Off to Rio – GB’s Olympic Selection Tracker

The British Swimming Championships are underway in Glasgow, for a competition that will determine who makes the Olynpic team for Rio later this year. As in previous years we’ll be keeping tabs of how the team is shaping up based on the results and the British selection policy.

Note this is only our interpretation of how the policy will be applied. Beyond those who make the automatic qualifying times, selection is not an exact science and subject to selector discretion. The final team selected may hence differ for a variety of reasons and is due to be announced on Thursday 21st April.

A supreme display of front running saw James Guy become the only person to guarantee two individual swims in Rio

After the highs of Saturday, the lows of Sunday. The first three finals failed to deliver any Olympic qualifiers as Siobhan-Marie O’Connor won the 100 breaststroke in a PB, Luke Greenbank won the 200 backstroke and Alys Thomas took a surprise win in the 100 fly. But the men saved the best till last in the 200 freestyle shoot out. James Guy won in commanding fashion in 1:45.19, just outside his British Record, but all 8 men were sub 1:49 and the first 5 were under 1:48. Stephen Milne, Robbie Renwick and Duncan Scott came home in Guy’s wake, and put themselves in pole position for the 4×200 relay, but 5th placed Cameron Kurle’s 1:47.82, a PB, could see him also picked.

Jazz Carlin slayed her 2012 demons securing Olympic Qualification at the final attempt in Glasgow

A much better night in Glasgow – Jazz Carlin secured her Olympic place in the 400m freestyle, and was joined by Ben Proud and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor in the 50m freestyle and 200Im respectively. The big story though was Tim Shuttleworth who crushed his lifetime best to fall agonisingly short of the 1500m qualifying time, just .12s adrift after 30 lengths of Tollcross. He stands an excellent chance of selection though, as does runner up Stephen Milne who was inside the 2% selection cut off.

Andrew Willis – Rio bound afer a PB to win the 200m Breaststroke

Andrew Willis turned on the style to set another PB and secure his place in Rio in the 200m breaststroke, only th 5th person to be certain of a place on the plane . Behind him, Craig Benson upset his Scottish teammate Ross Murdoch for second and a time well inside the 2% consideration cut off; it looks as though he is Brazil bound also. James Guy won the 100 fly, not quickly enough for individual selection, but with enough gas to ensure the men’s medley team can be considered for the Olympics. Meanwhile the women’s events didn’t yield any Olympians; Siobhan-Marie O’Connor bested Francesca Halsall in the 100 free, and Lizzie Simmmonds dominated the 200 back, but both finished outside the 2% selection cut off.

Max Litchfield stormed his way to 400IM victory and onto the plane to Rio on day 3 in Glasgow

After a barren night on day 2 in Glasgow, Max Litchfield of City of Sheffield inked his name into the British Olympic team with a surprise win in the 400IM, posting a time of 4:12.05 to sneak under the automatic qualifying time. That swim carved almost 3 seconds off his lifetime best. Litchfield was the only swimmer to be certain of an Olympic spot but Francesca Halsall is at least in the running having won the 50m freestyle in 24.43. That was outside the automatic cut but within the 2% consideration zone; at this halfway point, indications are that everyone inside the 2% mark will be selected, unless the overall team size is reduced. The biggest shock of the meet so far, was the failure of Jazz Carlin to secure her spot; that she swam outside the automatic time in the 800 free was surprise enough, but to also miss the 2% cut off was almost unthinkable. She at least has another chance in the 400 free. Perhaps less surprisingly there were no qualifiers in the men’s 100 free, despite a storming victory for Duncan Scott in a PB 48.66, or the women’s 200m butterfly won by Aimee Wilmott but at 2:08.82, well shy of a selection standard. The cumulative time of the first 4 finishers in the men’s freestyle put them well shy of selection so barring some creative maths with splits from Kazan, it looks extremely unlikely that team will be selected directly. It could still swim of course if four suitable men find their way onto the team by other means.

Chloe Tutton is taken aback by her time in the 200m breaststroke, a performance that surely has secured her place in Rio.

The women’s 200m breaststroker’s were the stars of the show on night 2 in Glasgow in a set of finals that did not yield any direct qualifiers. Chloe Tutton set a British record of 2:22.34 for the win, narrowly missing automatic qualification, while Molly Renshaw was runner up in a PB of 2:23.56. It will be a surprise if both of them don’t make the trip to Brazil. In the 100m backstroke events, Georgia Davies put herself into contention with a win in 59.64, just outside her lifetime best, but Chris Walker-Hebborn will now be reliant on the men’s medley relay after he finished outside the 2% cut off. As expected there was no Olympic qualifier in the men’s 200m butterfly, where Swansea’s Adam Mallet took the win.

