Being a fly on the wall at the British team selection meeting would be an interesting place to be, as the panel meet to decide who will represent Britain at the forthcoming World Swimming Championships. Thirteen swimmers booked their places at the British Championships in April, but that number was only swelled by one at the Stage 3 meet at the Scottish Nationals last weekend.
That makes a team of 14 swimmers who are guaranteed a place on the plane to Spain, but the selectors are faced with some intriguing decisions to make. If they decide, as is likely, that the selection policy should stand as written, many events will be without British representation. That would also see the team without the likes of Georgina Lee, despite the Camphill swimmer setting a British record over 200 fly earlier this year at the US nationals, in a time almost two seconds inside the selection standard.
A further confusion is the status of those swimmers who are only selected for relays. The selection policy seems clear that only swimmers selected for individual events would be considered for additional events based on top 16 qualifying times, leaving the team shorn of such established internationals as Karen Pickering and Karen Legg, both of whom would seem to be heading to Barcelona for team events only.
Not for the first time, much of the problem surrounds Mark Foster. The Bath swimmer qualified for the 50m butterfly at the April trials, but has not yet fulfilled the criteria for selection for his favoured 50m freestyle. Foster was a mere 3 one hundredths away from the automatic qualifying standard in Glasgow and would seem to have also missed the criteria for selection into a second event. His failure to show for the 50m freestyle finals at Bath and Swansea prevented him from posting a time within the top 16 qualifying time at 2 out of the three Stage meets. His performance inside the required standard at an open meet in Zagreb counts for nothing in this selection game.
Foster is seen as something of an outsider by the British swimming establishment, having shunned the demands of Bill Sweetenham for increased training loads amongst others. Relaxing the selection criteria to allow additional swimmers to be selected to the team, would open the door for Foster to compete in the 50 free as well, and could leave those in charge with egg on their faces.
That said, it would seem that the selectors would be cutting their nose off to spite their face if they were to ignore the claims of Lee and for example, the much improved Melanie Marshall or David Davies, something that seemed unthinkable after his performances in Sheffield.
What is for sure is that Sweetenham will not want to be seen as being soft with the result that the team will, in all probability, be noticeably smaller than the 27 swimmers who made the trip to Fukuoka. Few will argue if the Brits return with a stack of medals.
- Zoe Baker (50 Breaststroke)
- Rebecca Cooke (400, 800, 1500 Freestyle)
- Ian Edmond (200 Breaststroke)
- Mark Foster (50 Butterfly)
- Robin Francis (400 IM)
- James Gibson (50, 100 breaststroke)
- James Goddard (200 backstroke)
- Jaime King (100 Breaststroke)
- Darren Mew (50, 100 breaststroke)
- Steve Parry (200 Butterfly)
- Sarah Price (50, 100, 200 Backstroke)
- Katy Sexton (100, 200 backstroke)
- Alison Sheppard (50 Free)
- Graeme Smith (400, 800, 1500 Freestyle)
Please note: This is not an official list of selected swimmers, but one that has been collated by pullbuoy based on the selection policy and the results from the Trials and Bath, Swansea and Glasgow Stage Meets. It does not include swimmers selected only for relays. Pullbuoy takes no responsibility for any errors or omissions.