2024 British Olympic Trials: Day 1 Prelims Recap


The 2024 British Swimming Championships kicked off today from London with the competition representing the sole opportunity for swimmers to notch selection standards for this year’s Olympic Games.

Several swimmers staked claims on their respective events, giving us a glimpse into what tonight’s finals may look like when the dust settles.

Bath’s Kieran Bird raced his way to the top of the men’s 400m free pack, delivering a morning effort of 3:51.54.

That set him apart from runner-up Luke Turley by about a second, as his Bath counterpart notched 3:52.56 as the 2nd seed. Millfield’s Alexander Sargeant was next in line at 3:53.19.

24-year-old Bird ranks as Great Britain’s 5th-fastest performer in history, owning a lifetime best of 3:46.00 from the 2021 Olympic Trials. At the 2023 edition of these championships, Bird settled for silver in 3;48.61, with Turley taking the title in 3:48.31.

The men will be chasing the selection standard of 3:45.43 needed to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Men’s 400m Freestyle Top 8:

  1. Kieran Bird (Bath) – 3:51.54
  2. Luke Turley (Bath) – 3:52.56
  3. Alexander Sargeant (Millfield) – 3:53.19
  4. Tyler Melbourne-Smith (Loughborough) – 3:53.85
  5. Reece Grady (Stockport) – 3:54.37
  6. Harry Wynne-Jones (Milton) – 3:54.49
  7. Luke Hornsey (Edinburgh) – 3:55.12
  8. Arthur Logan (Edinburgh) – 3:57.32

There was a large disparity among the top 8 of the women’s 200m fly, with tonight’s finalists separated by nearly 6 seconds.

Stirling standout and Scottish national record holder Keanna MacInnes made it happen this morning, putting up a strong 2:08.66. That represented the sole outing of the field under the 2:10 barrier and MacInnes’ time came within a second of her lifetime best of 2:08.05 from last year’s edition of these championships.

Newly-minted World Championships gold medalist Laura Stephens is in the mix, with the Loughborough ace notching 2:10.5o for the #2 seed.

Flanking MacInnes on the other side in tonight’s final is Millfield’s Emily Large. 23-year-old Large posted 2:10.77 to put her hat in the ring.

This trio of women represent 3 of the top 10 quickest-ever British performers in this women’s 200m fly. Both Stephens and Large have been under the Olympic qualifying time of 2:07.96 in their careers. Stephens owns a PB of 2:06.62 while Large has a time of 2:07.33 on her resume.

Women’s 200m Fly Top 8:

  1. Keanna MacInnes (Stirling) – 2:08.66
  2. Laura Stephens (Loughborough) – 2:10.50
  3. Emily Large (Millfield) – 2:10.77
  4. Lucy Grieve (Stirling) – 2:12.11
  5. Shannon Stott (Sheffield) – 2:12.13
  6. Ciara Schlosshan (Edinburgh) – 2:13.34
  7. Lucy Fox (Wycombe District) – 2:13.63
  8. Ekaterina Price (Bath) – 2:14.45

Olympian Abbie Wood produced a time of 1:58.49 as the swiftest performer in this morning’s heats of the women’s 200m free.

25-year-old Wood of Loughborough landed lane 4 for tonight’s final in 1:58.49. That was just off her season-best of 1:58.14 logged at January’s Luxembourg Euro Meet.

Wood led a foursome of athletes who delved into sub-2:00 territory. Lucy Hope of Stirling secured the 2nd seed in 1:58.98 and World Championships gold medalist in the 400m IM this year, Freya Colbert claimed the 3rd seed in 1:59.61.

Loughborough’s Medi Harris hit 1:59.98 as the 4th seed.

Last year’s podium saw Freya Anderson rip a lifetime best of 1:55.89 en route to gold. Wood also notched a lifetime best of 1:57.21 while Hope bagged bronze in 1:58.03.

As a refresher, reigning British national champion Anderson is absent from the competition as the Olympic medalist is taking it easy after battling mono (glandular fever).

Additionally, in her post-race interview on-deck, Colbert stated that she would not be pursuing this 200m free as an individual event as it collides with the 400m IM on the Olympic schedule. Instead, she’s vying for a slot on the women’s 4x200m free relay.

