British Swimming has announced its Podium and Podium Potential performance squads for 2016. After extensive selection procedures, including an analysis of the athletes’ current and past performances in an effort to ascertain Olympic medal likelihood, a total of 66 athletes are split between the two groups. 21 swimmers have been designated ‘Podium’ with 45 designated as ‘Podium Potential’.
The selected swimmers are eligible to receive advanced training camp and competition opportunities, as well as access to world-class sports science and medicine services, and enhanced support from British Swimming performance staff and National Institute of Sport programs across the country. Additionally, athletes will receive targeted financial assistance from UK Sport through the World Class Performance Program’s Athlete Personal Award (APA).
The Podium-level support recognizes those athletes who have the potential to medal in the near-term, mainly at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, while the Podium Potential athletes are those in which a longer-term investment is being made. The Podium Potential athletes are looked at more for the year 2020.
British Swimming National Performance Director Chris Spice said: “This investment in British Swimming’s talent is vital in enabling our athletes to pursue their performance goals for 2016 and beyond. Over the past two years our focus on process driven goals supporting our clear medal opportunities has delivered fantastic results. This valuable support has helped us to achieve as a team and I’d like to thank UK Sport and the National Lottery for their continued investment. The challenge for us all now is to build on our successes to date in the critical year ahead”.
A review of the athletes does reveal some notable differences between 2015’s and 2016’s Podium and Potential Podium athletes.
Michael Jamieson was designated as a ‘Podium’ athlete for 2015, but didn’t make the cut for 2016. After having a breakout swim at the 2012 Olympic Games, followed by 2013 Short Course Worlds and 2014 Commonwealth silvers, Jamieson has seen himself in a swimming slump, characterized by a 6th-place finish at this year’s British Championships. The Scottish swimmer has recently moved training locations from Bath to Edinburgh in the hopes of revitalizing his career in time for a Rio roster berth.
Two up-and-comers hailing from the University of Stirling joined teammate Ross Murdoch on the Podium list, as youngster Duncan Scott was bumped from a 2015 ‘Potential’ status and 2015 World Championships 800 free relay gold medalist, Robbie Renwick, was added to the ‘Podium’ line-up. Scott placed 4th in the 100m free and 6th in the 200 free at this year’s British Nationals before claiming two individual golds in the same events at the inaugural European Games in Baku. Both are part of the same training team that includes Murdoch and Craig Benson, which has been on-fire on the international competitive scene as of late.
20 year-old Lauren Quigley, representing Stockport, was also bumped up from ‘Potential’ to ‘Podium’ between 2015 and 2016, having notched two 2nd place finishes (100 back, 50 free) at this year’s British Nationals. Quigley went on to make two finals at the 2015 FINA World Championships, where she placed 7th in both the 100m and 50m backstroke events.
Warrender’s Dan Wallace also made it to the ‘Podium’ list, given his stand-out performances at the 2015 British Nationals, including a 1st place finish in the 400 IM and 2nd place finish in the 200m IM races. Wallace was another member of the gold medal-wining 800 freestyle relay in Kazan, leading off the foursome that would beat both the U.S. and Australia.
British Swimming has declined to speak to SwimSwam regarding the selections (or lack thereof) of certain swimmers, referring us back to their release for the reasons behind the choices.
The entire listing of athletes for Podium and Potential Podium designation can be found here:
|Adam Peaty||Cioty of Derby||England|
|Aimee Willmott||London Aquatics Centre Performance Programme||England|
|Andrew Willis||National Centre Bath||England|
|Ben Proud||Plymouth Leander||England|
|Calum Jarvis||National Centre Bath||Wales|
|Chris Walker-Hebborn||National Centre Bath||England|
|Dan Wallace||Warrender Baths/University of Florida||Scotland|
|Duncan Scott||University of Stirling||Scotland|
|Fran Halsall||National Centre Loughborough||England|
|Jack Burnell||National Centre Loughborough||England|
|James Guy||Millfield School||England|
|Jazz Carlin||National Centre Bath||Wales|
|Keri-Anne Payne||Warrender Baths||England|
|Lauren Quigley||Stockport Metro||England|
|Liam Tancock||National Centre Loughborough||England|
|Nick Grainger||City of Sheffield||England|
|Robbie Renwick||University of Stirling||Scotland|
|Ross Murdoch||University of Stirling||Scotland|
|Siobhan-Marie O’Connor||National Centre Bath||England|
|Stephen Milne||Perth City||Scotland|