Born July 5, 1985 Liam Tancock is largely regarded as the most successful male swimmer of the last 10 years, having won medals at the last four consecutive World Championships. Born in Exeter, Tancock is also a two-time Olympian having competed in both Beijing and London he’s looking towards qualifying for Rio 2016. Now into his 30’s, Tancock is still competing strong in 2015 having just advanced to the championship finals at the 2015 World Championships.
Prior to swimming Tancock was a serious rugby player — he eventually chose to focus on swimming in his teens. Tancock first began making headlines worldwide around 2005/2006, and made his senior debut at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal with a swim in the 50-meter back. Although he ended up winning the 100-meter back at the 2006 Commonwealth Games Tacock’s true best event is the 50-meter distance.
In 2007 Tancock broke his first European Record in the 100-meter back in competition at the Japan Open. He also showed some versatility at this meet as he broke the 2:00 barrier in the 200-meter IM, which was a new British Record by more than one and a half seconds.
In early 2008 Tancock swam at the Short Course World Championships winning a gold medal in the 100-meter back, with a silver medal in the 50-meter back and medley relay. His time in the 100-meter back was less than a half second away from breaking the World Record at the time. In August 2008 Tancock swam at his first Olympic Games in Beijing, where he finished 6th in the 100-meter back. The race was so tight that his position was within 0.21 seconds from taking a bronze medal. He also finaled in the 200-meter IM finishing 8th overall.
2009 and 2011 World Championships
Going into the World Championships of 2009 Tancock travelled to Rome in hopes of breaking a World Record. In Rome Tancock broke the World Record int he 50-meter back in the semi-finals, and dropped the record even further by swimming a faster time in the finals to win gold. Two years later Tancock swam in Shanghai at the 2011 World Championships, where he would defend his title in the 50-meter back. It was only the second time that a British swimmer had defended a World Championship final, and the first time anyone had done so in the 50-meter back.
In early 2012 Tancock won the 100-meter back at the British Trials, qualifying him for a trip to his second Olympic Games. In order to improve his 6th place finish from 2008 Tancock took up some interesting training tactics, such as kickboxing and even some ballet. Although he adjusted his training for a better performance, he only moved up one position from Beijing, finishing 5th overall.
2015 World Championships
After suffering some injuries in 2013, and not being selected for the 2013 World Championships since his best event (the 50 back) is not an Olympic event, Tancock returned with some vengeance. He won two bronze medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games prior to the 2015 World Champs in Kazan.
In his best event Tancock advanced to the championship final in 5th place, but he added about a tenth-of-a-second and dropped two places to finish 7th overall. He also took on the 100-meter back nearly breaking 53 seconds, which was close to his best time and British Record in the event, in the semi-final. He advanced to the championship final and finished 8th in the heat.