Varsity Match 2019

On Sunday 17th February, more than twenty of Oxford’s finest gymnasts headed cross country to Marriotts Gym in Stevenage for the much-awaited 32nd Varsity Match. The competition was fierce but friendly, all teams performed really well, and the results were close.

The Women’s A team began on bars, not their favourite apparatus, but everyone competed cleanly before moving onto beam, where Kelsey Fenner built on her sixth place performance at BUCS to execute another beautiful, clean routine with a stuck backwalkover-flic series. Amelia Bowman gave a gutsy performance, competing this event for the very first time, and also delivered a really strong floor routine, showing off her fantastic flexibility and musicality; there were excellent floor scores from long standing team members Živa Alif and Katrina Kelly; and the rotation finished in the best way possible, with Women’s Captain Leanne Smith’s super leaps and crowd pleasing choreography!

On to vault and the women rounded off their competition with a clean series of handsprings and half-ons, which brought  the final scores to a nineteen point victory to Cambridge, led by three times Varsity champion Eleanor Clifford, with Fi Chang in second place, and a joint third place for Oxford teammates Leanne and Kelsey who both had clean rounds and did the dark blue team proud!

Leanne+Kelsey Medals

In the Women’s B team event, there was a clean sweep for Oxford with Jess Mason, Natalie Liu and Katie Miles taking the top three all-around places after a series of strong (and sassy) floor routines and some lovely vaults. There was excellent bar work from Tiri Hughes in her first Varsity, a vault debut from Jenelle Marcelle, and a (rare) series of stuck beam routines too!

Women's B

Ably led by Men’s Captain Alex Koziell, who set a personal best score in his fourth varsity, the Men’s A team put in a commanding and consistent performance, hunting down Cambridge, who were led by former Commonwealth gymnast Jack Neill, on every event. Grant Cox Sehmi showed his flair for pommels and contributed great scores on parallel bars and floor. Lewis Walker also demonstrated great consistency in his first Varsity and his heroics on high bar will long go down in history (for all the right reasons!). After a rather longer car journey than anticipated, Jamie Carpenter proved his mettle as a former Scottish national champion by competing fresh (from his run out of the car park) to pull out an elegant tumbling set, smooth parallel bar work, a winning rings performance, and a great full twisting Tsukahara on vault.

 

Despite training restrictions for the men on vault this term, both the A and B teams produced some lovely vaults, including a tidy Tsukahara from former captain Sid Baines (who also stormed his parallel bars and pommels sets) and stuck handsprings from experienced B team member Jack Mustafa, who placed second all-around. There were also great landings from Saad Rana and George Lee, who, in his competitive debut, went on to take bronze in the B team all around. The Men’s B team – Jack, George, Saad, Tim Riley, Rory Edwards and Anthony Poole – celebrated a magnificent victory, beating Cambridge by an impressive eighteen points; the first time an Oxford Men’s team has won at a varsity competition in living memory!

 

 

Men's AMen's B

With victories for both B teams, and great performances from the A teams (especially the Men who were within 5 points of Cambridge – exceptional considering the margin was 100 points just three years ago!), we look forward to Varsity 2020 back on home soil. Well done to everyone who participated, and thanks and congrats to the judges and the Cambridge committee for arranging a great day and a lovely meal at Zizzi’s afterwards!

Christmas Dinner & Socials!

Over my two-and-a-bit years at OU Gymnastics, I’ve learned that the people you train with are as big of a factor as the training itself.

Time spent together, both inside and outside the gym, is what motivates us to leap higher, turn faster, and become stronger. It takes the best parts of what makes us human, and uses them to burn a fire that get’s passed down from member to member, even when times change and some of us have long gone…

Without any doubt, the team would be A LOT different without our socials. From nights out, to nights in, rowdy dinners or maybe just getting together to watch cheesy gymnastics movies – pretty much anyone has some place or time that they will enjoy with us!

Our most recent was the OuGym Christmas dinner!

