The announcement of those swimmers who British Swimming will be funding for the 2014 season produced, as expected, a great deal of debate on internet forums and social media. For the most part, this was congratulatory, reflecting the large number of up and coming junior swimmers who had made the grade for the first time, but inevitably there were recriminations amongst the well-wishes, not least from those directly affected or with a strong connection to the sport.
Recently retired James Goddard asked the question that was on a lot of peoples’ lips, in relation to the funding list at podium level, when he wondered about the selections:
— James Goddard (@JamesGoddard83) November 13, 2013
Davies and Wallace were two of the four members of the world championship team to miss out on funding, the others being Amy Smith and Michael Rock. Tancock, who was struggling with injury and failed to make the team for Barcelona, will be 31 by the time Rio comes around and was hence a surprise inclusion for many, despite being a strong medal hope for the Commonwealth Games next year.
In Wallace’s case, it was widely assumed his strictly amateur status in the NCAA would prevent him from accepting funding even if offered, a misconception he was happy to correct.
— Dan Wallace (@danwallace_) November 15, 2013
Wallace even said he’d sent the relevant NCAA rule extracts to British swimming, and still was overlooked for funding. Certainly he was unhappy with the situation:
As an athlete I expect a federation to go the extra mile to ensure that we receive the support that we need and have earned. #discriminated
— Starshark (@danwallace_) November 15, 2013
But even that level of disdain for the governing body was nothing by comparisons with the timelines of Marco Loughran and Dan Sliwinski who certainly didn’t mince their words. Loughran qualified for Barcelona, but in the non-Olympic 50m backstroke, while Sliwinski set a British Record in the 50m breaststroke at trials despite an injury ravaged preparation, but was also overlooked for selection. He still holds the British 100m breaststroke record, while Loughran has been confirmed in the Welsh team for next year’s Commonwealth Games. The pair were happy to make their feelings known publicly:
Wish I swam for a fair and just National Governing Body…
— Marco A Loughran (@MarcoL89) November 13, 2013
Some could take a lighter hearted view though; Lizzie Simmonds, fresh from her exploits in the World Cup, revealed that her debit card had been compromised by fraudsters, before adding the following wry observation: