2002 commonwealth games – how good was the British performance?

It’s easy to forget that the European Championships were running concurrently with the games, and that as a result there was no British representation at them. Of course the domestic swimmers performed admirably in Manchester, but how well would the performances stand up to what went on in Berlin?

So below, we compare the best times of the 11 British commonwealth champions with those swum in the finals of the corresponding European Championship events and see what they would have won. It’s obviously a difficult comparison to make, with racing an important factor in winning medals and as a result, comparing purely on time is difficult to do. Equally there is no guarantee that our swimmers could have reproduced that form in front of a partisan German crowd. We also mustn’t forget that many of the times swum to win lesser medals in Manchester may well have been good enough to win equal or better medals in Berlin. For example, Graeme Smith’s 1500m silver medal winning time would only have been good enough to win the European bronze, but if he had swum in that race he may well have won gold. Nonetheless based purely on the times of those 11 swims, Britain would have collected an impressive haul of 3 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze. Not bad at all!

British Winners:


British swimmer


European position
50 freestyle Alison Sheppard 24.68 1st
200 freestyle Karen Pickering 1:59.64 5th
400 freestyle Rebecca Cooke 4.09.49 3rd=
800 freestyle Rebecca Cooke 8.28.54 3rd
100 backstroke Sarah Price 1.01.06 1st
200 backstroke James Goddard
Sarah Price
50 breastroke James Gibson
Zoë Baker
100 breastroke Adam Whitehead 1.01.05 4th
Women’s 4×200 freestyle England 8.01.39 2nd