Britain Will Send a Team to 2024 Euros

It wasn’t entirely clear that it would happen, but Britain has confirmed it will send a small team to this year’s European Championships set to take place in Belgrade this summer.

With the extra world championships shoehorned into February, the Europeans have been shunted back in the calendar, and instead of a mid May slot that it usually occupies in Olympic year, the meet is scheduled for late June. The pool swimming will take place from 17th to the 23rd June, putting it only 5 weeks before competition kicks off in Paris.

With that in mind, it wasn’t clear that Britain would go at all, and that there would be no repeat of 2016 and 2021 where the entire Olympic team competed in London and Budapest as part of their Games preparation. Instead it’s more akin to 2012 when a skeleton squad of five headed to Debrecen in Hungary, with the selection policy now confirming that a small team of up to 10 will travel to Serbia. That group will be selected following the British Championships but will not include anyone picked for the Olympics or indeed the European Junior Championships.

There are no fixed selection criteria, with the ubiquitous discretion the order of the day and a team to be picked from those “on a trajectory for a podium performance at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games“.

Given the average age of the 2021 Olympic team was 24 with a range of 17 to 31, and most swimmers under 18 who are on that trajectory would be expected to go to European Juniors, that implies selection will be focussed on those in the 19-23 age band. That group is hence likely to capture some of those who went to the European U23 Championships last year.

The event looks like it will be used provide a welcome target and development opportunity for those senior swimmers who fall short of the Olympics this time round, but it could be expected there will be a slant towards those in the various Performance Centres. Whatever approach is taken though, it’s a positive development to see Britain represented at this competition.

UPDATE: While Britain’s pool Olympians will not be in Serbia, their open water counterparts will. With the marathon swimming finishing a week sooner in Belgrade and starting a week later in Paris than the pool events, there is more time to transition from one to another especially as the 10km event is on the first day of the earlier competition. That means Hector Pardoe, Toby Robinson and Leah Crisp will all take to the waters of Ada Ciganlija to contest the European title in June before heading to the Olympic race in early August.