It was the year that nearly was for Britain’s swimmers, many of whom will be glad to see the back of 2007. Following a remarkable year in 2006 the team came back down to earth with a bump on their second visit to Melbourne in a little over 12 months.
One swimmer however was able to build on the progress he made in 2006, stepping up from Commonwealth medals to take his place on the World podium and hence the pullbuoy swimmer of the year for 2007 is Liam Tancock.
The Loughborough swimmer had shown at the Commonwealths that he has been gradually turning his 50m speed into 100m success and that continued focus on his second 50m again bore fruit in Melbourne. Tancock absolutely demolished his British record twice on his way to Bronze over 100m, adding a bronze in his signature 50m event as well. His were without doubt the most impressive British swims of the meet.
Those Melbourne performances have guaranteed him a place at the Olympics in Beijing, where he will face even bigger challenges than those faced in 2007, but history shows that you normally have to be there or thereabouts in a pre-Olympic year to have any chance of medalling in the games themselves. From that perspective Liam has given himself the perfect springboard to take on 2008 with confidence. The two Americans Aaron Peirsol and Ryan Lochte, gold and silver winners in Melbourne respectively, will be tough to beat but the race is on for the podium places and Liam has put himself well in the mix for Beijing.