They say that all roads lead to Rome, but it seems the M3 leads to Southampton: famous for pretty much nothing, other than being the departing location of the Titanic before it sank. And so it was, that 19 members of swim-polo undertook this pilgrimage with the aim of sinking the Southampton Water polo team (and several beverages for good measure).

As this was the first tour in a decade not to Aachen in Germany, there was some confusion over the fact we were not leaving the UK. Panic over passports ensued and the need to show our national pride came across strongly. Top marks to our Russian teammate Vic, who donned full Union Jack face paint but was disappointed not to visit nearby Salisbury cathedral.

All 19 members took a boring and uneventful ferry trip across to the tropical location of the Isle of Wight, where the promise of a hot filling dinner quickly turned into a Sainsburys meal deal and a pint of the best cider the island had to offer (a more expensive and worst tasting version of Frostie Jacks). Two pubs later and slightly scarred after speaking to a man who managed to fit three sets of teeth in one mouth, the team had reached the end of this long and arduous crawl and were ready to leave the island. After ‘missing’ the ferry home, the decision was made that swimming home was maybe a bad idea and the team took off on a long 0.47 miles hike to reach an alternative, faster, also uneventful ferry trip back.

With the night still young, it was time for a trip to a local discotheque. The first attempt at this led us to a warehouse on an industrial estate that wanted to charge an outrageous London-esque £22 entry. Not even our resident ladies’ man was able to sweet talk us into a discount, but luckily a more reasonable club was found and a great night was had by all, especially the team cauliflower (see photo).

Game day. After bountiful amounts of sleep in uncramped sleeping conditions at a not-5-star Ibis Budget hotel it was time to get serious and prepare for the important match ahead. Carb loading and rehydration were essential, so the team ventured out of the industrial port area of Southampton in search of the local Wetherspoons. The group then split into two teams to get into the competitive spirit and make costumes for the evening in time for our all-important match. Unfortunately, one team got side-tracked by latex gloves and nutritional beverages (soup) leaving them to wear only plastic bags as their princess-wear.

In the true spirit of sportsmanship, we met the Southampton team at their student bar before the match to allow them a chance to gauge the opposition.

Match Report: Reduced time men’s, women’s and mixed matches were to be played in their non-BUCS-conforming seriously-shallow pool. The women started the game strong and continued this throughout with every player putting in a great performance. The final score was 5-3; their first win of the season! Perhaps a pre-match night out and a can of special soup is the key to BUCS success.

The men had a promising start, with the first minute ending 2-0 up for IC. They continued to dominate with plenty of cheeky goals, including an outrageous backshot from the wing, courtesy of Finlay Gerrand. A special mention to goalie Joe Hanson-Shearer who saved countless one-on-ones and a penalty much to the annoyance of the Southampton team. Unfortunately for Joe his stunning performance in goal was not enough to win the attention of the most objectively good looking player on the team. Final score 7-4 to Imperial.

The final match was a friendly mixed affair, giving many players the chance to try new positions. Girls goalie Nastya and mens outfield star Sam Hanrahan both made some excellent saves, proving that size does not, in fact, always matter. A lackluster performance from the remaining outfield players who were now suffering from both fatigue and withdrawal meant the match concluded with a draw.

Post match celebrations took place with full fancy dress compulsory. Southampton earn points here for very good effort with their Mel Gibson Braveheart impressions. Their social sec in particular sparked conversation all night with his interesting choice of trunks, which was considered admirable by some and threatening by others. The celebrations then continued to a true home of debauchery, Jesters, which made Slug look like a classy establishment. The night ended with a visit to a local 24 hour curry house proposed by the Southampton team, knowing full well that ICSWP can never say no to a curry. Shoutout to Manzels curry house for making the strongest naan breads in the south of England.

After some well-earned rest, a tasty pizza, and a brief walking tour of Southampton’s historic walls, it was time to leave. Thank you to Ozzie and Alice for organising such a cultural experience.