The inaugural Oxford vs Cambridge Henley Open Water Swim was founded last year, as part of the infamous Henley Classic Swim which began way back in 1892. The event is an upstream swim in the river Thames, taking place along the 2.1km rowing course of the Henley Royal Regatta- the home of rowing that is renowned worldwide. This varsity match therefore is also intertwined with rowing; the sport that the university is infamous for. In fact, the boat club president of 1982 insisted on a club to promote swimming after the sad drowning of a student in the Isis.
After Oxford’s victory at the first ever open water varsity, with both men’s and women’s team defeating their Cambridge counterparts, this year developments have been made to raise the profile of the event. Along with a student team, there is also an alumni team, and a mob match of swimmers who wanted to take part and support Oxford. Early in Trinity term, we held trials at Queenford lakes to select the fastest four men and four women for both the student and alumni teams.
Hugo Flemming: Corpus Christi
Dan Manners: Oriel
Luke Sperry: Christ Church
Pietro Bennetti Genolini: Corpus Christi
Laura Fenwick: Lady Margaret Hall
Naomi Vides: Hertford
Rosa Christie-Lowe: Queens
Millie Marsden (captain): St Peter’s
The event begins at 4:30am as the swim was traditionally held as a celebration of high summer, it is a ‘sunrise swim’. The mob match wave goes first, followed by the student and alumni races at around 5:30am.