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Plenty of FUN (as usual) was had for the festive season. Secret Santas delivered presents to their fellow teammates. The very merry of us were given away by their rosy cheeks, and although the group who went to the club afterwards were disappointed by the lack of Christmas music, they still partied like it was Oxmas 2017!

Hope to see you at the next social!

~Ougym

Cuppers 2017!

A huge congratulations to all who came down to take part in our inter-college competition this year!

From beginners to advanced, we’re so proud of anyone and everyone who had the courage to step up to the floor or take on the vault and simply take part in such an amazing sport. You smashed it guys!

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(The victorious Queen’s Team with their cup)

This year saw a victory from Queen’s, and 2nd and third place to St Johns and Christ Church respectively. Scores, courtesy of our wonderful judges are here: Gymnastics-Cuppers-Scores-2017

We hope you all enjoyed yourselves, and that this served as a nice warm up for some of bigger, exciting competitions in Hilary such as Varsity and the Birmingham Open.

Until then, keep on flippin’!

~Ougym

2017 Photoshoot!

OUGym are coming to the end of quite honestly one of our most successful years yet. We’ve seen progress in all aspects of the club, from our massive membership increase… to top-quality displays not only in competitions, but also as stunt performers in numerous Oxford Balls.

It’s not surprising, then, that when photographer Leon Kong produced these brilliant photographs, he captured a vibrant, frivolous and close atmosphere.

Here are some, the rest can be found on our facebook page. I hope the smiles on their faces put a smile on yours!

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Here’s to another great year!

Over and Out

We’ve come to the end of a packed Hilary term and as we begin to look for a new committee, here’s a fond farewell message from our President:

Dear All,

I can’t quite believe that my time on an OU Gym Committee is coming to an end – perhaps that’s why I still feel the need to start my sentences as if I’m writing an email!

It really has been such a significant part of my degree to be part of this Club and this really is a testament to all its members. I hope, whether you’ve come down to one session or twenty or just are planning to in the future that you feel the same! You’ve been such a lovely bunch of people and have done us all proud.

This term I have to give particular congratulations to our competitive squad, who have been true dark Blue athletes in the face of adVARSITY (pun credit to Katrina). As match reports came in from Loughborough Open (15th Feb), I was struck by how supportive you all were to everyone else, and so willing to cheer each other on. There was even more of the same from BUCS (25th/26th Feb) a couple of weeks later.

And when it came to the big day, the 30th Oxford-Cambridge Varsity match, you really pulled it off. I think even Cambridge would agree with me in saying this was the highest standard of respectable, dignified and impressive gymnastics seen at a Varsity match for a long time. We’re also so happy that we had such a great crowd of spectators which made all the difference! You guys are fab.

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Team Dark Blue (or is it pink?) at Varsity 2k17

Individual mentions should go to: Beth Andrew who has led the women’s team ferociously this term, driving all over the country, she’s been a terrific organisational help, lead sessions and to top it off she brought back her own individual medal and Full Blue from Varsity. It’s also been a pleasure to have Erin Hylton on loan from the States for a year, her floor routine will never fail to wow a crowd. Highest Varsity floor score was well deserved. Caitlin, we don’t know how you rowed Torpids, got blades, and still pulled off a sterling beam routine at Varsity. Gabbie and Liza – you have both done so much for the Club and all the teams, and it was a pleasure to watch you pulling off new skills on the big day.

Women’s B team – you are such champions! Congratulations for winning such a solid victory and Shoeing Some Tabs. And extra massive well done to our medallists Leanne (GOLD) and Sadie (SILVER), who put forward such a high standard of gymnastics it’s no wonder the scores were so impressive! Jess, Yiyi and Lottie also had brilliant performances, sealing the team competition victory with style.

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Womens B team champs!

Men – what a year it’s been. It’s been a saga and a half pulling together a team, but honestly anyone who was part of this process should be really proud. Our final selection; Jamie, Sid, Alex K, Grant, Jack and James were a force to be reckoned with and had phenomenal fighting spirit. Extra congratulations to Jamie (SILVER) and Sid for year-round exciting performances, and to Alex who says after driving a full minibus, the competition was actually a relief!

