Hi! My name is Regine and I'm a Hong Kong student here at Sheffield working as an International Office Ambassador. You can find out more about me from my profile.
Joining the University of Sheffield Swimming and Water Polo Club was by far the best decision I made this year. Seeing the senior members walking around in their swimsuits and speedos handing out flyers in the activities fair was just the start of the antics and hilarity of this club.
Having swam throughout my life, I was very interested in pursuing my sport and trying to loose the inevitable ‘freshman 15’. Other than the horrifying weight gain, the main aspect I looked forward to was the opportunity to meet more people in all years and courses of the university.
Going to my first session was a daunting experience, I knew no one and hadn’t swam in months – there were nightmares leading up to the first session where I would either drown or be an outcast, didn’t even know which was worse! However, after getting there I realised that no one knew each other, everyone was quite out of practice and there really was nothing to be afraid of. I bonded with people about how unfit we were, whether we were going to the first social of the year, and how excited we were to be part of this club.
Socials are a rite of passage within sports clubs in the university, whether you drink or not they are always something not to miss. The first social required us all to dress as Where’s Wally – making our group a 50 strong red and white striped mass of people. The senior members met in Endcliffe where we then headed to few bars, where we were introduced to the hilarious traditions of the swim team, such as having to drink a pint if you wore white socks, having to do push ups on command if you said one of the taboo words (m.i.n.e, or d.r.i.n.k). The team spirit was phenomenal and with all of the swimmers mixing with one another there was not one unhappy face in sight. That social was what made me 100% sure I wanted to join the team, the level of friendship, loyalty and fun we had together was amazing.
However, the swim team is not only about the socials and having fun, there is also an intense spirit of training and being the best swimmer you can be, there are at least four training sessions each week, depending on whether you do only swimming or swimming and water polo. The sessions are hard but there is a lot of commitment required, there is absolutely no slacking off allowed, another aspect that improves team bonds and team spirit. We go to each others matches to cheer and support, and celebrate when we win and console when we lose – our team is all for one and one for all.
Whatever club, sport or society you join in the future do not worry about taking risks, just go for it and make the jump. As long as it’s something you are passionate about or find interesting, it will definitely double the fun and make the whole experience more memorable and will help you fit into university life faster than you expect.
By Regine Cheung
International Office Ambassador for Hong Kong