Varsity Match 2022

After a break due to the pandemic, Varsity was finally back for gymnastics this year!

On Sunday 6th of March, our Oxford gymnasts headed to Marriott’s Gymnastics Club, in Stevenage to compete against Cambridge University Olympic Gymnastics Club and see who would be crowned the winners of Varsity 2022! This was the first Gymnastics Varsity for many of our gymnasts, and everyone was thrilled for what was ahead!

It would not be a competition day without unexpected delays, which this time manifested in waiting to get hold of the rented minivan. Worry not though, as Oxford gymnasts would take advantage of any situation to stretch out and practice some skills. In fact, most of the MAG A Team creatively made a virtue out of necessity, finding a rather unconventional beam to practice arabesques. Were they considering a last minute swap with our WAG team?

Ben, James, Ollie and David showing off graceful arabesques.

Coach Chris came to the rescue and our gymnasts ultimately arrived in Stevenage! With little time before the start of the competition, we swiftly headed to the floor for some general warm-up and the first rotation started shortly after! The Oxford WAG A team began on balance beam as their first apparatus, where they all showed some solid and elegant routines: Lucy had everyone jaw-dropping with her mount and Susanna did a beautiful dismount. Kudos to Olivia, who had unfortunately injured her ankle the day before, but still competed and gave a clean performance.

In the meantime, Ed put up a good show on pommel horse for the Oxford’s MAG B team! It’s always great to chat with gymnasts after an apparatus and hear that they are happy of their own performance. Ed also excelled on floor, with sky-high and well-executed front and back somersaults that received cheers from all. With some help from MAG judge and Oxford alumni Grant Cox-Sehmi, Max decided it would be a good time not only to debut his handspring vault, but to pull out a parallel bars routine also! Jonas did not let his team down, delivering a beautiful floor routine and a smashing his vault to everyone’s delight!

Benedetta and Lisa cheering for the WAG A team during their beam routines!

It soon came time also for our WAG B team to show off their beam performances. Lina captivated us all with a clean and graceful performance. Although it was the first time competing on beam for Benedetta, Kiera, Lisa and Miriam, they gave all they’d got and kept their balance and composure all the way through.

We then were back with the WAG A team on the floor, where we saw amazing performances: Anne’s elegant routine, with clean tumbling and superb split jumps, Amelia’s strong routine which landed a beautiful front somersault and splits. Susanna displayed her amazing acro skills and Lucy’s astonishing floor routine is always a crowd-pleaser!

Olivia, Susanna and Anne showing support to the WAG B gymnasts!

The MAG A team started with floor and all the guys showed a variety of elements in their routines. James showed his impressive tumbling connections and although getting injured at the end of his routine, he pushed through to compete on all remaining apparatuses! We were thrilled and so proud to see Ollie land both of his tsukahara vaults for the first time in competition. David was in peak performance and performed well on all apparatus, with a great straight tsukahara on vault and a neat floor routine.

The whole MAG A team delivered excellent performances on Rings. Ben’s difficult and well-crafted routine placed him miles ahead of the competition on this apparatus. It also seems Ben had been hiding a secret talent all year as he stunned everyone with a solid high bar routine he made on the day! Our president Lewis impressed us all on high bar and our captain Koziell delivered great routines on both rings and pommel horse.

Elise and Rosie represented Oxford Brookes for the Oxford Guest team – Rosie marvellous half-on vault was cheered by everyone and Elise delivered a fresh and energetic floor routine. Jess also managed to join us and delivered an elegant floor routine after returning from abroad the same day!

The competition ended with the WAG B team floor performances! It was great to see such a variety of styles — Miriam amazed everyone with her unsupported Y-balance, which showed great control. We never get tired of seeing Lina’s routine, which perfectly balances dance elements with impeccable tumbling, and Lisa showed us a beautiful routine with sophisticated dance elements. Floor is a great apparatus for everyone to show their unique style and we went from the ballet-inspired routine of Benedetta to the up-beat and catchy routine of Kiera.

And so the day passed by and we reached the end of the competition! Unfortunately Cambridge got the better of it, although the WAG B team was only 2.50 points away from Cambridge! And we had some outstanding results in the individual all-arounds: David got 3rd place for MAG A team and Ed got 3rd place for MAG B team! Huge congratulations to Lucy and Lina who were at the top of the podium respectively for WAG A and WAG B individual all-arounds!

We are so proud of all the results achieved by our gymnasts and we are sure to get in top gear for the next Varsity. Well done also to the Cambridge team and thank you to the judges and the Cambridge committee for arranging such an eventful and joyful day!