Aquatics GB Swimming Championships set to stay in London

After the announcement of the rebrand from British Swimming to Aquatics GB there was another piece of news that snuck out as final preparations were undertaken for this year’s Olympic trials at the London Aquatic Centre.

Speaking on the latest episode of his Medal Machine podcast, Tom Dean mentioned that the Aquatics GB Swimming Championships will be moving to the Olympic pool for the next five years, presumably keeping the meet in London until the Olympic trials for Los Angeles roll around in 2028. However, the move is yet to be confirmed anywhere officially by Aquatics GB, who declined to comment when approached.

Dean discussed the role of Aquatics GB CEO Drew Barrand in raising the profile of the sport in a week which also saw a new broadcasting deal for the championships. “Drew is trying to put swimming more in the spotlight and by doing things like this [the broadcast deal] and announcing that the London Aquatic Centre will host the British Championships for the next 5 years he’s doing everything right” said Dean. “And it’s really going to make swimming hopefully more of a spectator sport”.

The potential hosting deal comes off the back of a change of operator at LAC, with GLL giving way to Everyone Active in managing the centre, and this may also have been a factor with hire costs under the previous regime frequently being quoted as a reason for the meet not being in London more often since it was built for the London Olympics. 2024 is only the fourth time the competition has been held there after the Olympic test event in 2012, the world championship trials of 2015 and the Covid-affected trials for Tokyo three years ago.

Dean did though acknowledge that there would be a potential cost penalty for those competing as a result of this change. He revealed that his hotel for his 6 nights was costing £1100, and rooms in the Premier Inn in Westfield Stratford currently go for upwards of £136 a night during the week and £189 at the weekend.

Certainly there had been a degree of grumbling on social media about the costs of attending this year’s championships, but that was driven at least in part by the relatively late confirmation of the venue in November 2023. Knowing it will be in one place no doubt helps early bookers, while those in the south of England might also point to higher travel costs for meets held in Glasgow or Sheffield which might now not be incurred

Regardless of those concerns, if confirmed, it would be a big boost for the Olympic legacy to have this competition in the Olympic park on a regular basis.