As someone who's held 5 different exec positions in the last 2 years, I feel pretty prepped to talk about what the experience is like. I've held a wide variety of positions between the WUSAC and Ultimate Frisbee execs - social sec, women's coordinator, webmaster, president, and welfare officer - and each one of them has come with its own highs and lows. I won't lie, being on the exec isn't always a walk in the park. Sometimes you plan a social and not many people attend, or the video you spent ages editing suddenly crashes, or you get stuck at a sports forum listening to other clubs complain for 2 hours, or you simply find yourself juggling uni work, exec responsibilities and the sport you loved playing in the first place with limited time for each. But, please don't let the difficulties stop you from running! I've found they are greatly outweighed by what you can gain from the experience. Being on exec is a great opportunity for anyone to get more involved with their club - it let's you make decisions that help the club improve and grow and you get to make it even more enjoyable to be a part of. Whether you do this by organising tournaments or events, planning the kinds of socials you want to do, or working behind the scenes to make the club bigger and stronger (competitively, financially, etc.); it can be truly rewarding to see the effort you put into the club reflected in the improvements you wanted being brought into reality. I've also found being on exec rewarding in that it allows you to give back a bit for all the support, friendships, and enjoyment that you've gotten from being a member of the club, and you can help make sure future members feel the same love for the club that you do. Finally, I'd say one of the main benefits I found with all of the exec positions I've held is the amount you learn from these responsibilities. Obviously this could include certain skills (I now know much more about social media marketing than before), but more so I found that I learned about myself- as cringe as that sounds. I learned how time management works for me, how I work with other people in a team, and what shortcomings I have and how to improve on them. Most importantly, I learned what motivates me personally to take on the extra responsibility of exec work and get it done when I'd rather just watch re-watch gossip girl - for me, it's all about the people in the club. I'd encourage everyone who feels passionate about the club and ready to help out to run for an exec position- see what the experience is like for you!
- Lara (Webmaster)
Writing this blog post sat on a Leamington-bound bus feels like light years away from 2017, when I first joined WUSAC. I never realised what lay ahead, both academically and in my diving life! For those who don’t know me, I’m Tom, the club’s Training Officer, and for the past (almost) 2 years, I’ve been in charge of planning and running all the SCUBA training that goes on in the club, whether that be a 1 hour theory session, a 2-day open water session, or a week long expedition to the coast! Some people don’t realise that I only started learning to dive when I joined university, and in my time here I’ve become a qualified Sports Diver, Compressor Operator and Assistant Instructor! I joined WUSAC simply because I’d always wanted to learn to dive and university seemed like the best time to try a new sport. I never realised I’d be coming out the other side with 3 qualifications!
I started out in exactly the same place as Denys (see his excellent blog post below) and have actually been one of his students on several occasions! I can’t reiterate enough how much I’ve been supported by the club over the past 2 years – the benefit of being the training officer is if I’m feeling stressed or just really want to dive, I can organise a session and tag along! I’m forever learning new underwater skills, and recently got to help out one of our instructors trial some new techniques and skills in the pool to put in a PADI course (I'm a BSAC diver through and through, but definitely don’t object to diving with people from other schools, it’s another great way to learn new techniques!). The instructors in this club are phenomenal – I spend a huge amount of time planning sessions with them and the amount I’ve learnt from them is staggering!
What I’ve found really satisfying is being able to teach the skills I’ve learnt back to new students, who are in the same position I was back in 2017. Comparing my knowledge now to back then, it’s quite scary how much I know about diving! One of my favourite things to do now is visit the underwater world, which is so different to anything you can experience on the surface. I was very lucky to be able to dive off the coast of Bali in Indonesia 2 summers ago; totally different to UK diving, for a start it’s like diving into a hot bath, but also the coral reefs and wildlife are amazing! I swam up close with tropical fish, sharks and even a sea turtle! Learning to dive in the UK with BSAC means you can dive pretty much anywhere, and I plan to make use of my qualifications wherever I travel on future holidays (any experienced divers out there, let me know some good new spots??)
Well, my stops coming up, so I’ll have to leave it there (yep, you really can write a whole blog post in Leamington rush hour...) but hopefully I’ve given you a good insight into my experience with the club. I don’t plan to leave it there though – hopefully you’ll still see me around in the pool and on trips! I’ve got to go and plan the latest training trip now, our yearly visit to the Cornish coastline to train up some new divers! Maybe you’re reading this and you’ve never dived before? If so, get in touch with me! I’ll give you all the details you need to join us under the deep blue, and maybe I’ll catch you in a theory lecture, pool session or dive trip sometime soon!
See you amongst the fishes,
Tom (Training Officer)
Hi everyone! I’m Denys, one of the instructors and regular members of the club. I want to use this blog opportunity to tell you why WUSAC and diving have become such a massive part of my life.
