Monday, 14 March 2011

Thoughts from the British Championships

The British Championships are over for another year. During the marathon 8 day competition we were treated to a mixed bag of performances, some great, some shocking (and quite a few disappointing). British swimmers will have another chance in June to make the team and expect that to be a much faster competition. Let's get to the talking points...

Top Swim - Rebecca Adlington - 4:02.84 - 400m Free - Truly world class. For a detailed analysis of the race cast your eyes over this. Now it's time to see how the rest of the world react to the fastest 400 Free since the suit law changes.

Honourable Mention - Keri-Anne Payne - 16:06.67 - 1500m Free - A British record which moves Payne up to 20th all-time in the event. Despite the record, she is not a lock to swim the event in Shanghai as it's not an Olympic event. Fortunately her probable qualification in the 4 x200m Free relay should open the door.

Top Swimmer - Rebecca Adlington - Proved once again that she is the only British swimmer right now who can strike fear into her international opponents. Still the only British swimmer likely to go into 2012 as a gold medal favourite.

Honourable Mention - Ellen Gandy - Gandy is having a tremendous start to 2011, just as she did in 2010. The World Championships will be a big moment for her as she attempts to make the breakthrough in a global competition (in Beijing and Rome she was 15th in the 200m Fly). She currently owns four of the top five 200m Fly times in the world this year and if she can get down to anywhere near her British Record of 2:04.83 then she will likely come home a medalist from Shanghai.

Best Comeback - David Davies - As Davies himself admitted post-race, 15:06 in the 1500m isn't going to set the world alight, but it shows a huge improvement from last year. Training back in Cardiff seems to be paying off for the welshman. For now, both the 1500m and Open Water events remain options for 2012. Special mention to the victory celebration, flinging his cap high into the air when he finished... a kind of victory water bomb.

Honourable Mention - Fran Halsall - Just weeks on from ankle surgery, Halsall booked her ticket for Shanghai. Her times were nothing special for a swimmer of Halsall's quality, but qualification was the only goal. With these trials being so early in the year, there should be enough time for Halsall to get back to full fitness in time for Worlds.

Surprise - Jack Marriott - Heard of him? No? Neither had the majority of British Swimming. A student at Oxford University, his only swim of note had been winning the 50m Fly at the British University Champs last month. He turned up in Manchester and smoked a 24.33 to win the 50m Fly in only his second long course race in the event. Its not a time that will strike fear into the world's best, but it does show serious raw talent. Apparently he is in discussions with university powerhouse Loughborough to start training with them.

Trivia Question - Name the US team member, currently swimming at SwimMac, who also swam at Oxford University last year?

Honourable Mention - Steph Proud - You can point towards her performance at US Short Course Champs last winter where she won the 200m Back, but beating Elizabeth Simmonds over 200m Back is still an upset. While Simmonds was well off her best form in Manchester, Proud stepped up when she needed to and will have a chance to prove herself again at Worlds.

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