The fortunes of the DCU swimming club have rarely been brighter after they left the recent intervarsities with a bounty of medals. The club claimed seven individual medals and two relay medals spread across a number of different disciplines. Club secretary Rob Whelan was particularly pleased with the improvement made by the team since last year’s competition.
“Last year we had one finalist and this year we had twenty finalists and nine medals so I’m delighted with the improvement. We do have some new swimmers in this year that have helped but we have also had a much bigger attendance this year. We have around 200 members at the club and we brought 25 to the intervarsities. The training has been a bit more intense this year.”
While the role of club secretary requires Whelan to oversee some of the organisational aspects of the team, he still finds time to get into the pool. And despite not training as much as some seasoned competitors, he was happy with his day’s work which yielded a silver medal.
“I can only train two or three times a week so it wouldn’t be as much as some of the other swimmers. I thought I might be in the hunt for a medal but I was still delighted to get a silver. I spend some time organising the team so personally it is nice to contribute a medal as well.”
While the DCU medal haul at the intervarsities was plentiful, it was still behind the haul of UCD and Trinity College. DCU finished a respectable fourth and Whelan thinks that given the resources available to the other colleges, his team performed admirably.
“UCD are providing swimmers to the national team and have full time coaches so it always going to be very difficult to compete with them. But the amount of medals we won is a tribute to the work put in this year. UCD and Trinity won the most medals and we came in fourth in the medal table. With a bit more work I would hope we could improve that position to second next year.”
The DCU sports landscape is dominated by GAA and athletics and it can be hard for other sports to get a foothold on campus or funding. Whelan thinks that the success achieved by the club bodes well, not just in attracting new members but also in possibly getting more funding.
“I think our success can attract new members. I’ve spoken to lads that are doing their leaving cert and they were enthusiastic about joining the swimming club. You would assume that results would help with getting some more funding. We are a big club and I think going by our results we deserve a bit more money.”
The DCU swimming club has evolved substantially over the last few years. When Whelan arrived in his first year, the club hadn’t been renewed from the previous year. Whelan was part of an effort to rebuild the club and thinks the hard put work in by some committed swimmers has a lot to do with the current success achieved by the members.
“When I came in first year we didn’t have a swimming club and it has built up over the last few years. Each year has been an improvement from the one previous and this year has been very successful. The hard work that people in the club have put in is starting to pay off. We won a lot of medals this year and at the rate we are progressing I think we can realistically improve by even more for next year’s intervarsities.”