I have joined WUSAC back in my first year at the university (2014) having had no previous experience with any sub-aquatic sport. Upon joining, my mind was racing with question like ‘Is SCUBA safe?’, ‘Will I pass the training?’ & ‘Will I be accepted?’. But, perhaps my biggest worry was that I was suffering from Thalassophobia (fear of deep water). It was so extreme that I would close my eyes every time I had to swim over the 3 meters part of the pool. Oh, how wrong I was to be worried.
From day 1 the support I got was immense! I have met the best people in my life, many of whom I call my closest friends, learnt to dive under the best instruction I could only hope for and I have completely eradicated my phobia! Fast forward a year, I have passed my Ocean Diver course, done my first ever Night Dive and shortly after my first ever Wreck Dive as well as played in my first Underwater Hockey competition. I FELL IN LOVE. I became obsessed with the idea of going underwater. So in my second year I have racked up over 60 hours underwater, completed Sports Diver and played numerous national & international push tournaments. But one thought just wouldn’t leave my mind. I wanted to share my experience with others. I wanted to share the love for diving with others. And that’s when I decided to become an instructor.
Without doubt I have signed up for an Instructor Foundation Course, passing it just in time to take on my first ever try dive. It then took me 2 years of teaching and diving to rack up enough experience to gain my Dive leader qualification & there it was… my goal: Open Water Instructor. So close within my reach. Booking myself onto the exam was terrifying. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking ‘Am I good enough?’, ‘What if something goes wrong?’. But then once again, the club has shown so much support, helping me deal with the nerves and making me believe in myself.
15 May 2019, four and a half years after I started diving, I have received a letter though the post congratulating me on passing my Open Water Instructor exams and providing me with my official instructor number. My goal was achieved. There was no end to my joy. Until I realised there is still a ladder to climb. New lifetime goals were set, new paths defined.
So here I stand, having defined & achieved my lifetime goal, having conquered my phobia and having shared my experience with as many people as I possibly could. I have gained new friends for life and experiences I could never have gotten elsewhere. And that is why WUSAC still plays such a huge part in my life. Bring on new horizons, new depths and new experiences!
With Oceans of Love,
When I got the opportunity to go to my first push tournament I felt a mixture of nervousness and excitement. I had no idea what to expect and was worried about how inexperienced I was. However, arriving at the tournament the WUSAC team explained everything to me, answering all my silly questions and helping me in any way they could, and all of my uneasiness disappeared. We played our first two games in the morning, playing Nottingham and York/Belfast. Despite losing 3-2 to Nottingham the team took it in their stride and were all so positive about the game, allowing us to win our second game 6-0.
After a lunch break we got back into the tournament playing a further 5 games. This is where the team really got into their element and we really started to bond. Through it all they were encouraging me with praise and some tips and tricks. Alongside this, ex-WUSAC were also cheering us on with even more praise and advice. Outside of the games you can really see the closeness of the push community, with many members of other clubs, higher divisions and referees coming to join us on poolside for chats between games.
Overall my first push tournament was a success, finishing 4th and having an extremely enjoyable experience. I came away from the tournament really excited about push, as well as having created a better bond with the team and I believe becoming a better player too, with some advice to work on at training sessions. The whole day if I had any worry or concern I could ask without feeling silly and felt a big part of the team. The team atmosphere was amazing and I truly believe that WUSAC was one of the closest teams there, and that was one of the things that made the tournament so enjoyable. My confidence has grown tenfold and I would definitely recommend everyone in the push team to take part in tournaments. It is a worry free experience, allowing you to bond with the team and improve your push skills. ( Rebecca, octopush player)
When I started university, I knew I wanted to do a sport. Throughout my life, I had played loads of different sports, trying my hand at everything from netball to triathlons to long jump. I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity through my school and community to take part in lots of different sports, and switch between them finding aspects I like, and similarly aspects I don’t. One of the reasons I had these opportunities is somewhat bittersweet: in lots of sports, especially in a small school like mine was, there often aren’t enough women interested for the team to be picky. I joined my school swim team for the first time without ever having swam competitively before, and was immediately on our only women's relay team, with swimmers who had been training for years. I was, fortunately, supported and encouraged in this situation; my teammates told me about the club they swam with, and my family supported me in joining that club. When I came to university however, I was nervous about joining a club like swimming or netball: sports I’d played previously but not to the extent I imagine loads of members of big sports clubs like that. I wouldn’t be competing at a high level, and I wanted to be able to experience that again, so I looked for a new club. A friend of mine suggested sub-aqua, recommending I gave underwater hockey a go. The idea seemed a bit odd at first, but I went along to a taster session without really knowing what I was getting myself into.
