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University Sports teams feel fit and fresh for Roses Unlocked

Students’ resilience has been tested more than ever during the pandemic, now with the opportunity to compete in events such as swimming, running and cycling, Nouse finds out how York’s university sports teams have been preparing for Roses Unlocked.

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Image Credit: Luke Snell


The lacrosse team have had a busy lockdown despite gyms being closed and social activity curtailed. According to Psychology student Libby Richardson, the club has been really flexible and has adapted to the circumstances: “They’ve created a mixed gender lacrosse league so we can still play competitively even though BUCS isn’t on.” This competitive element is important for any sport, so it's great news that Lacrosse are preparing for Roses Unlocked with the sport that they are used to.

However, the team has not just been practising Lacrosse in lockdown. The club also did a “Strava running challenge against the University of Hull to raise money for the Charlie Watkins Foundation.”  It’s impressive that the club has managed to harness the power of sport to raise money for a vitally important charity; the Charlie Watkins Foundation is a dedicated online platform for students to talk about their mental health in a completely safe and anonymous environment.

Zoom has been put to good use, with the club engaging in weekly workouts and still having those vital socials to maintain team morale.

Lacrosse’s innovative solutions to training and morale mean that they are well placed to compete and should be feeling confident for the big weekend (30 April–2 May). The team have been training for the pentathlon and will be gracing the grass on 22 acres from the week commencing 13 April.


One of the most physically demanding sports at the university, the rowers have not relented from their gruelling training program during lockdown. Third year History and Economics student Daniel Jones offered Nouse an insight into what’s been happening whilst the club has been off the Ouse.

Hundreds of hours are needed on the water to learn the very basics of rowing mechanics but eight months into the season Jones recalls “we have only had a maximum of five sessions with our boys.” To teach novices the technicalities of rowing more footage has been distributed online, concentrating on building up aerobic bases and posterior chain strength.

Zoom workout sessions have been the key to this. The “resourceful training coordinator Charlie [Blank] has been able to translate erg [rowing machine] sessions into runs or cycles to target similar training zones.” This means the teams are still able to have 12 sessions a week, six of which are with other members on Zoom, which is important for team spirit.

Missing their usual toga and Baywatch socials (separate events), the club has combined with Leeds and Leicester universities to put on joint circuits sessions, “meaning we can see our future competition workout live which definitely adds to your motivation.” The pandemic may have kept the rowers off the water, but it has not kept their competitive spirit at bay.

The rowers are feeling confident for the 1km row (obviously), and cycling given that bikes are a useful training tool for the summer. Swimming might be more of a challenge – Jones points out “we row to stay out on top of the water not in it!”.

Women’s Rugby

The 2020 Club of the Year have been training hard for Roses Unlocked. It's safe to say they have a reason to be confident; with the 1st XV and 2nd XV having thumped Lancaster 91-0 and 87-0 respectively in 2019.

History student and first team fullback Georgia Briggs is feeling optimistic and says the squad’s morale is still high despite these challenging times: “We’re a really close club anyway so use social media quite a lot but without training we’ve had to adapt our activity to mostly be online.”

Workouts have been collaborative and there’s a group chat where HIIT workouts are shared. The club got innovative during the Six Nations with country-specific workouts; though the “France” and “Ireland” workouts are not for the faint hearted; they add a lunge jump per try conceded by Italy, reaching an already savagely high 80 lunge jumps.

A huge motivator is still “the promise of physical games not too far away in the future.”

However important sport is to so many students, the pandemic has proved that the most important outlet students have is each other. Briggs writes on her blog, “The success of the Women’s Rugby club at York doesn’t lie in our ability to dominate in BUCS or concede zero points in Roses. It lies in our players.”

Whether you play sport or not, York students should just enjoy each other’s company at Roses Unlocked as everyone looks forward to a significant, sociable, sporting event.

Image Credit: Luke Snell

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