The final of the men’s freestyle showed once again GB is still behind the curve on sprint freestyle. It’s not a new problem and it was disappointingly predictable that there would be no individual qualifiers in the men’s 100m free final given the FINA A time of 48.82. Simon Burnett won the event in a time of 49.33, exactly matching his time from the semi-finals and will be joined on the relay roster by James Disney-May, Craig Gibbons and Adam Brown, although Liam Tancock would be expected to be in the final quartet as the second fastest GB sprinter of all time.
The result means that the two individual spots will still be up for grabs in Sheffield in June but interestingly, Simon Burnett all but ruled himself out of that competition. Asked about this chances of making the time after the final he said: “That time is pretty fast and for me to do it could compromise my Games, so I’m going to focus on the relay.”
That suggests that he feels tapering again for June would not allow a full and proper preparation for the Olympics. It seems odd given that he’s the only one of the current crop of sprinters to have achieved the qualification time in textile but what it does mean is one fewer swimmers to beat for those who do opt to contest the event at ASA nationals, where a swim under the FINA A time should lead to selection.
Conversely, it’s not a problem for the ladies where Fran Halsall looked silky smooth on her way to a 53.83 semi-final swim, while Amy Smith smashed her lifetime best with 54.27 – crucially under the GB QT for second placed swimmers. Both looked as though they could swim faster in the final.