Freya Colbert Drops 3 Seconds for 3rd Place in 200 Free at British Swim Trials


Great Britain has a pair of Freyas charging toward Paris. 18-year old Freya Colbert had a breakout swim on Tuesday to finish in 3rd place in the women’s 200 free at the British Championships, finishing one spot behind Freya Anderson.

The 18-year old Colbert trains with Nova Centurion based out of Nottingham, and entered the meet with a best time of 2:00.90 in the 200 free. She swam 1:57.90, dropping three seconds from her pre-meet PB to finish 3rd in the race. This came after a 2:00.33 in prelims.

Freya Colbert Freya Colbert
Old PB New PB
50m 29.17 28.04
100m 30.69 29.74
150m 30.78 30.29
200m 30.26 29.83
Total Time 2:00.90 1:57.90

Colbert has been a better short course than long course swimmer to this point of her career. She historically has gone ‘up’ from the 200 to the 400 and 800 rather than down to the sprint races, though her new-found front-half speed in this 200 might indicate a change in focus.

She’s also a very good IMer, winning that race as well on Tuesday in 4:41.27. Her best time coming into the meet was 4:43 set in 2019 when she was only 15 years old.

Colbert swam at the 2021 European Junior Championships, where she was 9th in the 200 free, 11th in the 400 free, and 5th in the 400 IM.

Colbert missed setting the British U17 Record by less than a month: she turned 18 on March 8th. The U17 record of 1:58.54 was set by Georgia Coates in 2016. The U18 record is a 1:55.82 by Siobhan-Marie O’Connor from 2019.

“I’m so happy with that,” Colbert said of her 400 IM win. “It’s about a two-second PB, and I’ve been stuck on 4:43 for a while, so I’m really happy to drop. It couldn’t have come at a better time either – so I’m very happy and excited about what’s to come.

“I raced a few weeks ago in Edinburgh and that was very good there. I had a good taper, training has all gone very well, everything was pointing in a good direction so I just wanted to come here and prove I can do what I’ve been hitting in training.”

The only 18-year old Brits in history who have been faster are O’Connor and the aforementioned Anderson, who swam 1:56.06 in January 2020.

None of the top finishers in the 800 free relay hit the individual consideration time for the World Championships, and the group’s aggregate time from the final didn’t clear the 7:49.99 standard for selection consideration: the aggregate time was 7:52.58. The top four would have had to average 1:57.49 to hit that standard, which was faster than anyone was individually.

Top 4 Finishers, Tuesday’s 200 free final:

  1. Abbie Wood, Loughborough – 1:57.61
  2. Freya Anderson, Bath – 1:57.63
  3. Freya Colbert, Nova Centurion – 1:57.90
  4. Medi Harris, Swansea – 1:59.44

Harris’ swim was also a best time by a full second.

Great Britain didn’t send a women’s 800 free relay to the Olympics either, but with Colbert’s swim, the best British relay, at its best, is top 5 in the world caliber. That includes Lucy Hope, who was 1:59.70 in the B final but is Britain’s #3 in the last 12 months.

The decision-making problem for British Swimming in the 800 free relay, and in many women’s relays, is this: the jump from top 5 in the world (Russian Olympic Committee was 5th in Tokyo in 7:52.15) to top 4 in the world (Canada was 4th in 7:43.77) is a massive gap. The good news is that with 23-year old Wood, 21 year old Anderson, 18 year old Colbert, and 20 year old Harris (plus a few other young talents like 17-year old Tamryn Van Selm, who have both also been 1:59s), the youth and talent is there to clear that gap. We certainly saw the British men do it, so the structure is in place, and with the right group of talent now entering their prime, the women will chase that same glory.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
9 months ago

So impressive, really excited to see what she can do in the 400 free, now that Holly Hibbott seems to have moved over to the open water stuff, she’ll also have Freya Anderson for company in that race as well

9 months ago

Heads up, Freya swam 1.59.88 last month so not quite 3s, but impressive nonetheless. Hopefully she can put up a decent 400 later this week.

9 months ago

Isn’t Aimee Canny South African?

Scuncan Dott
Reply to  LittleFin
9 months ago

that’s what I was thinking

U.K. Coach
Reply to  LittleFin
9 months ago

She is. And Just another little fact check, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor went that 1:55 in 2014 when she was 18, not 15 in 2019 (she’s 1995 born). Sadly British Swimming haven’t historically done well progressing young women who have shown so much promise. Hope Freya Colbert can change that…although she’ll be sucked into one of the NC’s and fade away like so many before her…

Reply to  U.K. Coach
9 months ago

ok that makes sense, I was like.. how can a 15 year old hold a U18 record but not the U17 record

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »