LEN Reveals More on U23 Championships

LEN has released more details of the inaugural European Under 23 Championships which take place later this year. The new information backs up the status of the meet as a development competition but also promises to make it an exciting one, with indications that it will be presented in a less traditional manner.

The key details are:

  • The meet is firmly aimed at those between the ages of 19 and 23, locking out juniors, although for this first edition, teams will be permitted to enter one younger swimmer (aged 14 to 18) in each event
  • There will only be mixed relays
  • Events of 800m and up, plus the 400IM will be timed finals. It’s not clear why heats were retained for the 400m freestyle.
  • The meet programme includes a 50m freestyle skins event
  • Swimmers who have achieved a world championships A qualifying time must swim that event at this year’s world championships if they also want to swim it in Dublin

    The last of these clarifications is the one with potentially the greatest implications, and it’s not quite clear what the intent from LEN is. Given this is being pitched as a development meet, it might have made more sense to have been the other way round, so that swimmers couldn’t swim an event in Dublin they had competed in at Worlds.

    EvanJones002 Evan Jones would remain in the frame for an U23 team after the latest clarifications. Pic: Bruce White for Scottish Swimming

    So what impact does this clarification have on our hypothetical GB team? Well as it happens not that much. The putative selection hadn’t put a lower age limit on in any case so only the FINA ‘A’ time stipulation has an impact. In the table below the swimmers who would be affected based on their best times in 2022, are shown red; this group would be locked out of the relevant event in Dublin, unless they also swam the same event in Fukuoka.

    Alex Cohoon50m FreestyleEvelyn Davis
    Alexander PainterEmma Russell
    Ed Mildred100m FreestyleEvelyn Davis
    Alex CohoonEmma Russell
    William Bell200m FreestyleTamryn Van Selm
    Ed MildredMia Slevin
    William Bell400m FreestyleMia Slevin
    Hector PardoeTamryn Van Selm
    Hector Pardoe800 FreestyleLeah Crisp
    William BellFleur Lewis
    Hector Pardoe1500m FreestyleFleur Lewis
    William BellLeah Crisp
    Seb Somerset50 BackstrokeLauren Cox
    Oliver MorganLeah Whittaker
    Jonathan Adam100m BackstrokeLauren Cox
    Cameron BrookerPia Murray
    Cameron Brooker200m BackstrokeKatie Shanahan
    Charlie BrownHolly McGill
    Archie Goodburn50 BreaststrokeKatie Goodburn
    Bradley NewmanSienna Robinson
    Archie Goodburn100m BreaststrokeKayla Van Der Merwe
    Elliot WoodburnLily Booker
    Harvey Freeman200m BreaststrokeLily Booker
    George SmithYvonne Brown
    Joshua Gammon50 ButterflySophie Yendell
    Sebastian RawesKeanna MacInnes
    Ed Mildred100m ButterflyKeanna MacInnes
    Joshua GammonLucy Grieve
    Hector Pardoe200m ButterflyKeanna MacInnes
    Rhys EdwardsEmily Large
    Evan Jones200m Individual MedleyLily Booker
    Kaden EdwardsKatie Shanahan
    Kaden Edwards400m Individual MedleyLily Booker
    Charlie HutchinsonKatie Shanahan

    The issue then for these five swimmers is the gaping chasm between the FINA A time and the GB consideration times, let alone the automatic qualifying standards. If they make the plane to Japan then of course they would have the option of backing that up in Dublin, but there is a real danger of them falling into the no-man’s land where they have the A time, but don’t get picked, locking them out of this meet too. Based on 2022, that’s a particular issue for Lauren Cox and Katie Shanahan but could easily trap a few others such as Ed Mildred, Jonathan Adam, or Keanna Macinnes.

    Of course we don’t yet know what GB’s plans are for this championships; there still remains the distinct possibility that no GB team will go anyway, but these latest developments add another layer of complexity in predicting who might be able to travel across the Irish Sea in August.

    Banner image: Katie Shanahan by ISL/Mine Kasapoglu

    4 thoughts on “LEN Reveals More on U23 Championships”

    1. What about the fabulous Amelie Blocksidge? Could she get a look in?

      1. I think she would be just old enough for this year, and right up there on times if British Swimming were so inclined to pick her; the team shown above was just based on trials last year as an illustration.

    2. I’m struggling with the logic here of the LEN rules

      This would seemingly leave out a swimmer who finished third at trials with the A standard – therefore missing out on Worlds but not being able to swim that event at U23s? That feels like one of the specific groups this champs should be appealing to!

      1. That’s what it would mean and exactly the point I was trying to make above, because those swimmers would be excluded as you say (albeit it’s a small number for GB currently) – it would make much more sense if it was the other way round.

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