From Fresher to President
Friday, 15 November 2019
Brookes Sport Ambassador, Will Marsh, talks about his journey from starting as a new student at Brookes to being selected as the president of the Swim team
I have always swum - ever since I was child - and began competing when I reached my teens. I have always loved the sport and always wanted to go faster - even if I was just competing against myself.
When I came to Oxford Brookes, I was extremely interested in becoming a member of the Swimming Team but had absolutely no idea of what I was getting into when I signed up for the club at the sports fair…
A few days later when I attended trials I was so nervous that I wasn’t going to make the team that I almost didn’t show up. I left that night thinking I hadn’t made it, and that my times weren’t fast enough.
The very next day I received an email from the team’s Captain letting me know I made the competitive team, and that training started that same evening! At the time I was feeling nervous and anxious, but more importantly, I felt proud that I had managed to make the cut of the competitive team, despite a lack of swimming during the previous summer!
During my first season in the team I had the opportunity to represent the university at a number of events, such as the BUCS Short Course and Long Course Championships. At my first BUCS event, (Short Course Championships), I wanted to swim well. The build-up to the championships, I knew what times I wanted, and what I needed to do to get those times. I was training extra hours, sometimes swimming twice a day. All the hard work paid off, as I ended the championships with multiple personal bests, which also allowed me to qualify for extra regional and national qualifying events!
At our end of season meal, the Captain announced who was going to be on the committee for the following season, and completely out of the blue the standing committee gave me the position of Vice-Captain! This news felt the same when I was accepted onto the team, I was immensely proud, however, I did feel anxious about wanting to do the job well!
Ahead of the start of the new season I became incredibly motivated. I wanted to swim more and more, and train harder than I had ever done! Unfortunately, just before our first competitive meet against Oxford University I tore a muscle in my back, after trying to train extra hard, by swimming for longer at a harder pace, using heavier weights than what I normally use. This injury meant that I was unable to train for the next 5 months which took me out for the rest of the season.
Not only being unable to compete, or even train, was an incredible low moment in my life, as it felt like I was unable to do my job as Vice-Captain.
Despite the injury I still wanted the team to do well, so instead of missing out on training sessions and BUCS events, I volunteered to coach instead and helped to get the team ready for any competitions that we had during the year. Being unable to train, made me feel that I would distant myself from the team, and the team might get unmotivated, and hence would not swim as well as I knew they could. This showed at our Short Course Championships, where the our relay teams had almost broken the OBUSC relay record from the previous teams over the year.
The end of season meal came around again and with it the new Captain announced the new committee positions. Next year would be the first that the club would have a President. I was shocked to hear that they had chosen me! At first, I was unable if I should accept the role, especially after missing the previous season, so I felt that I didn’t get to properly prove myself as a swimmer. However, after speaking to the Captain, as well as my first Captain when I was a fresher, I gladly accepted the role.
Since I became President I found the motivation that I had from the previous year. But this time I also wanted to help motivate new students as the transition into University life isn’t the simplest and it can be easy to lose the love for the sport you spend most of your life training far.
This is the reason I wanted to become a Sports Ambassador - to show to others that it is possible to study, socialise and train, but more importantly, to have fun!
The swimming club offers so much, and welcomes everyone into the team, whether you’re at national competition level, or you’ve have never swum before. The time I have spent on the team has been unforgettable and has helped to make my time at university so amazing!