DUSC triumph over the University of Lancaster for second year running

DUSC reclaim their “Duel in the Pool” crown in Lancashire


“This exciting victory marked the second consecutive win for the club in the annual matchup”


DU Swimming and Water Polo Club (DUSC) have regained the Challenge Cup, secured last year against the University of Lancaster.  The competition comprises of a men’s water polo game, women’s water polo game and a swimming gala for each.  

November 5 2016 saw the DU Men’s and Women’s Water Polo and Swimming Club board very early flights to Manchester to face off against the University of Lancaster. The Women’s Team captain, Rachel Nevins, was charged with bringing over the Cup that they had won in last year’s “Duel in the Pool”.

Last year was the inaugural year of the “Duel in the Pool”, and was hosted by DUSC at the Sports Centre in March 2016.

DUSC had fought hard in the water polo section of events to compensate for their a smaller team in the swimming and came away with a victory, despite the greater numbers on the Lancaster side. This Cup was a reminder of that triumph. It was also a reminder of the goal of the weekend: to defend the title.

The scoring system awards one point for each event, namely: men’s water polo, women’s water polo, men’s swimming and women’s swimming. The number to reach this year for DUSC was 2, as a tied competition would be enough to reclaim the title.

Night one would see both the Men’s and Women’s Water Polo teams square off. The Women’s Polo team opened the competition. The first half was a tight affair with the sides close to level at the end of the second quarter. The DUSC women’s team finished exceptionally strongly to beat Lancaster 18-12. The victory came via key performances from a number of DUSC players, including Californian Orla Brazell, playing in her first year with the club.

The Men’s water polo match was set to follow. Both teams came out with very strong defence and goalkeeping, keeping the match tight and low-scoring. The third quarter was won by DUSC with Captain Kevin Quigley and Connor Huff building a narrow lead going into the fourth quarter. A late goal by Lancaster drew the teams level and the match ended in a draw at 7 goals apiece.

After one day of competition, DUSC held a narrow lead over Lancaster, 1.5 -1 . The first night of competition coincided with Bonfire Night and the teams spent the evening enjoying the fireworks before preparing for the swimming events the next day.

While the night proved to be an excellent opportunity to have fun with the rival club, on Sunday, it was back to work in the pool for the DUSC team. Day two of competition, containing the swimming events for both Men and Women, was set to be held in the evening. During the day, players explored the beautiful Lake District and rested up for the swimming events that would decide the outcome of the “Duel in the Pool”.

The women started things off with a dominant performance in the medley relay, coming in a comfortable first with Aoife Scales leading the team off on backstroke, Deirdre Haren on breastroke, Molly Dinneen on butterfly and Griffin Hansen finishing with freestyle. Aoife and Deirdre both chose to swim the university team while on study abroad from their home universities, Queensland Institute of Technology (Australia) and Oberlin College (US). Exciting junior freshman, Laura Grindle from Dublin, joined Molly to sweep the butterfly events.  With the help of several other key performances, the women raced to a decisive five point victory on their side of the events. This meant that regardless of the outcome in the men’s section, the cup would be reclaimed.

The Men had a slightly tougher go of it in the swimming section, with several fewer athletes than Lancaster was able to produce. Conor McMenamin produced phenomenal performances in the backstroke while Matthew Long provided points in the butterfly. Antoine Montier led the team’s breastrokers, and several swimmers pitched in to round out the freestyle events. Despite these performances, the Lancaster pulled ahead after the halfway point in the Gala to take the victory for Men’s Swimming.

However, the Men’s Polo draw and the Women’s Polo and Swimming victories meant an overall success for the  DUSC squad over the course of the weekend, with a final tally out of four possible points of 2.5 for DUSC and 1.5 for Lancaster University.

This exciting victory marked the second consecutive win for the club in the annual matchup with Lancaster, and the team headed back on Monday morning after a successful weekend. Despite the tight security at Manchester Airport, the Dublin-Lancaster Cup made it safely back to Dublin where it will await next year’s “Duel in the Pool”.

In the meantime, DU Swimming and Water Polo will focus its energies on the next big competition of the year: water polo varsities. They will take place the weekend of the 20th of January, 2017 in Galway and promise to be a great opportunity for the water polo players to put the year’s work into practice against the other Irish universities.

DUSC’s women’s water polo team will be looking to win the competition for an unprecedented third year in a row while the men will be looking to make it two victories in three years. The “Duel in the Pool” will return to Trinity in 2017.