James Guy – the first pool swimmer to secure his place in Rio

James Guy, Adam Peaty and Hannah Miley pinched their tickets for Rio on the first night in Glasgow. Aimee Wilmott and Stephen Milne also put themselves in the frame by racing inside the 2% cut off, while the women’s 4x200m freestyle team should also be in the selection shake up, despite nobody managing individual qualification. Given the quality of his swim, it would be a significant surprise if Murdoch does not make the plane. He also still ah the 200m to cement his Olympic place later in the week.

38 thoughts on “Off to Rio – GB’s Olympic Selection Tracker”

  1. I’d imagine Hattersley will miss out, as both SMOC and Miley can be used for the 4x200m.

  2. Glad to see Aimee in with a good chance. Her and Hannah are the fastest two 400 IM swimmers we have so it can only be those two if any two go.

    Strong first 200 from Aimee, but Hannah just seems to wind it up on the breaststroke. Aimee’s final 25 looks a little scruffy too, big almost uncontrolled head movements. But then I am sure everything was burning at that stage!! Great swimming on day 1!

    Peaty is mesmerising to watch. The boy just seems to get faster and faster as the race goes on. It appears like he is constantly accelerating!

    1. Also forgot to say…. 100 Br final had 4 top class breastrokers in it. If only there was a 4×100 Br relay!

  3. Think your calculation for Chris Walker-Hebborn is awry. 2% of 52.99 is 54.05, his time is about 1.3% ?

    1. Unfortunately for Chris, he needed to be within 2% of the consideration time which was 52.42 so his target was 53.47 and he was over the cut off.

  4. I see other sites are suggesting that Molly Renshaw isn’t going to Rio! I’d be very,very surprised if she isn’t on the plane under the 2% rule.

    1. I agree – unless there is a remarkable surge over the rest of the meet I would be surprised if she didn’t make the plane

        1. Because if they do and going back to Iain’s point above, it all get a bit murky for me.

          1. I think the team will go – I am less convinced it will be the first 4 placed finishers, rightly or wrongly.

  5. Could someone explain why there is a maximum of 30 swimmers allowed in the squad to Rio. Is that imposed by British swimming, or by the Olympic authorities …

    thanking you in anticipation …

    1. I’m 99% sure that it’s a size limit imposed by the British Olympic Association.

  6. Some great performances overall today – Litchfield, Duncan Scott, Adam Barrett also had a great swim. But also some worrying signs this week – many of our stars falling quite a way short and possibly not making the cut. Taper? Race readiness? Illness? The pool?

  7. I would think that the men’s 4×1 will be picked – Scott, Proud, Barrett and Renwick should all be on the team. Guy could also figure in these considerations.

    1. I agree that it will more than likely swim, but only if they get four suitable guys on the team, they won’t pick it as such. I guess it’s a matter of semantics!

  8. I agree with Iain too. Assuming Robbie makes the team via the 200 Free. It’ll depend also on how many discretionary picks are left at the end of the week. I think two have gone on CWH and Jazz at the moment IMO.

    1. I don’t think CWH will need a wild card – the medley relay will only need someone to swim 53.75 in the fly to make the 2% cut off. if that doesn’t happen we might as well all go home now! I agree and expect Jazz will get a wildcard if she doesn’t qualify in the 400 or they don’t pick the 4×2

      1. Yes, of course; you’re far better at this than I.
        In this year of surprises I’m going to make some assumptions!
        Assuming Duncan Scott and Robbie Renwick make top four in the 200 Free and Ben wins the 50 (in a suitable time), James Guy already qualified.
        Then there’s a possible wildcard for Adam Barrett unless he does the business in the 100 fly. Giving a possible 4×100 relay squad of Duncan, Ben, Robbie, Adam and James

        1. All sounds sensible to me; that is pretty much the best team anyway so I hope they would get to swim it having qualified at Worlds last year.

  9. So many favourites more than 1% outside the automatic qualification; Fran, Mollie, Jazz, Pav, CWH…. to name but a couple.

    Frankly speaking, I’m at a loss to decide if we need to review our selection procedure, have a lot of our pre-comp hopes
    misjudged their tapers, was the pool is running uphill or have the coaches collectively got the programs wrong.

