After cutting one of the Intensive Training Centers in February, more effects of the nearly £4 million in funding cuts ($6.1 million) will be felt at this summer’s World Championships.
Specifically, Britain has announced that their team that goes to Barcelona will be capped at 30 athletes and 6 coaches, instead of the previously announced 35 athletes and 7 coaches, citing specifically “funding constraints.”
Where more than 30 athletes meet the consideration standards outlined in the selection policy (3.1), coaches and athletes should be aware that priority will be given to athletes in current Olympic events.
An athlete’s World Ranking (2 per nation) and past performance at major benchmark meets in both individual and relay events will also be considered in prioritising selections. The factors identified in the general conditions (Section 7) will also be considered.
Coaches and athletes are asked to note that moving forward, as a result of both funding and performance considerations, team numbers for major events are likely to be less than the permitted maximum allocation.
This could be a significant blow, especially given the addition of extra events for the World Championship schedule. The Brits sent a huge team of 44 athletes to last year’s Olympics (including one open water only swimmer, Keri-Anne Payne, and one who swam both, Daniel Fogg.)
The four open water swimmers already chosen won’t be counted toward the cap of 30, though we’ve asked for clarification if a swimmer qualified in both disciplines would count toward the cap (Daniel Fogg qualified for the Olympics in both the 10km open water swim and the 1500 meter pool swim last year).
There have also been a large number of retirements from last year’s Olympic squad, though the younger ranks of British Swimming seem to be developing fairly well to fill in some of those holes, at least.
Still, all else being equal, there could be upwards of 10 athletes who hit selection criteria and are left home on the basis of some subjectivity by the national team staff. This is likely to be first felt in the form of a lack of relay alternates, though individual swims will probably be counted among those cut.
The maximum roster size allowed by FINA is 26 men and 26 women, though it would be rare for any country aside from the United States to come into conflict with those totals.
See the full British Swimming selection criteria here. Note that they haven’t been updated to reflect the latest announced changes.