Great Britain enjoyed great success in the pool this summer, both in the senior and junior ranks. The British team finished on top of the medal table at the European Championships winning a total of 27 medals (11 gold, 8 silver and 8 bronze). At the same competition 19 year old Adam Peaty set a new world record in the 50 breast while the country’s 4 x 100 mixed medley relay team also set a new world mark.
The British team also finished third at the 2014 European Junior Championships collecting 12 medals in total, four of each colour.
In an attempt to ensure that their success continues British Swimming has begun to implement new elements of the British Swimming Performance Pathway Strategy. One of the first changes being the creation of the British Summer Championships.
To qualify for this new event swimmers must post a time that ranks in the top 24 in age group and individual event during a specific qualification period. The exact period of time has not been confirmed, but it is expected to be between mid March and late May. The goal of this competition is to expose more of their top young swimmers to national competition which in turn will enable them to develop into top international competitors.
The date of the competition has not been set.
This competition is just one of the changes that Tim Jones, Head of the Performance Pathway Strategy is looking to implement, “We looked at every aspect – we analyzed our own performance history, collaborated closely with the swimming community, engaged on specific work with the UK Sport Pathways Team, and listened intently to expert opinions as we set about understanding the need and direction for change,” explained Jones.
“As a result of our research we have now challenged ourselves to implement a robust and sustainable system which is world-leading in its capacity to produce and then appropriately transition swimmers from junior to senior level.”
“Our new system also needs to clearly demonstrate effectiveness in supporting the achievement of high performance outcomes at the senior international level and the endorsement from all of the home nations recognizes our framework to achieve this.”
Key elements of the first stage of the Pathway Strategy include:
- Working together to support our coaches to improve athlete performance potential
- Progressive minimum ages for each tier of Championship swimming, to reduce the risk of early burn-out
- Entry to the end of season British Summer Championships and Home Nation meets to be based on a designated “Qualification Window”
- A re-emphasis of the pre-Christmas short course swimming season
- The adoption of the consistent use of age at 31st December for Championship Meets to realign with LEN/FINA. All other competitions are to be given the flexibility to determine their own age bandings to allow variety
- Removal of BAGCAT points as part of Championship meet series