With a little under two weeks to go until swimming kicks off at a World Championships shoehorned into Olympic year, World Aquatics has released the initial entries. From that it’s been possible to determine what events the British team will be contesting as part of their preparation for Olympic trials in April.
Individually, 16 of the 20 British swimmers selected will compete, with nobody entered in more than two events, although relays will clearly be added to programmes in due course. There are two big comebacks with Adam Peaty making his return to World Championship competition after four and a half years to take on the 50 and 100m breaststroke, while Max Litchfield returns from a period in the wilderness and adds a slightly left field 200m fly to the expected 400IM swim.
Overall the individual entries show the following:
- Freya Colbert – 200 Backstroke, 400 IM
- Lauren Cox – 50 Backstroke, 100 Backstroke
- Kathleen Dawson – 50 Backstroke, 100 Backstroke
- Luke Greenbank – 100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke
- Lucy Hope – 200 Freestyle
- Anna Hopkin – 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle
- Max Litchfield – 200 Butterfly, 400 IM
- Jack McMillan – 200 Freestyle, 400 Freestyle
- Adam Peaty – 50 Breaststroke, 100 Breaststroke
- Benjamin Proud – 50 Freestyle
- Matthew Richards – 100 Freestyle
- Duncan Scott – 200 Freestyle, 200 IM
- Laura Stephens – 200 Butterfly
- James Wilby – 100 Breaststroke
- Brodie Williams – 200 Backstroke
- Abbie Wood – 200 Freestyle, 200 IM
There are few surprises here, but a couple of interesting points to consider.
Freya Colbert taking on the 200 back raises the question of whether she will swim it at Trials and aim for Paris. Given there is a clash with the 200IM at the Olympics there may be a choice to be made, but at trials the medley comes first and is highly competitive, so it could be we see her swim both in London, and then take a decision on which events to pursue once the outcomes are clear. If nothing else, Doha represents a chance for a global medal and is hence a worthwhile endeavour on its own merits.
Having missed out on Fukuoka for personal reasons, Jack McMillan has an opportunity to showcase his credentials over 200m and 400m freestyle credentials – the longer of the two is an open event as far as GB is concerned, despite Kieran Bird’s return to form over the past few months, and it will be interesting to see how the Stirling swimmer acquits himself.
Beyond the individual entries, that then leaves four other swimmers who are entered in relays only
- Tom Dean – Men’s 4×100 freestyle
- Jacob Whittle – Men’s 4×100 freestyle
- Joe Litchfield – Men’s 4 x 200 freestyle relay
- Medi Harris – Women’s 4×200 freestyle & Mixed 4×100 medley relay
In his interview after winning the 200 free in Flanders, Dean was open about the fact that he is staying only for the 4×1 free on the opening day before heading to Bath’s Gold Coast training camp, and it could be assumed Whittle is doing likewise. The entry of Joe Litchfield for the men’s 4×2 confirms GB will swim it, and the team is likely see him joined by Scott, Richards and McMillan, with the older Litchfield another possibility.
With Olympic spots to be confirmed after Doha, it was only the men’s 4×100 free who really needed to swim this meet, so it is a positive to see the Women’s 4×200 freestyle given a shot with Harris likely teaming up with Colbert, Lucy Hope and Abbie Wood. That’s a team that has occasionally gotten the rough end of the selection deal so a chance here for them to put forward a case for an Olympic pick, subject of course to trials outcomes.
Swimming in Doha kicks off on Sunday 11th February. Entries can be seen on the World Aquatics website