British Swimming Championships Not Televised, Will Be Live-Streamed

British Swimming confirmed this week that the 2016 British Swimming Championships, which serve as the nation’s primary Olympic Trials, will not be televised.

The 2016 British Swimming Championships are set to take place at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow from April 12th-17th. In an email to SwimSwam from Jo Purkiss, British Swimming’s Event Coordinator, “the British Swimming Championships and British Para International Meet are not being televised but are being live streamed.”

This is a change from the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympics, where the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was in the midst of a four-year broadcast deal with British Swimming for the broadcast rights of swimming and aquatic events leading up to Games. That agreement included coverage of the British Gas Swimming Championships, the primary competition which served as Britain’s Olympic Trials for swimming.

In 2012, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the BBC was granted the United Kingdom broadcasting rights to all Winter and Summer Olympic Games through 2020. The deal included rights to television, internet and mobile platforms of the actual Games.

In response to hearing the news of the swimming trials only being live-streamed and not televised, friends and family members of the British swimming community have taken their collective voice to social media. Joy Macnaughton, who is related to a swimmer attending a Scottish University, initiated a petition on the site “38 Degrees”, asking for signatures advocating for British Swimming to reconsider. In a matter of days, the petition has gathered 2,410 signatures, closing in on its goal of 3,000.

“Glasgow is a great venue. British Swimming has more information on the LEN Championships in May than it does Olympic Trials,” says Macnaughton. “The BBC wants to inspire the next generation, and the legacy for London 2012 comes with coverage, too.”

Macnaughton points to the ‘Olympic Legacy’ plan outlined back in 2013 by former London Olympic chairman and now International Association of Athletics Federations President, Lord Sebastian Coe.  After the London-hosted Games, Coe identified four key elements of the British Olympic legacy, which included sports participation, volunteering, the economy and regeneration.

Regeneration and sports participation are the two key points petitioners are spotlighting in the description of their online campaign, as reproduced below:

“Why is this important?

Swimming is one of the top attractions at any Olympics
Previous trials have been filmed, including heats
Maintaining a legacy comes with participation
Televising the trials is a perfect way for the public to see the talent before Rio Inspires future talent
Team GB finished 5th at the Kazan World Championships with 7 Golds”

The lack of televised trials is coming at a time when the British Swimming Team saw its most successful World Championship campaign in the program’s history. In 2015 in Kazan, Britain raced away with a total of 9 medals, including 5 golds and 2 world records.

SwimSwam reached out to British Swimming for comment on the petition and has not yet received a response.

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Gerry McEwan
6 years ago

When will the people running sports in the UK wake up to the fact that participation and popularity is related to free-to-air TV coverage? Swimming could be a massive sports brand in Britain if they could only package its inherent excitement and get it televised. Since cricket went to Sky only participation has dwindled; F1 is going to Sky only and interest in Britain will be minority only. Come on British Swimming and sports broadcasters, get your shit together.

7 years ago

Shame on the Marketing Department and the directors of British Swimming for not organising this again!! I would like to know if they have approached ITV, C4, C5, Sky Sports or Eurosports. (probably not!!) there are more channels that are readily available than just the BBC. How are British Swimming expecting a higher profile than they currently have, if the general public can not see the highlight of Britains swimming talent in the best swim meet in Great Britain on the TV.

Joy macnaughton
Reply to  freestyle
7 years ago

Says it all.

7 years ago

British swimming really screwed up last year! Adam peatys wr viewed all over the world via iPhone playbacks. Guess the same this year! That’s a good shout Joy, probably the biggest 200 breast outside the Rio final this year! 7 guys could sub2.10. Could there be a wr, no ones place is secure!

Tim Wheyster
7 years ago

No coverage at last years trials not even live streaming. No TV coverage at Olympic trials, no major sponsor in place despite the positive story and the huge brand. I don’t think it’s the fault of the broadcasters, good luck with getting a response from BS.

Gina Rhinestone
7 years ago

The petition to ban The Donald from the shores of Britain gained 500,000 names. Got to do better .

bobo gigi
7 years ago

And British TV has probably much more interesting to show live. Like a cricket match….
In France our championships will be broadcasted live on TV but you have to pay to watch the channel. Fortunately I’ve got it. No internet streaming.

Joy Macnaughton
7 years ago
Joy Macnaughton
7 years ago

The breastroke alone will be one of the most tightly fought competitions. With so many in the World top 30 this should be watched.

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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