Anderson, Wood, Jervis, Willmott Open 2021 British Trials Day 1 Prelims


The 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials have kicked off at the London Aquatics Centre, home of the 2012 Olympics, for British swimmers to compete for a spot on the Tokyo Olympic team. This meet is a primary selection meet for Great Britain, yet will not serve as the sole opportunity for those aiming for the nation’s stiff qualifying standards. Following the championships, Great Britain has designated the 2021 European Championships (May 17-23), 2021 Glasgow International Meet (May 28-30), and the Canet/Barcelona stops of the 2021 Mare Nostrum series (June 1-2, 5-6) as additional qualifying opportunities for athletes.

During the nation’s “pre-selection” phaseAdam PeatyDuncan ScottJames Wilby, and Luke Greenbank all received invitations to the Tokyo Olympics following their individual performances at the 2019 World Championships. This selection phase was implemented due to the extenuating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Peaty picked up double gold in Gwangju in his signature 50 breast (26.06) and 100 breast (57.14) disciplines. Teammate Wilby gave his home nation a 1-2 finish in the 100 breast with his world runner-up time of 58.46. Picking up individual bronze medals were Scott in the 200 free (1:45.63) and Greenbank in the 200 back (1:55.85).

Scott would later on anchor GBR’s 400 medley relay to a surprise gold with his blistering 46.14 anchor leg along with the efforts of Greenbank (53.95), Peaty (57.20), and James Guy (50.81) to set a European record at 3:28.10. Wilby replaced Peaty during the relay’s preliminaries, also earning a World gold medal. While Guy was a member of Great Britain’s historic 400 medley relay, he did not earn an Olympic pre-selection prior to this meet. After leading 200 free prelims, Guy dropped to 11th in the semi-finals (1:45.95) and missed the championship final. He was able to qualify for the 100 fly championship final, placing 7th at 51.62.

The British selection standards Guy would need to eclipse at this meet in order to be considered for Tokyo is 1:46.99 in the 200 free and 51.96 in the 100 fly. Guy’s 2019-2020 LCM season bests in the two events were 1:46.79 (200 free) and 51.84 (100 fly), both from the 2020 Edinburgh International meet in March of that year.

Day One Prelims Highlights

Immediately brightening the session was breaststroke great Adam Peaty, who swam this season’s world-leading 100 breast time at 57.70 (26.87/30.83), improving from his 58.82 from the 2021 Manchester International Meet in February. This is now the 9th-fastest performance in history, giving Peaty the top 18 fastest performances in history. Placing second was Loughborough training-mate James Wilby, touching the wall at 59.32 following his 27.44 opening 50. Swimming in third also under one minute was Stirling’s Ross Murdoch at 59.53. Both Wilby and Murdoch now rank within the top-10 times in the world heading into this evening.

Since Peaty and Wilby are locked in for the 100 breast in Tokyo, Murdoch’s shot at Tokyo will be in the 200 breast on Friday. For reference, the British selection time in the men’s 100 breast is 59.23.

Opening the session to nab the top women’s 200 free finals seed was Bath NC’s Freya Anderson, stopping the clock at 1:58.17. Rounding out the top three prelims finishers were sub-2:00 swimmers Abbie Wood (1:58.59) and Tamryn van Selm (1:59.51). Wood and Anderson own season bests of 1:57.96 and 1:58.00 respectively, both from the February 2021 Manchester meet. The British Olympic standard rests at 1:57.28. Anderson set her current lifetime best of 1:56.06 from the Flanders Swimming Cup in January 2020, which is No. 3 all-time in British history.

Breaking 3:50 to take the top men’s 400 free spot was Swansea’s Daniel Jervis, touching in at 3:49.64. Jervis will have to drop 2.86s from this morning to swim under the British selection standard of 3:46.78. Swimming 0.14s within each other to round out the morning’s top three finals qualifiers were William Bell (3:51.22) and Kieran Bird (3:51.36).

Leading the women’s 400 IM this morning was Stirling’s Aimee Willmott, swimming in at 4:42.92. The British standard is a stiff 4:36.68. Only five swimmers in the world have swum under the mark this season, including Aussie Kaylee McKeown (4:32.73) and American Melanie Margalis (4:35.18). Willmott’s season best sits at 4:39.11 from Manchester, which ranks in the top-15 times in the world this season. Three-time Olympian Hannah Miley placed fourth in prelims at 4:49.05 behind Millfield’s Lily Booker (4:46.42) and Nova Centurion’s Freya Colbert (4:48.93).

Cardiff’s Harriet Jones was one of five Brits under 1:00 in the women’s 100 fly in prelims, earning lane four in the championship final at 58.46, a tenth ahead of Plymouth’s Laura Stephens (58.56). Placing fourth was 2019 national champion Alys Thomas (59.26).Tonight, it would take breaking 58 seconds at 57.92.

Pre-selected 2021 Olympian Duncan Scott took the top men’s 200 IM seed at 1:57.77, cracking the top 10 times in the world this season. Brothers Joe Litchfield (1:58.35) and Max Litchfield (1:59.81) swam under two minutes to place top three this morning. J. Litchfield was a mere three one-hundredths off Britain’s Olympic standard of 1:58.32, which can easily be made up in finals to punch his ticket to Tokyo.

Finals are set to begin at 7pm London time, or 11am PT/1pm CT/2pm ET in the US. Live stream will be available for all sessions via BritishSwimming’s Youtube channel.

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3 years ago

What was the covid testing protocol at this meet, if any?

The unoriginal Tim
3 years ago

I didn’t realise Abbie Wood had dropped the 4IM. She looks to be a near certainty to qualify in 2IM and has a very good shot in 200Free/200 Breast and probably has a role in the 400 and 800 free relays but it is still slightly surprising.

Sapnu puas
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
3 years ago

Wait are we sending women’s relays after all? The games these selectors play

3 years ago

Having faster cuts than the FINA standard is so dumb.

At the US Trials in 2012 Vanderkaay and Dwyer were 3:47.6 and 3:47.8 for 1st and 2nd. Barely under the FINA cut.

They ended up placing 3rd and 5th at the games. The British wouldn’t have sent them!

Reply to  Riccardo
3 years ago

it’s not as if Britain is a under resourced nation – I don’t understand the rationale behind not bringing a full team if they have internationally competitive times.

Reply to  Riccardo
3 years ago

I think that Britain just wants more discretion in deciding who to send. I also noticed that unlike Japan, the time standards aren’t uniformly fast. The 100 fly seems to be a lot slower than the 200 breast for example.

3 years ago

More big PBs from Lboro swimmers across both Uni & NC squads.

Last edited 3 years ago by Dee
Sapnu puas
Reply to  Dee
3 years ago

Do you reckon Dean will drop the time required in 400 free? He’s been weirdly off in it all season

Reply to  Sapnu puas
3 years ago

Judging by his ISL season, he seems like a big taper swimmer and I think it’s hard to know what he has left in the tank tonight just because his stroke just looks so easy.

Reply to  Sapnu puas
3 years ago

I mean his PB is 3.48, so his 3.54 was akin to Horton going 3.46/3.47 during heavy training. His SCM 400s suggest 3.45/3.46 should be no trouble, but sport isn’t linear and he looks way speedier now, so attention may have been more on developing the front end speed for the 200.

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick has had the passion for swimming since his first dive in the water in middle school, immediately falling for breaststroke. Nick had expanded to IM events in his late teens, helping foster a short, but memorable NCAA Div III swim experience at Calvin University. While working on his B.A. …

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