How Wales’ Dragons Will Book Their Slots in Birmingham

Wales had a creditable showing on the Gold Coast, coming home with 5 medals, four of which were won by their women’s team. Of the medal winners in 2018 Daniel Jervis and Alys Thomas will be hoping to make the grade for selection to the Welsh team for 2022 and to defend their podium positions. Here’s how they, and those hoping to join them, can secure their Birmingham tickets.

There’s no Pre-selection…

Unlike England and Scotland, Wales have forgone preselection so nobody is assured of their place until the selectors meet to finalise team nominations on the 18th April , after the British Championships have taken place

… and they aren’t Trials

Those championships are a key part of the selection process, no doubt, but they aren’t a trials as such. While performances in Sheffield will count, Swim Wales has set a qualifying window that runs from the 1st June 2021 to the 18th April 2022 for swimmers to set times that better the qualification standards in their policy.

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Matt Richards will expect to be on the Welsh squad for Birmingham 200 following his exploits at the Olympic Games in 2021

The times are pretty similar to Scotland’s, but are generally a touch quicker with FINA points ranging from 979 to 873 for women and 804 to 892 for men. Interestingly the 50 stroke events are generally amongst those with the lowest points, potentially opening up a route to selection that would then offer the chance of additional swims where available.

00:25.0450m Freestyle00:22.20
00:54.49100m Freestyle00:49.01
01:59.03200m Freestyle01:48.12
04:12.27400m Freestyle03:50.25
08:39.62800 / 1500m Freestyle15:10.34
00:28.2250 Backstroke00:25.33
01:00.83100m Backstroke00:54.51
02:11.53200m Backstroke01:59.04
00:31.2950 Breaststroke00:27.90
01:07.98100m Breaststroke01:00.13
02:26.16200m Breaststroke02:11.00
00:26.3450 Butterfly00:23.92
00:58.48100m Butterfly00:52.19
02:10.81200m Butterfly01:58.79
02:13.03200m Individual Medley02:00.22
04:43.06400m Individual Medley04:18.06
03:40.544 x 100m Freestyle03:17.17
08:01.894 x 200m Freestyle07:14.80
04:03.104 x 100m Medley03:36.04
03:51.344×100 Mixed Medley 
03:30.684×100 Mixed Freestle

Once the qualifying window has closed, swimmers will be ranked based on times set in any recognised competition and the top 3 in each event will be nominated if they are faster than the required standard. For relays, the squad times from the relevant top 4 swimmers will be summed with a 1.5s takeover tolerance. If the 5th and 6th ranked swimmers in the freestyle events can slot in to 4th place and the team still makes the time then they have a chance of selection also, but that’s not guaranteed.

Perhaps with a view to giving additional qualification opportunities, the mixed relays will also be selected directly rather than drawn from within the squad as with England and Scotland

There is no fixed limit on the team size, but the final numbers need agreement from Commonwealth Games Wales. The fact this is a home Games is important here – Wales took 14 swimmers to Australia, but 28 to Glasgow four years earlier.

Discretion Remains

There is a final lifeline for those who narrowly miss the nomination standard. Those with swims within 0.5% of that time who are on an upward trajectory may still be selected at the selectors’ “complete discretion”.

Alys Thomas will hope to be defending her 200m butterfly title in Birmingham.

This window based approach means we can have a good look at the current state of play. At the end of March 2022 the following swimmers had swims that met the nominations standards within the qualifying period namely:

  • Matt Richards – 100m freestyle
  • Kieren Bird – 400m freestyle
  • Daniel Jervis – 400m freestyle, 1500m freestyle
  • Kyle Booth – 50m breaststroke
  • Lewis Fraser – 50m butterfly
  • Liam White – 50m backstroke
  • Medi Harris – 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke
  • Alys Thomas – 200m butterfly

We should therefore expect those swimmers to be on the team, barring a late rush in Sheffield. But there are a couple of notable absences . Olympians Calum Jarvis and Harriet Jones are not yet secure, having posted their best times of 2021 outside of the qualification window, while Matt Richards has no qualifying 200m freestyle swim, although it’s inconceivable he won’t get a swim in that event.

With such an open approach to selection, it would appear that a fairly decent Welsh contingent could be picked for Birmingham 2022, so there is plenty to swim for in Sheffield.

Banner Image Courtesy GBSwimstars