Consistency the Key for Funding as Paris Looms

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 AndersonFreya Anderson
Lewis BurrasLewis Burras
 Freya Colbert
Kathleen DawsonKathleen Dawson
Tom DeanTom Dean
Luke GreenbankLuke Greenbank
James GuyJames Guy
Medi HarrisMedi Harris
Lucy HopeLucy Hope
Anna HopkinAnna Hopkin
Daniel JervisDaniel Jervis
Joe LitchfieldJoe Litchfield
 Oliver Morgan
Adam PeatyAdam Peaty
Jacob PetersJacob Peters
Ben ProudBenjamin Proud
Matt RichardsMatt Richards
Duncan ScottDuncan Scott
 Katie Shanahan
 Laura Stephens
Jacob WhittleJacob Whittle
James WilbyJames Wilby
Brodie WilliamsBrodie Williams
Abbie WoodAbbie Wood

Podium Potential

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 AdamJonathon Adam
Angus Allison 
William Bell 
Kieran Bird 
Kyle Booth 
 Amelie Blocksidge
Cameron BrookerCameron Brooker
Charlie BrownCharlie Brown
Freya Colbert 
 Skye Carter
 Alexander Cohoon
 Phoebe Cooper
 Lauren Cox
Evelyn DavisEvelyn Davis
Evie DilleyEvie Dilley
Kaden Edwards 
Harvey Freeman 
Lucy GrieveLucy Grieve
 Kara Hanlon
Robbie HemmingsRobbie Hemmings
Charlie HutchisonCharlie Hutchison
Evan JonesEvan Jones
 Blythe Kinsman
Cameron Kurle 
 Emily Large
Keanna MacInnesKeanna MacInnes
James McFadzen 
 Jack McMillan
Tyler Melbourne-SmithTyler Melbourne-Smith
Edward MildredEdward Mildred
Eva OkaroEva Okaro
Alexander PainterAlexander Painter
Hector PardoeHector Pardoe
Sienna RobinsonSienna Robinson
Reuben Rowbotham-KeatingReuben Rowbotham-Keating
Emma Russell 
Leah SchlosshanLeah Schlosshan
Katie Shanahan 
George SmithGeorge Smith
Laura Stephens 
Matthew WardMatthew Ward
Elliot WoodburnElliot 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

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