the club. The fitness squad are swimmers who have been part of a swimming club previously and wish to keep up their fitness levels through training. Movement between fitness and competition squads is frequent and encouraged!
The club take part in about four competitions a year, including three London league galas which take place during the course of the academic year against Kings College, Imperial College, UCL and Royal Holloway. They also get invited to an annual competition against Cambridge University as well as other top clubs. This year they have taken part in the Merger Cup for the first time ever. They are keen to enter even more university open meets next year.
The club tries to strike a balance between hard work during training, and fun and relaxation during socials. They aim to have socials at least every other week and they have some members who are social members only. The majority of the club’s activities are based in QM’s Drapers.
Holly Miles, president of the club, says: ‘Being involved with the club has improved my experience of QM because swimming is a great way to relax if you are stressed and it is a fantastic way to keep fit! We don’t have a massive amount of members and so are a very tightly knit team. We have a great team atmosphere even at training so you forget that you are exercising quite hard and enjoy yourself instead. People on the team actually look forward to coming to training and seeing their friends and pushing themselves physically.’