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Mens BUCS squad

The Club has also loved welcoming our external training partners, who may be from the world of work, Oxford Brookes or other exciting walks of life! You add great things to the training atmosphere, but especially those who have competed with us this year (Clare-Marie, Mollie, Emma) you deserve lots of congratulations for really great form.

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Our lovely training partners

Overall, it’s been a highly memorable term and full of fun as well as competition training. Our Stick It and Stir Fry film night was one highlight, along with our lovely team dinner at the end of the year. Thank you, as ever to Nat for being an organisational queen. In the upcoming term, we’re looking forward to plenty more fun too – ball performances, trying new skills, conditioning in Uni parks with glorious weather (touch wood) and more that we probably haven’t even thought of yet. The next Committee certainly has a lot to look forward to.

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What a crazy club – we love you all! 

And with that I will be signing off, for the final time! We recently received a message from a former OU Gym president praising the Club’s recent achievements which have gone from strength to strength in the last year (her words!). I can’t tell you how much of an honour it’s been to be part of that. The outgoing committee should be really proud of themselves too. We should also give bundles of thanks to Chris, our coach, who does an unbelievable amount for the Club. We couldn’t manage without you, Chris!

I will be back soon to visit I hope – if you’ll have me!

Love and best wishes,

Serena

FIFTH WEEK BLUES

Fifth week is a notoriously difficult time in Oxford but at OU Gym we’re dispelling the gloomy weather and problem sheets with our shiny #darkblue leos! On Wednesday, five Oxford University students and two of our training partners from Oxford Brookes travelled to Leicestershire for the annual Loughborough Open and conquered their fifth week blues in style.

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Oxford Women: Gabbie, Liza, Leanne and Beth

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Brookes’ Women: Emma and Mollie

The competition was a great opportunity to test newly-learnt skills and completed routines before we head to BUCS in just over a week and prepare for the showdown of Varsity in eighth week. Fantastic performances all round, so check out the match report from our Women’s Captain Beth:

16776324_10154358794169067_642622961_oAlso this week, our Secretary Gabbie and President Serena have been featured on the Students of Oxford campaign to profile some of the blues’ squads in the run-up to Varsity and spread their stories: check out the page here

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Dab it, Squat it, Stretch Out

Welcome to Third Week – follow the link for some #MotivationMonday. Don’t we all love a stuck landing and a bit of dabbing?

Training is as busy as ever: there’s Mondays at Iffley (with brand new paralletes and therabands), free conditioning on Tuesdays (Kat promises lever preps this week, yay), and Abingdon sessions on Thursdays and Saturdays, so check out our Times page for all the info you need. As always, sessions are open to all and, if it’s your first time at OU Gym, come along for your two free sessions whenever you can make it. It’s been great to see so many new and familiar faces and lots of improvements being made by everyone!

In fact, check out some of our recent #skillsunday and #failfriday posts on our Twitter  and don’t miss Gabbie’s lovely leaps, Liza’s punch fronts (with varying landings) and some interesting attempts at pommel from Alex and Sid. Plenty more where they came from, and also plenty of social fun organised for you this week, with another crewdate on Friday – this time with Touch Rugby at Wok n Roll, email natalie.liu@queens.ox.ac.uk if you’re interested.

We’re getting very excited for the competition season that kicks off in just sixteen days! Routines are being pieced together and team spirit is reaching new heights, with some tremendous twisting by the lads at training this week and the imminent arrival of sparkling new stash. Our first comp is the Loughborough Open on 15th February, but in the meantime we’ll be counting down the #RoadtoVarsity, with quotes, posters, interviews and smashing skills. Stay tuned for more, and keep up to date with the #darkblue movement via Students of Oxford‘s campaign celebrating all things studenty-sporty.

Train hard, keep smiling and, if in doubt, squat it out.

(Or be like Sam ‘Turtleneck’ Barnett and stretch out, with a little help from Tricker)

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This week’s Caption Competition?