With most of their GB international teammates having recorded their first long course swims of 2016, a team from Stirling University took to the pool in Amiens to fire their opening salvo of the year in the 50m pool. They were joined by a contingent from London, led by swimmers from the performance programme at the London Aquatics centre.
Leading the way was Robbie Renwick who posted an encouraging early season time of 1:47.94 to win the 200 free, and was also sub 50s in the heats of the 100m event. He went on to post 50.06 for 6th in the final. Ahead of him in that race was his younger compatriot Duncan Scott who raced to 3rd with a time of 49.66, just half a second shy of his lifetime best. Over 200m, he was again close to his lifetime best with a 1:48.85 for third place.
With those two adding themselves to the 200 free melting pot in this Olympic year, the battle is already hotting up for spots on the 4×200 free squad who will look to add Olympic gold to their world title. Six men are already sub 1:50 this year; Calum Jarvis the only man involved in Kazan not to be present amongst that group.
2016 GB men 200 freestyle rankings as at 8-2-16
- 01:46.91 – James Guy
- 01:47.94 – Robbie Renwick
- 01:48.85 – Duncan Scott
- 01:48.85 – Stephen Milne
- 01:49.50 – Nicholas Grainger
- 01:49.56 – Dan Wallace
The men’s breaststroke events will also be some of the most keenly contested at Trials, and two fo the men hoping to make it through that battle to Rio were also in action. Ross Murdoch opened his 2016 account with third in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke in 1:01.55 and 2:13.98 respectively as well as a 27.87 swim to silver in the 50m event. He led home teammate Craig Benson, with 1:01.97 and 2:14.97 on the board, in both the 100 and 200. Benson was of course a surprise qualifier for London in 2012, but faces a tough battle to replicate that feat this time round.
Elsewhere there were podium placings for Cameron Brodie, who took 2nd in the 100 fly in 54.46 and third in the 200 in 1:59.99, and Charlie Boldison who was runner up in the 100 back in 55.85.
Meanwhile, London’s Aimee Willmott was taking a leaf our of her medley contemporary Hannah Miley’s book as she competed in no fewer than six events. The pick was her 4:36.48 swim to silver behind a very quick Katinka Hosszu in the 400 IM. That was down on her performance from Flanders, but still represents a solid time for in season racing. She added 2:13.06 for runners up spot in the 200IM as well.