The British Championships is the meet from which the team headed to Fukuoka and the World Championships of 2023 will be selected.
As is customary it’s not an easy task for swimmers to reach the standards that have been set by the selectors as part of this year’s selection policy, but there are notionally 22 spots up for grabs in the Ponds Forge pool with 8 further discretionary picks also available and likely to be heavily influenced by performances. So there is a lot at stake for those with international aspirations.
Below we have summarised the world championships selection position after each day of competition. Please note this is only our interpretation of how the policy will be applied and final selections need to be confirmed by the relevant selectors in due course.
As ever, if you spot an error please get in touch.
The men’s 200m freestyle brought the curtain down on the British Championships in fine style once again as Matt Richards and Tom Dean took the top 2 spots in an epic duel down the final 50m. The Welshman took the touch in 1:44.83 to 1:44.93 – both men under the Worlds qualification time. James Guy and Duncan Scott in 3rd and 4th ensured that the 4×200 also made the required selection standard.
Elsewhere it was slim pickings on the selection front. Kara Hanlon won the 100m breaststroke and Keanna Macinnes won the 100m butterfly in a Scottish Record but both were left hoping for wild cards having fallen short of the consideration times. The women’s and mixed medley relays fell similarly short.
There were brighter spots in the 1500m free for women as Amelie Blocksidge won her maiden national title on her 14th birthday and Ollie Morgan completed a backstroke clean sweep over 200m. Neither troubled the consideration standards however.
James Guy was hence the only addition to the roster on the final day, leaving the team at 15 and the selectors with 15 possible wildcards to fill after their about turn on the limit of 8 mid-championships.
A pair of dramatic 200IM head to heads dominated day 5 in Sheffield as both produced what could be called upsets. The women’s event saw Katie Shanahan continue her excellent week as she touched out Abbie Wood by 0.06s as both ladies recorded results inside the Qualifying Time for Fukuoka. Only Shanahan, whose time of 2:09.40 was a Scottish Record, is guaranteed to be selected but Wood will surely make the plane.
The men’s equivalent was similarly close, with 0.07s separating victor Tom Dean from runner up Duncan Scott as he touched in a PB of 1:56.65. Both men were under the world championships consideration time, something that Dan Jervis, in the 800m freestyle and Ben Proud, in the 50m freestyle also achieved.
In the women’s 400 freestyle Freya Colbert took her third gold of the week but despite a PB by about 2s her winning time of 4:06.80 was shy of a very stiff consideration time.
Katie Shanahan and Freya Colbert again starred in the fourth night in Sheffield as they went head to head once more, this time over 200m backstroke. It was the Scot who emerged victorious this time, a lifetime best and worlds consideration time the by products, while Colbert had to settle for silver despite smashing her lifetime best.
There was an upset over 100m butterfly as Jacob Peters got the better of his Bath team mate James Guy, set a worlds consideration time and lifetime best of 51.16 and lifted himself to second all time on the GB rankings.
Further consideration times were secured by Freya Anderson and Anna Hopkin in the 100m freestyle as both ladies added their second likely qualifications for Fukuoka. That was something that eluded James Wilby who was short of the required standard despite victory in the 200m breaststroke. He’s likely left hoping for the medley relay team to get the nod.
After a low key day 2, day 3 brought the heat to the Ponds Forge pool as the number of potential world championship team members grew to 11.
All eyes were on the mens 100 freestyle but it was the women’s 200 fly that caught the eye most as Laura Stephens blasted a qualifying time and Emily Large added a consideration time, both ladies with lifetime bests, while Keanna Macinnes was locked out of contention for Fukuoka but still dropped a Scottish Record in third.
But if it didn’t take top billing, the mens 100 free still didn’t disappoint with the first 7 men under 49s and Lewis Burras defending his title in 47.99, under the consideration standard. There was a queue behind him as a welcome return to form for Duncan Scott saw him just 0.01 behind in 48.00 also posting a consideration time. Matt Richards was third another 0.02 back having blasted the world’s top time of 47.72 in the heats while Tom Dean’s 48.32 in fourth took the quartet under the relay consideration time.
Another guaranteed World Championships spot was grabbed by Dan Jervis who swam within a whisker of his lifetime best to set an automatic qualification time in the 1500 free in 14:46.95. Meanwhile Anna Hopkin added a consideration time of 24.51 in victory over 50m freestyle.
It wasn’t a day that will bother the World Championships selectors unduly, without a consideration time being posted, let alone a Qualifying time. There were some high points however with two of them having US links.
Gillian Davey, of the University of Kentucky and daughter of 1988 and 1992 GB Olympian John Davey, sliced 1.6s off her lifetime best in the 200m breaststroke to take the win in 2:25.07, moving her up to 8th all time on the GB rankings.
Meanwhile Sophie Yendell moved up to second all time on the GB rankings for the 50 fly behind Francesca Halsall. She swam the 50y free at NCAAs just recently so that result bodes well for the 50m freestyle later this week.
On the men’s side Ollie Morgan smashed through the 54s barrier for the first time I’m e in the 100m backstroke heats with a lifetime best of 53.77 then repeated the feat in the final with 53.92 to just take the win ahead of Cam Brooker. He’ll be hoping for a medley relay spot having missed the individual consideration time.
A good day to be called Freya as the championships opened. Freya Colbert posted the first and only automatic qualifying time of the night in winning the 400IM with a huge lifetime best of 4:35.50, heading Katie Shanahan who was under the consideration standard with a lifetime best of her own. Meanwhile Freya Anderson set a lifetime best in the 200 freestyle, becoming only the third British swimmer under 1:56 with 1:55.89, which left her just 0.03 shy of the automatic mark, but secured another consideration time.
The women’s 4×200 free team were 0.72s outside their target time, despite 4 lifetime bests in the top 5 finishers, but with Colbert assured of her place, and Anderson, Abbie Wood and Medi Harris likely to be selected anyway, they may yet get the nod to swim. The question will be if the selectors opt to take any extra swimmers – Lucy Hope and Jess Podger, who broke 2 minutes for the first time in 5th place, will no doubt be hoping they do.
Banner Image: ISL/Mike Lewis