Women’s 200m Free Top 8:

  1. Abbie Wood (Loughborough) – 1:58.49
  2. Lucy Hope (Stirling) – 1:58.98
  3. Freya Colbert (Loughborough) – 1:59.61
  4. Medi Harris (Loughborough) – 1:59.98
  5. Leah Schlosshan (Leeds) – 2:00.32
  6. Holly Hibbott (Bath) – 2:00.51
  7. Jemima Hall (Bath) – 2:00.74
  8. Erin Little (Mt Kelly) – 2:01.05

World record holder Adam Peaty posted a big-time swim to put not only British swimmers but also competitors worldwide on notice in the men’s 100 breaststroke.

29-year-old Peaty touched in a quick time of 58.53 to easily land lane 4 for tonight’s final. He represented the only racer of the heats to get under the minute barrier. The next-closest swimmer was Greg Butler who notched 1:00.29.

Peaty opened in 27.09 and closed in 31.44 to stake his claim on this event. The Aquatics GB (formerly British Swimming)-mandated selection standard sits at 59.45 so the Olympic champion is already well beneath that.

His 58.53 prelim swim represents the Loughborough ace’s fastest performance in 12 months, surpassing the 58.60 he logged in the semi-finals of the event at this year’s World Championships. There in Doha, Peaty ultimately settled for bronze in 59.10.

Greg Butler snagged the 2nd seed in 1:00.29 and Commonwealth Games champion James Wilby rounded out the top 3 performers in 1:00.38.

Butler has never been sub-minute but has knocked on the door, owning a lifetime best of 1:00.03 from last year. Wilby has a PB of 58.46, albeit from 2019. He was 59.54 at the 2023 World Championships and missed the semi-finals this time around in Doha.

Keep an eye on two teenagers in tonight’s final. 16-year-olds Filip Nowacki and Max Morgan busted out big-time personal bests to vie for a potential Olympic slot.

Men’s 100m Breast Top 8:

  1. Adam Peaty (Loughborough) – 58.53
  2. Greg Butler (Loughborough) – 1:00.29
  3. James Wilby (Loughborough) – 1:00.38
  4. Archie Goodburn (Edinburgh) – 1:00.44
  5. Filip Nowacki (Tigers Jersey) – 1:01.46
  6. Rory Dickerson (Stirling) – 1:01.62
  7. Max Morgan (Reed’s) – 1:01.64
  8. Pravin Mahendrakumar (Winchester) – 1:02.02

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2 months ago

W200FLY: McInnes looked the best in the heats, will be interesting to see tonight whether she was effectively maxed out or not. Hopefully not. This is a relatively rare event on the GB women’s side where both the QT is very much in range and for more than just 1-2. Am leaning Stephens/McInnes

W200FR: Whilst Anderson’s absence robs the event of an actual likely qualifier; it was pleasing to see the remainder of the likely 4X200 squad bring some quality to the heats. Colbert has already ruled out swimming the individual in Paris so that probably takes away any realistic qualifier but one hopes to see at least 3 sub 1.58s; if someone can break 1.57 then its a bonus.… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
2 months ago

Largely agree – A fairly pedestrian morning in the global context, but that was to be expected. Peaty dusted it with some class.

Despite swimming a lot faster, I thought MacInnes looked pretty easy in comparison to Large and Stephens.

As for the 200fr, I just hope the top 4 can clear the nomination time in the absence of Anderson.

Sapnu puas
Reply to  Dee
2 months ago

They’ll take a team even if they don’t, I’m sure they normally do?

Reply to  Dee
2 months ago

In all honesty, this rings true for every other country other than USA. One of having niche strength areas and/or maybe a handful of world class individuals. In GBR’s case, it has also allowed them to put together medal class/sometimes world leading relays on their mens side.

100% concur re McInnes who really did look very good.

Nomination time (7.51.89) looks to be no gimme but if they have at least 3 in the 1.57s then I think the powers that be may be merciful. If we’re seeing mostly 1.58s or worse then they may be sunk.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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