2021 British Trials: Max Litchfield Hits 4:14 IM, Thomas/Stephens Swim 2:09 FL

2021 BRITISH SWIMMING SELECTION TRIALS

The 2021 British Selection Trials continue to impress at the London Aquatics Centre with this morning’s preliminaries now in the books leading into Friday’s PM finals session. Yesterday night, six more Brits swam under the Olympic selection standard, giving the selection committee 11 total swims to choose from for representation at the Olympics after two days of competition. Tonight at 7pm British time/11am Pacific/1pm Central/2pm Eastern, the finals of the men’s 400 IM, women’s 200 fly, men’s 100 free, women’s 400 free, and men’s 200 breast will take place. But first, here’s this morning’s prelims highlights:

Day 3 Prelims Highlights

After placing 3rd in the 200 IM final on Wednesday, Loughborough’s Max Litchfield nabbed the top men’s 400 IM seed at 4:14.67, the only sub-4:20 swim of the session. Litchfield needs to drop 1.2s in order to meet Britain’s selection standard of 4:13.47. Rounding out the top three times were Bath NC’s Jacob Greenow (4:20.13) and Loughborough’s Charlie Hutchison (4:20.42).

Another individual 3rd-place finisher grabbing the top seed heading into finals was Swansea’s Alys Thomas, who improved from 3rd in the 100 fly to leading the women’s 200 fly prelims at 2:09.02, a meager 0.02s ahead of Plymouth’s Laura Stephens (2:09.04). The British standard to punch the ticket to Tokyo is a 2:08.32, seven-tenths faster than Thomas and Stephens. Also breaking 2:10 was Bath NC’s Emily Large (2:09.64).

Immediately swimming under the Olympic qualifying standard of 48.35 was pre-selected Olympian Stirling’s Duncan Scott in the men’s 100 free, grabbing the top seed at 48.19. Bath NC teammates Thomas Dean (48.53) and Matthew Richards (48.78) rounded out the top three times, with Dean being the closest to the 48.35 selection standard. Placing fourth was 200 IM runner-up Joe Litchfield of Loughborough (48.90) while 16-year-old Jacob Whittle of Derventio hit fifth at 49.31.

Cruising to the women’s 400 free top seed was Bath NC’s Holly Hibbott, registering a morning swim of 4:14.07. The British qualification time sits at a swift 4:05.96. Hibbott’s lifetime best came from the 2018 European Championships, hitting the No. 4 British swim all-time of 4:05.01. At the 2016 Olympics, Jazmin Carlin earned Olympic silver with a 4:01.23, No. 3 all-time in British history. Teammate Leah Crisp placed second this morning at 4:15.50.

While Adam Peaty and James Wilby were pre-selected for the 100 breast, Stirling breaststroker Ross Murdoch has a shot at punching his ticket to Tokyo in the men’s 200 breast after swimming 2:09.90 for the top finals seed. Murdoch only needs to shave 0.85s from this morning to hit Britain’s standard of 2:09.05. He owns the British record at 2:07.30 from the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Loughborough’s Wilby placed second this morning at 2:10.29.

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Sapnu puas
7 months ago

Well consider me perched for the 100m freestyle. Hope Scott can drag at least one other under the consideration time!

Also hello GB throwing their hat into the mix for outside bronze medal contention in 4×100 free

Last edited 7 months ago by Sapnu puas
John
Reply to  Sapnu puas
7 months ago

Can Chuck Jimmy guy in the mix aswell!!

Jack
Reply to  John
7 months ago

And Ben Proud for Heats.

Khachaturian
Reply to  Sapnu puas
7 months ago

Who is their four person relay?

AnEn
Reply to  Khachaturian
7 months ago

Probably Scott, Dean, Guy and Proud/McLay/Richards/Whittle/Litchfield.

Sapnu puas
Reply to  Khachaturian
7 months ago

Scott, Guy, Richards, Dean would be my shout

Jack
Reply to  Sapnu puas
7 months ago

Can probably remove McLay from that equation now. Can’t imagine they would take someone who didnt even make the A final in their only competitive event to Europeans and allow him to swim individually. May do it at the Glascow or other qaulifying meet opportunities though but I’dsay its unlikely.

Dee
7 months ago

Those 100 free heats have me salivating over the 200 on Sunday. Litchfield, Kurle and Dean dropped a combined 2s on their PBs. Matt Richards looked to have something left in the tank, and I’d take him to finish 2nd to Duncan tonight. My only slight frustration is the 200 being the very last event of the week (again!), leaving athletes vulnerable to fatigue.

You can probably risk resting Duncan for 4×1 heats now too, which is a bonus for him personally. Separately, does anybody know what’s up with Burras? AWOL since his 48.5 in 2019. Such a talented swimmer.

Iain
Reply to  Dee
7 months ago

I’d like to see Richards get second, but I don’t see it – I think he went slower in the evening in all his events at both Manchester meets. I hope I’m wrong!

Dee
Reply to  Iain
7 months ago

He has history doing that in season, but I can’t find any tapered meets where he didn’t get faster through the rounds. Obviously he’s at Bath now so things may well be a bit different, but I thought he looked very controlled this AM.

Last edited 7 months ago by Dee
Iain
Reply to  Dee
7 months ago

And as usual you are on the money! 🙂

Rafael
Reply to  Dee
7 months ago

Without Scott I think GBR won´t qualify for finals..

Dee
Reply to  Rafael
7 months ago

It would be a risk, but I don’t see a choice, Scott can’t race everything. Three 48s men this morning + James Guy is a pretty handy team. We’ll see what happens tonight!

Breezeway
7 months ago

Duncan looks good. Expect a big meet from him in Tokyo

John
7 months ago

If Jimmy Guy goes 50. In the 100 fly tomorrow, surly the 4×100 medley is GBs????

Dee
Reply to  John
7 months ago

Not with a 54s backstroker.

John
Reply to  Dee
7 months ago

hmmmm
peaty has been 56.5 in a relay,
Scott 46.1 in a relay
Jimmy guy 50.4 in a relay
if the backstroker goes 54 that’s 3.27.0 lol I’m pretty sure peaty and guy will go quicker.

Dee
Reply to  John
7 months ago

Agree Peaty will do something ridiculous, but we can’t expect another 46.1 anchor.

maybe?
Reply to  Dee
7 months ago

Tbf, Greenbank has a pretty nasty looking injury so for him to do 54.1 is not that bad, I think he could do a 53.5 come tokyo which I know is still shit but with Peaty (who could do a 56.0 relay split come Tokyo, Guy (who is arguably in his best form since 2017 and is an excellent relay swimmer) and Scott ( who is in the best form of his life), I think GB has a really good shot of beating the US (and Russia) come Tokyo.

Swimmer24
Reply to  Dee
7 months ago

Tbf if you put in context 54.12 from Greenbank with a sprained ankle isn’t bad, will easily be faster in the summer

Last edited 7 months ago by Swimmer24
Lopez
Reply to  John
7 months ago

Only if GB can go 3:26

Sqimgod
7 months ago

Weird how james guy does the 100 fly but not the 100 free

Jack
Reply to  Sqimgod
7 months ago

I think necessity is part of that. 2015/16 is when he started doing 100 fly properly because GB had Walker-Hebborn, Peaty and Proud/ Scott but no true international Fly swimmmer – Barratt was the best but not olympic final worthy. Guy saw the open spot and went for it. He’s now an Olympic/ Commonwealth Silver and World/ European Gold medalist in the medley relay because of that. If your winning at somthing why trade it for something that wont do as well (Men’s 4×100 free)

John
Reply to  Jack
7 months ago

Best comment I’ve seen 👌🏻

Boobstroke
Reply to  Jack
7 months ago

I’d also like to think that the 200 free main event plus great focus on the 100 fly (not forgetting world bronze and a nice pb of 50.6) helped to translate into his 100 free as he split 47 on the relay in Gwangju.

After tonight’s performance GB can send a 4×1 free team, plug guy in the heats given his stronger current form (to rest Scott too, he’s gonna need it lol) and see if he can split his way to a final. Richards going 48.2 to get considered for individual, plus whittle, Litchfield and Dean, I think it’s feasible

AnEn
7 months ago

In the live stream someone from british swimming said that their goal (in Tokyo) is to win more medals than in Rio, so 7 medals at least. Any thoughts on the probability of that happening? Who are the favorites for those 7 medals?

Dee
Reply to  AnEn
7 months ago

If we’re looking at opportunities, say people you’d expect to finish top 5, currently I’d class that as Peaty, Wilby, Scott x2, Renshaw, Dawson, Wood, 3x relays… so ten… You’d aim for half of them hitting as a minimum, so call it 5, and that’s the kind of area I expect GB to finish, 6 medals give or take. Plausible enough, but not easy.

Only halfway through trials though, lets see where we end up on Sunday.

Last edited 7 months ago by Dee
AnEn
Reply to  Dee
7 months ago

Not sure if i would say that i expect the men’s 400 free relay (ahead at least one out of Brazil/Italy/Australia) or Wood in the 200 IM (ahead at least 3 out of McKeown, Ye Shiwen, Hosszu, Margalis, Pickrem, 2nd american, Ohashi) to finish top 5. Obviously it wouldn’t be a shock, but i also don’t see it as a lock.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  AnEn
7 months ago

I assume Dee’s 3 relays are men’s 4×1 medley, men’s 4×2 free and the mixed medley.

AnEn

Ok, in that case i agree. After today’s events GB might actually be the favorite for bronze in the men’s 400 free relay. Whittle and Richards are almost guaranteed to improve until Tokyo and then you will have 1 guy at sub 48 and 3 guys between 48 and 48.5. I think on paper GB could/should be faster than Italy/Brazil. The big question mark is Australia. If they can get 3 guys (Chalmers excluded) to sub 48.5, then they would probably still be favored over GB. I also think that GB now can afford to rest Scott in prelims. Dean/Whittle/Richards + Litchfield/Proud should be enought to make the final.

Rafael
Reply to  AnEn
7 months ago

Who could medal.
Scott – 200 Free/200IM I think, 100 is yet to be seen
Men 4×200 and men Medley
Peaty is a lock
women 200 breast
Maybe women medley and women back, definetly mixed medley with Dawson, Greenbank 200 back is a long shot..

Jack
Reply to  AnEn
7 months ago

That includes relays so id say Mens 100 breast 1 mens medley are probable. Mens 4×200 + 200im + 200 free + Wilby in 100 breast then Womens 200 Breast + 100 back are reasonable chances. Thats 8 there.

If you then add in Kathleen Dawson To the mixed medley and Jones to the womens medley, both relays would have come 4th or above in 2019 (If you put in any of Anderson’s other splits rather than the one she swam in the final). Womans 200 IM, mens 200 Back, mens/ Womans 200 fly, and Mens 4×100 free and maybe even Hopkin/ Anderson are all unlikely outside chances but could happen

I think this is the best olympic squad GB… Read more »

AnEn
Reply to  Jack
7 months ago

I see absolutely no chance that their women’s medley relay wins a medal, would be a historic upset.

Last edited 7 months ago by AnEn
Jack
Reply to  AnEn
7 months ago

Usa, Canada and Australia are absolutely favourites but If you out in their times GB Italy and Russia are next group of countries. I said they are outside chances but you cannot completely discredit any country outside the top 3 as DQs and Bad swims exist. Australia and Canada have unreliable breaststroke legs so its not a 0% chance that no one eose could medal.

AnEn
Reply to  Jack
7 months ago

It is quite surprising that GB actually has a realistic chance to beat Italy, China and Russia (although i still would favor China over GB). The other 3 nations are definitely in another league. Realistically their only shot is one out of Australia/USA/Canada getting disqualified and the chinese women not being at their best.

Troll in the Dungeon
Reply to  AnEn
7 months ago

Potential Medals:

Men: 50, 100, 200, 1500 Free
200 Back
100 Breast
200 IM
4×200, 4×100 Medley

Women: 200 Free
100 Back
200 Breast

There could be medals in a handful of other events too, but I reckon these ones you can make a fairly good argument for.

Rafael
Reply to  Troll in the Dungeon
7 months ago

I really can´t see Proud as a potential medallist.. 100 free I will wait for this afternoon.

men 1500 free? Not at all. GBR long distance are leagues behind Paltrineti Wellbrock and Romanchuck

Women 200 free: Unless Freya shows she can go 1:54 not at all.

But I would add mixed medley now.

Troll in the Dungeon
Reply to  Rafael
7 months ago

Yeah fair enough about women’s 200, and also, yes, Proud hasn’t been at his 2018 level.

I do think the 1500 is the dark horse event for GB though. I think Jervis is going to PB at this meet and then contend for the Bronze in Tokyo.

AnEn
Reply to  Troll in the Dungeon
7 months ago

Are you trolling? Medal chances in men’s 1500 free?
Also women’s 200 free? Really?

Lukas Märtens went 14:49 last weekend (while being clearly younger than all the british guys) and Isabel Gose went practically the same time as Anderson (while being more than a year younger than her) and still i would only consider them fringe finals contenders at best.

Last edited 7 months ago by AnEn
Jack
Reply to  AnEn
7 months ago

I agree with your take on the 1500 100%. Jervis time and time again fails at international meets outside commonwealths but i haven’t seen a single time that Anderson hasn’t stepped up since 2018 Euros. She beat Pelligrini and Heemskerk at Euros Sc and finalled in the 100 at her first worlds. Shes alwasy got faster between nationals and the big meet. In no way am i under the impression shes probable for a medal but she cant be compared to Gose who has never won a medal at any international level just because she swam a good time. When Gose rises to the occasion at a big meet ill be the first to change my opinion and take this… Read more »

Rafael
Reply to  Jack
7 months ago

I think Freya can finals..

but then we have Haughey, Titmus, Ledecky, Junxuan, Mckeon, Pellegrini can surprise at all times who are ahead at least for medal contention.

Jack
Reply to  Rafael
7 months ago

Agreed

AnEn
Reply to  Rafael
7 months ago

Also possibly the two canadians, maybe a second chinese and Schmitt.

AnEn
Reply to  Jack
7 months ago

Gose won 4 or 5 golds at 2019 junior european championships while setting a big PB of 1.3 seconds in the 200 free and also setting PBs in the 100 and 400 free. In 2019 she focused on junior european championships and only swam the relay at 2019 worlds, apart from that she had no chance to prove herself on the global stage at senior level in long-course. After the 2019 european junior championships she joined the same training group as Köhler/Wellbrock/Märtens, so i am optimistic that she will be in top shape in Tokyo. Personally i don’t even think that she will swim the 200 free in Tokyo (instead she will probably focus on the 400/800 free where she… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by AnEn
AnEn
Reply to  AnEn
7 months ago

Would be interesting to know why people downvoted my comment above? I would be genuinely interested to know why it is seen as “controversial”?

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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