Video: Double BUCS triumph for Sheffield Hallam swimmer Max - plus climbers Tara and Billy strike gold
Sheffield's finest student athletes proved they are among the best in the country as they produced a series of impressive performances and claimed a host of medals at this year's BUCS Nationals.
The UK’s largest annual multi-sport event saw thousands of athletes descended on Sheffield once more this year with the city’s athletes more-than holding their own on home turf.
Among the best of the performances was Sheffield Hallam swimmer Max Litchfield, who swam to double gold at Ponds Forge in both the 200m and 400m individual medley.
And Litchfield believes it was the perfect way to kick off his long course season after struggling with injury since late last year.
“I’ve had a bit of a problem with my hip recently so to go in there and do well was great because I only started swimming breaststroke last weekend,” he said.
“I had an inflation on my pubic bone so I’ve not been doing breaststroke really since BUCS short course so it’s been a while.
“It’s on its way to being better now, it’s getting there but it’s not 100 per cent yet but I feel good.
“I came here just wanting to nail the skills really and I feel like I did pretty well with the skills in there so I’m just going to keep moving forward.”
There was success on the track too with Penny Andrews winning 60m ambulant gold while Nicholas Cole took pole vault silver at the English Institute of Sport.
In the ring there was a brilliant gold for Sheffield Hallam boxer Rys Lewicki, who made light work of Lee Jenkins in the final of 69-75kg Open competition.
And at the Climbing Works the city’s climbers showed they are the best in the country as Tara Hayes and Billy Ridal both took individual gold medals and combined to give Sheffield Hallam the team victory.
“I’m really, really pleased, I didn’t really know much about the university competitions when I came into Sheffield Hallam this year so winning BUCS nationals is really cool,” said Ridal.
“It is the competition to win, we have had a few other competitions but they are a bit less serious but this one everyone has their game faces on and are gunning for it.
“I was really pleased with my performance, I was a bit shaky through qualifiers, I was really nervous, but in the finals I was more calm and the blocks suited my style more and I managed to complete all three which is really pleasing, it is not that often that you actually get to the top of everything in a final so I am happy to have achieved that.”
* British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. Partnered by Deloitte, BUCS supports athletes from a grass roots level through to Commonwealth and Olympic Games hopefuls www.bucs.org.uk