GB’s European Relay Queens Set Fair for Tokyo

The fate of Britain’s female freestyle relays was one of the selection questions that needed answering in the heat of competition in Budapest. With the qualification deadline looming on 31st May, this was the last chance for the two teams to set times and secure their spots in Tokyo, subject of course to the selectors giving them the nod.

Both quartets swam to gold medals of course, but how do they now sit in terms of the Olympics? Remembering that the selection policy is a little vague in terms of second chance selection for relays here’s how things appear to stand right now.

4x100m Freestyle

This one should be pretty straightforward. An eye-catching performance in the final from Lucy Hope (who set a Scottish record on the lead off) Anna Hopkin, Abbie Wood and Freya Anderson saw them home in 3:34.17, a new British Record.

Any way you cut it, that’s well under the relay consideration standard of 3:35.64 and more importantly moves the team to the head of the wild card queue.

1Great Britain3:34.17

The only question mark arises because the selection criteria was just based on the sum of the first four finishers’ times at trials, with no takeover allowance, so it’s not 100% clear how the selectors will compare directly with a team performance. But they do have flexibility to include other relay splits to make up a qualifying quartet so common sense should be applied here.

Even if they opt not to do that, re-ranking the top four from trials with their improved flat start performances in Budapest, where appropriate, takes them under the required standard.

SwimmerTrials TimeUpdated Time
Freya Anderson00:53.4000:53.40
Anna Hopkin00:53.4900:53.43
Lucy Hope00:54.1900:53.89
Evelyn Davis00:54.6900:54.69

So it appears almost certain that this relay will go to Tokyo now, with Lucy Hope looking like she will be added to the team, and the only question is whether Evie Davis makes the trip, with the rules around relay only swimmers having to swim at least the heats, possibly complicating the decision making process a little.

4x200m freestyle

The women’s 4×200 relay team celebrate their victory in Budapest. Pic: LEN / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

The same selection logic can be applied to the longer freestyle team, with the critical difference that the winning time in their final was still shy of the required standard, despite the fact that it again took the team to the top of the wildcard standings.

1Great Britain7:53.15

With a qualification time of 7:50.05 required, the result was over 3 seconds shy of where they needed to be. It would probably be possible to substitute in Abbie Wood’s split from the victorious mixed 4×200 freestyle relay but this still leaves the team agonisingly short of the qualifying standard.

Lucy Hope1:58.451:58.45
Tamryn Van Selm1:58.591:58.59
Holly Hibbott1:59.71
Abbie Wood1:56.67
Freya Anderson1:56.401:56.40
Total time7:53.157:50.11

Looking at the individual times again though, there is a ray of light. Freya Anderson was faster in her individual 200m in Budapest than in London, and this is just enough to tip the balance:

Trials TimeUpdated Time
Freya Anderson01:56.8001:56.42
Abbie Wood01:57.4801:57.48
Lucy Hope01:57.6501:57.65
Holly Hibbott01:58.4101:58.41
Total Time07:50.3407:49.96

This one remains less clear cut however. Clearly there is a strong argument for taking this team, but the selectors will need to balance this against the need to manage the workload of Wood and Anderson, especially as the 4×100 team looks to have a better chance overall. It is not certain that a team without that duo would make it out of the heats, based on performances so far this year. If it does go, it’s then down to whether one or both of Holly Hibbott, who was in the qualifying spot at trials, or Tamryn Van Selm, who was the better performer in Budapest, would make the trip.

So the picture is much clearer but still not certain. The final decision is due to be announced on 8th June.

Banner image: LEN / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto