Women’s modern pentathlon dominate Oxford

Ali Simon 15 April 2014

Cambridge defeated Oxford 24,324 points to 22,584 points in the women's modern pentathlon Varsity match. 

The match was held over two days at the beginning of April at Tonbridge School, Kent. The full team consisted of six athletes competing in a full pentathlon (fence, swim, ride, shoot, run), whilst there was a reserves team of three, who completed a modern triathlon (swim, shoot, run).

The Cambridge women began the match in the fencing phase. They crushed the Oxford opposition, leading by a 13 hit margin. This gave the team a total points lead of 520. Cambridge President Henny Dillon won the fencing event, with a total of 18/22 hits, with Susie Benson in second with 15 hits. 

In the swimming phase, there were numerous personal bests (PBs) and a new record. Dillon continued her four year supremacy in the swim – winning the event by breaking her own record: 200m in a time of 2 minutes 7 seconds. Captain Ali Simon came second, bettering her PB by 15 seconds. The Light Blues' performance in the swimming event was so strong that they beat the opposition by 1500 points. Overnight, Cambridge led by over 2000 points going into the ride phase.

With solid riders in the Cambridge team, nobody came close to falling off. Amanda Plowman’s riding skills were put to the test by the difficult horse she drew, but she was able to coax it round the tricky showjumping course clear within the optimum time to emerge overall winner of the ride. Clear rounds in both the Oxford and Cambridge camps meant that it was close, but Cambridge eventually won the ride by 136 points, extending their lead going into the final phase.

The combined event consisted of shooting five knockdown targets in a time of 70 seconds (or less) three times, interspersed with a 1km run in between. Ali Simon won the shooting phase, and broke her own record from last year, shooting down 15 targets in a time of two minutes. Although the Oxford team won the overall combined event, the Cambridge women put up a hard fight, with Lottie Buttar coming in second in a time of 14:52. Alice Watson battled a sprained ankle to complete for the team in fine form and the efforts of the ladies meant that Oxford only won by a margin of 450 points. 

With the Light Blues' ovennight lead of over 2000 points, Oxford’s final efforts were not good enough. Henny Dillon and Susie Benson both achieved full Blue scores, and the rest of the team attained half blues. 

In the reserves competition, Bridget Hipwell, Lauren Carter and Hannah Clifford performed exceptionally well. Carter missed out on winning the swim by a fingertip. Clifford came in first among the Cambridge women in the combined event and Hipwell's PB in the swim dropped her time by over 15 seconds. However, the team was edged  by a very strong Oxford reserves team.