The GB Ups and Downs in SwimSwam’s top 100 for 2024

For several years the writers at SwimSwam have polished their crystal balls and set about picking their top 100 male and female swimmers for the year ahead based both on performance historically and potential looking forward. For the most part it’s a matter of opinion and a chance to stimulate debate, rather than hard and fast rankings, but it’s always interesting to review the lists with a GB focus and to see what those looking in from outside make of the British swimming scene.

It’s worth noting that the lists were published before the Doha World Championships took place, but with the benefit of hindsight it’s not clear that a huge amount would have changed from a British standpoint. Extracting the GB rankings, though, still allows an assessment of how the view of Britain as a swimming nation has changed over the last 12 months, so here’s a belated look at this year’s outcomes.

The Women

A big swing amongst the women as four swimmers join the list and only two drop out, leaving seven British ladies in the top 100. Katie Shanahan was the big riser leaping from the lower reaches into the top half off the back of an impressive 200m backstroke at the Fukuoka world championships, while a similar performance in the 400IM at that meet sees Freya Colbert join the list just behind.

Katie Shanahan was the highest ranked GB lady in the top 100.

Colbert is one swimmer who might have ranked higher with the benefit of results from Doha, but Laura Stephens is one where the predictions have been borne out in that she joined the list before winning a world title. Lauren Cox sits between the two following her 50m backstroke exploits in 2023 which were so close to a repeat this year.

Further down, Freya Anderson and Abbie Wood drop around 20 places each but that seems as much to do with the increasing strength in depth in their main events as it is anything to do with their performance.

The bolter is Amelie Blocksidge who had a storming 2023 and is brimming with potential for 2024, a fact that nudges her into the list at number 95. Anna Hopkin drops out, like Anderson and Wood facing intense competition in her main events, while Imogen Clark does likewise, perhaps reflecting the potential lack of international competition she has as a 50 specialist in an Olympic year.

Katie Shanahan4692↑ 46
Freya Colbert52
Lauren Cox53
Laura Stephens60
Freya Anderson8162↓ 19
Abbie Wood8966↓ 23
Amelie Blocksidge95
Anna Hopkin75
Imogen Clark88

The Men

The total number of GB men dropped this year with 4 leavers compared to only 2 joiners, but that still left 7 entrants in the top 100, matching their female counterparts.

Tom Dean overtook his 4×200 free teammates to be top ranked GB man

Tom Dean took over top spot this year, edging his way into the top 10 after a strong 2023 world championships and the potential for a hatful of medals in Paris. His 4x200m teammates Matt Richards and Duncan Scott weren’t far behind, again reflecting their Olympic prospects later this year.

Ben Proud trod water in the upper third, which as a swimmer who focusses on one event only is a credit to his podium consistency. His results in Doha might have prompted the writers to nudge him a bit higher if the exercise was redone now.

Adam Peaty was the big faller, which given how little was known about his condition when the list was assembled is not at all surprising. A ranking of 64th feels very low for a man seeking a third straight Olympic title this year, but the emergence of Qin Haiyang and a modest outing at the 2023 world cup series both play into that, while bronze in Doha and a return to the 58 point territory in the 100 breast instead speak to a better placing.

The newcomers to the list were Ollie Morgan, quickly cementing himself on the GB team and showing a potentially high ceiling for 2024, and Jacob Peters who started to emerge both individually and to the front line of the GB medley relay in 2023. The man he replaced there, James Guy, was perhaps a surprise omission given his short course exploits in December, but he was joined outside the 100 by Lewis Burras, Luke Greenbank, James Wilby and Jacob Whittle who all dropped out after modest returns last season, but have plenty of potential upside for the coming year.

Tom Dean1022↑ 12
Matt Richards1463↑ 49
Duncan Scott1518↑ 3
Ben Proud3229↓ 3
Adam Peaty6414↓ 50
Ollie Morgan73
Jacob Peters94
Lewis Burras43
Luke Greenbank57
James Wilby59
Jacob Whittle80

These lists are the phony war of course, and will no doubt bear little relation to what happens in Paris in July. However it’s encouraging that SwimSwam feel GB’s depth has increased amongst the women in the last 12 months, notwithstanding the name changes, even if the men have dropped back just a touch.

There remains significant potential here of course, and no doubt many who didn’t make this list will swim the house down in 2024 (or indeed, like one example in Max Litchfield, have already done so in Doha). We’ll only really know what it all means when trials roll around in April and the sharp end of the season arrives in Paris.

Check out the full lists for Men and Women on Swimswam.

Banner image: ISL/Mike Lewis