I loved it. The sport tested my swimming, had loads of skills I could practice and improve, and was playing with a friendly and diverse group of people. I was on a team with girls starting the sport at the same time as me, all with different previous sporting backgrounds, and we all supported each other in the highs and lows of learning a new sport. I got to tackle guys twice the size of me, was trained by GB level players, and cheered on fellow women players as they scored against a mixed gender and ability team. Its exciting playing a sport where I can use skill to get past stronger and faster people. It’s even more fun when this is all taking place on a team that encourages and supports all its players throughout.
In WUSAC, I’ve gotten to play a sport I’d never even heard of before joining Warwick. Last year, I got to be on our team at Ladies Club Nationals- it was incredibly tough and we played against teams where every player had been playing longer than all of our team combined, but it was also amazing to see women so skilled at their sport. I could see the passion they felt for push. It was inspirational, and showcased what I love about the sport and its inclusivity. In WUSAC I've seen amazing things that women are capable of: playing for GB teams, having the confidence to try a new sport- even if they haven't in years, being a successful president of a complex sports club, and striving to excel in anything they do above and below the water.
- Lara (Webmaster)
Hi everyone, I’m Matt, the push (short for Octopush, also known as underwater hockey) captain. I started playing push in my first year at university and have pretty much committed my life to it since then. I played other sports before, but push is honestly just my thing and I’m real glad I gave it a go. Last year I trialled for the GB team, along with a bunch of other Warwick alumni, so we’re a really great club to join if you’re looking to get into high level sport. Equally, you can just turn up a couple times a term and play a game with us - it’s definitely great for fitness and you get to tell people about that weird sport you played while you were at university too. It’s totally unique and the whole community is extremely friendly, anywhere you play there’ll be plenty of people to help you out and give you advice. Warwick sessions in particular are aimed at beginners, and we’ve got loads of opportunities for you to get stuck in to friendlies and mini tournaments with no pressure at all, plus we can lend you all the kit, so it’s a great, cheap, beginners sport. I’d love to see you in the pool soon! - Matt (Octopush Officer)
Hi everyone, it’s Harriet, the push tours officer. In honour of national coming out day last week, I wanted to tell y’all a little bit about my personal experience within WUSAC in particular. For those that don’t know, I’m bi, and pretty open about it. However, no matter how open anyone is about their sexuality, it’s inevitable that you do have to come out over and over again whenever you meet new people - it’s never just once! Even this post is a sort of coming out, since there may well be people reading this that I haven’t already told. Each time you come out is a different experience and has different intensity levels - for example telling your parents, flatmates and work colleagues are all different situations, and some are much scarier than others. Coming out to WUSAC was one of the easiest ways I’ve done it. There are enough people in the club who are open about not being straight that it always felt very inclusive and safe, so when I mentioned I was bi, no one even skipped a beat, it was just like okay cool and everyone moved on - which is just the reaction I like to receive. WUSAC aren’t bothered if you’re not straight, they just want you to enjoy being underwater and being a part of the club.
Not all coming out stories are as easy as that one, so this is just a reminder that no matter where you are in your coming out journey (whether you’ve come out a thousand times or never at all), you’re part of a community that respects and supports you, and you’re not alone. - Harriet
Hey readers, I’m Ollie and I'm currently the Diving Officer for WUSAC. I have been in the club for 4yrs and have moved up the ranks to where I am now. Prior to joining university, I had only dived a few times while on holiday, so finding a university club which let me continue my diving experience was great! Since joining I have been on 1 international diving trip to Tenerife with a group of 8 of us, we went there for a week and dived 11 times (including 1 night dive!) Being a part of the club has been a great experience, it has allowed me to meet new friends, expand my diving qualification and dive to new places which I hadn’t been to before, with new places still to go to! -- Ollie (Diving Officer)
Hi there, my name is Anjana, and I’m the president of the club! What a week it has been! It was so great to meet so many of you at Sports Fair, and of course our Sports Day taster session for underwater hockey too! All the exec have been super busy this week getting us ready for Sports Fair and Sports Day, and we’re thrilled to see such good attendance!
In the coming weeks, there’s lots for you to look forward to including Try Dives, more Underwater Hockey Taster sessions and of course, the socials! One social tradition we love in the club: WuSnacks. It can be difficult to really get to know someone when they’re disguised in a mask and snorkel, so we hang out after every session to catch up, talk tactics and feast on a variety of snacks from the SU. Here’s an underwater photo from our Sports Day taster session for you, and I hope to see you at a session or social soon! -- Anjana (President)
Hi all! As a new WUSAC initiative to share what its like to be a member of our club, we are introducing our very own blog. Watch this space for regularly posted blog entries from our exec and more. This will give insight into all aspects of the club: from diving to push, socials to club admin, and everything in between. We hope you enjoy! - Lara Nash (Webmaster)