The British swim team will likely have a home-pool advantage at the 2012 London Olympic Games, thanks in no small part to the home crowd and their familiarity with the gorgeous new Olympic Aquatics Centre, which at $431 million in construction costs is likely the most expensive aquatics facility in the world. But they will lose a bit of that advantage thanks to a decision by the London Organizing Committee’s decision to make the 2012 Olympic Trials an open event with swimmers of all nationalities welcome, according to the Telegraph.
This is a break of custom for major swimming nations, who usually prefer to keep these as closed events in order to allow coaches to maintain full focus on the domestic athletes and their preparations without the crowd of an international meet. The LOCOG, however, has decided that the March meet is the only viable option for an Olympic “test event” which all venues are required to have. These test events are open to an international field to ensure that all Olympic competitors are given access to the venue and to give feedback.
Though International swimmers and UK domestics are likely to swim in separate finals, the British coaches will have to caution their elite athletes from expending too much energy in preliminary heats in the name of competitive spirits.
The trials take place from March 3rd-10th, which leaves the door open for good timing for a lot of American athletes to head across the pond to measure up the competition. Specifically in the IM’s, the 400 free, and the backstrokes where the UK women are strong. French trials are usually at the end of April, and France’s Camille LaCourt could also use this as a sort of final tuneup for those and challenge Liam Tancock in the 100 backstroke.
It will be interesting to see who takes advantage of this unique opportunity to preview the Olympic venue.
Vote on the poll at the right on how you think that this will affect the British team.