It was less “reinventing the wheel” than it was “steady as she goes” as British Swimming named 54 swimmers to the 2023/24 funding lists ahead of Olympic season. The total number of funded swimmers grew by one from last year, but the relatively small turnover, reflects a desire for consistency ahead of the big show in Paris next summer. Here’s how the funding groups have evolved from last year.
The British Swimming hierarchy have resisted making any changes to their selection here with everyone who was funded on this tier last year retained for the new year. Instead, they have added to this group, bit elevating Katie Shanahan, Freya Colbert and Laura Stephens, all of whom performed well at the World Championships from the podium potential group to the top level. That’s no great surprise, with all three having the potential to secure highly placed finishes in Paris, with Shanahan the highest placed at 4th in the 200m backstroke.
There’s also a first selection for Ollie Morgan who in 2023 quickly established himself as a vital cog in the British relay machine. He put in a series of strong performances in Fukuoka that made omitting him all but impossible, but it’s a reflection on just how important he is to the medley relay that he goes straight in at the top level rather than at the potential group.
The biggest surprise, if it can be called that, amongst this group is the fact that Kathleen Dawson is retained, perhaps reflecting the maxim that form is temporary, but class is permanent. Certainly, Dawson has a lot of credit in the bank after her performances in 2021 but has yet to return to those levels of performance after two injury affected seasons. Her 2023 best of 1:00.50 over 100m backstroke leaves her well shy of her best, but Bill Furniss and Chris Spice have given a vote of confidence in her ability to scale those performance heights once more.
In the table below those retaining their spots are highlighted green and newcomers to the group are shown blue.
|Freya Anderson||Freya Anderson|
|Lewis Burras||Lewis Burras|
|Kathleen Dawson||Kathleen Dawson|
|Tom Dean||Tom Dean|
|Luke Greenbank||Luke Greenbank|
|James Guy||James Guy|
|Medi Harris||Medi Harris|
|Lucy Hope||Lucy Hope|
|Anna Hopkin||Anna Hopkin|
|Daniel Jervis||Daniel Jervis|
|Joe Litchfield||Joe Litchfield|
|Adam Peaty||Adam Peaty|
|Jacob Peters||Jacob Peters|
|Ben Proud||Benjamin Proud|
|Matt Richards||Matt Richards|
|Duncan Scott||Duncan Scott|
|Jacob Whittle||Jacob Whittle|
|James Wilby||James Wilby|
|Brodie Williams||Brodie Williams|
|Abbie Wood||Abbie Wood|
There is greater turnover in this group, as has often been the case in recent years, while the total number of funded swimmers has fallen, reflecting the increase in the upper tier. In total, nine swimmers drop out and three (Shanahan, Colbert and Stephens) are promoted leaving space for8 swimmers to slot in.
Lauren Cox is rewarded for being the first individual female world medallist since 2015 with a funding slot. Although many would argue she could have been up a level the fact that medal came in non-Olympic event no doubt counted against her. Kara Hanlon is also added after confirming her status as the number one British female breaststroker this year.
Of the other chanegs notable additions include Amelie Blocksidge who has shown incredible distance potential this year gains a spot, while Jack MacMillan and Alex Cohoon are both added, perhaps with an eye on continuing to grow Britain’s freestyle relay depth, and Emily Large is rewarded for her dramatic return to form this year.
In the table below those retaining their spots are highlighted green, newcomers to the group are shown yellow, while those who have left are shown orange. The blue highlighted swimmers are those who moved up to the Podium funding tier.
|Jonathon Adam||Jonathon Adam|
|Cameron Brooker||Cameron Brooker|
|Charlie Brown||Charlie Brown|
|Evelyn Davis||Evelyn Davis|
|Evie Dilley||Evie Dilley|
|Lucy Grieve||Lucy Grieve|
|Robbie Hemmings||Robbie Hemmings|
|Charlie Hutchison||Charlie Hutchison|
|Evan Jones||Evan Jones|
|Keanna MacInnes||Keanna MacInnes|
|Tyler Melbourne-Smith||Tyler Melbourne-Smith|
|Edward Mildred||Edward Mildred|
|Eva Okaro||Eva Okaro|
|Alexander Painter||Alexander Painter|
|Hector Pardoe||Hector Pardoe|
|Sienna Robinson||Sienna Robinson|
|Reuben Rowbotham-Keating||Reuben Rowbotham-Keating|
|Leah Schlosshan||Leah Schlosshan|
|George Smith||George Smith|
|Matthew Ward||Matthew Ward|
|Elliot Woodburn||Elliot Woodburn|
In a pre-Olympic year this funding selection gives a good indication of where the British Swimming brains trust believes the Olympic team is going to come from. In 2021 there were only 6 of 28 swimmers picked for Tokyo who filled the role of bolters and came from outside the podium programmes to make it to the Games. If nothing else that’s an incentive to those who have missed out this time round to prove Bill and Chris wrong.
Banner image: British Swimming /Georgie Kerr