No sooner had we speculated that the British team for this summers world championships was going to be smaller than that from two years ago (See who’d be a selector?), than the actual team was announced as containing 34 swimmers – 7 more than made the trip to Japan. Exact individual events for each swimmer have not been announced, but given that only 14 swimmers were assured of their place in the squad following the Trials and Stage 3 meet, that leaves further 20 swimmers who have now been selected.
Of those it seems fairly clear that 18 have been picked for relay squads – whether they will be able to swim in individual events remains to be seen – but it is the remaining two swimmers who provide the real interest in the team as it is not easy to see how they have satisfied the selection policy as it is written.
Few would argue with the selection of David Davies or Georgina Lee and we certainly don’t, but they do not seem to sit with British Swimming’s new hard line policy. Davies’ performances so far this season have been nothing short of outstanding and he fully deserves his trip to Spain, but he didn’t fulfil the selection criteria at either the trials or the stage 3 meet and yet still makes the trip. Lee’s case is muddied by the ambiguous wording in the selection policy covering the US Nationals – it isn’t immediately clear whether her British record swim there in the 200m butterfly carried the same weight as an equivalent performance in the trials.
We’ll probably never find out the exact reasons behind the team selection, but more importantly than the semantics of the selection process, this looks to be one of the best prepared and talented British teams to be sent to a global championships for quite some time. Hopefully they will return with a host of medals.
Editors note: Georgina Lee has been selected for the medley relay squad based on her performance in the 100 fly at the Stage 3 meet in Glasgow. David Davies has been selected as the highest ranked swimmer inside the top 12 selection time in the 1500 freestyle following the Stage 3 meet, based on his performance in the Trials.
Selection for additional events would appear to be at the discretion of Bill Sweetenham, subject to the selection policy criteria.