    I genuinely hope that someone asks big Bill some tough questions over the next week or so…

    1. The selection policy delivered results last year and 2014 and hopefully, the approach delivers our best olympics. It seems however to be creating a small elite who are in with a chance and are competitive and others who refocus their efforts on other meetings. I would also have expected more of the prominent juniors from recent years to step up, but many performed at levels below last year. There are others like Dan Wallace and Daniel Jervis who hit their peak in summer and have been standouts at major championships (you could include Ross Murdoch over 200), but are somewhat slower in April. The team will be weaker without them competing or competing in their best events. Maybe if the qualifying standards are this tough, the trials should be held in Sheffield which is a faster pool. Really hard to know what the best approach is but there is a sense this week that things haven’t moved on from last year at a time when you see the Australians and presumably the Americans taking big steps forward

  10. honestly… I am deeply underwhelmed by the gala so far.

    some of the ‘stars’ [particularly the ladies] have underperfomed markedly … there have been very few break out performances… the morning heats have been almost ‘processional’ keeping the ‘fastest’ apart has only compounded underwhelming times …

    how many national records {English, Welsh, Scottish et al] have been broken… how many junior records have been set? Not that many and this may be a reflection of this general under performance…

    I wish they had shown more tabulated information to show who was achieving PBs…

    I have found the comedy elements of Bob’s commentary tiresome…

    1. its April . slow pool and the selection policy is crap, but thats not unusual for British swimming.. what would be unusual is if they stopped the rot of mileage and meterage which dominates British swimming , and stopped employing distance coaches as leaders

      1. I don’t buy the slow pool argument – it seemed plenty fast enough in 2014. (Which isn’t to say that Sheffield isn’t faster)

        1. I agree with you Steve. Tollcross isn’t a slow pool and there are many swimmers at the meet that have been able to demonstrate that the conditions in the water are just fine for fast swimming. Look at Jazz Carlin in the 400m Free! The reason for her disappointing times in the 200m Free and 800m Free must lie elsewhere.

  11. Hi Steve

    Great analysis so far, thanks – although I can never work out the relay numbers in your summary (probably because you’ve adjusted them for automatic qualifiers?).

    I know you probably have plenty on your plate, but would you reflect on the stats for the women’s 4x200m at Worlds compared with the trials. Is there any merit in thinking we still have a hope of a medal (perhaps taking SMOCs time and a Jaz peak performance into consideration). I think we had a 1.57/1.56/1.58/1.58 at Worlds for a 5th place – the current qualifiers might do a similar total time, but do you know where it might leave us in the world?
    Maybe your usual skilled analysis on all of the relay pots when tomorrow is over 🙂

    1. As you suspect relay numbers take into account those who are either automatically qualified or should be picked under the 2% rule as they get picked before the relay squads.

      I think the women’s 4×2 are a long shot for the podium in Rio, but they should make the final. They are missing that someone who can drop a 1:54 split or faster which all the other main medal contenders have.

  12. I know you’ll be as pleased as I am with Tim Shuttleworth’s swim. Great young talent with no doubt more to come…..
    Also good to see Jazz get a qualifying time.
    A great nights swimming!

  13. For there to be only 8 swimmers inside the qualifying time, something is wrong. I hope Bill Furniss, James Gibson et al will be prepared to be interviewed and explain, not make excuses.

    I hope I’m proven wrong but I fear we’re looking at London 2012 again ref Medal count.

  14. Could someone please explain to me how the qualifying times were worked out? Thanks.

    1. QTs were world top 6 as at end of Worlds last year. Consideration times were (I think from looking at them) a prediction of bronze in Rio.

  15. Well, it all over now – and we’ll wait with eager anticipation for the news of the selections.

    A huge thanks from our team (and probably the rest of the Pullbuoy readership) for your running analysis, Steve.
    Without it, we’d have been flummoxed – bigtime!

    I anticipate plenty of arguments on what must, broadly, have been the least spectacular trials performance in living memory – so many struggling stars is probably a reflection of the bar being set too aggressively, in my humble opinion 🙂

  16. I understand that qualifying times should be ‘challenging’ but their base line needs to be revisited. Why have the QT for 1st [winner] of an event set against ‘6th in the world’ but the second ‘consideration’ measure [ with the associated plus 2%] set against the predicted ‘bronze in Rio’ [seemingly a higher achievement]

    I haven’t crunched the numbers but wouldn’t it be ‘fairer’ to have automatic qualification for those who achieve a time that beats the ‘predicted bronze’ [so the likes of Peaty, Guy would be selected anyway, and might also account for a second placed individual ].

    I would also add that this ‘QT’ needn’t be achieved at the trials but in a ‘qualifying period’, clearly the likes of Carlin and Halsall ‘suffer’ from not having the domestic opposition that drives them to the marginal improvements they need… by have a qualifying period they could seek out the international competition that will push them to the QT time …

    Then have a second tranche based on the top 6 from previous olympics/worlds that have to be achieved at trials… get within this time and win your event you are selected. A slightly more ‘generous’ target but a winner of a race knows they are selected if they beat that time in the trials final

    Finally the selectors much loved 2%, but not based on the ‘predicted’ bronze, but what should be a more realistic rolling average of previous olympics/worlds finals… this might allow those unlikely to podium but gain essential experience with a view to being podium contenders at the next global event

    1. Really sensible and progressive suggestion, PJS.
      Just need to find a way to get it adopted for the benefit of future swimmers – we’ll (unfortunately) soon lose some of our top talent through the current policy 🙁

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