British Olympic champion James Guy is switching things up in the lead-up to Paris 2024.
Guy announced Friday that he’s moving on from the Bath National Centre after nearly seven years at one of British Swimming’s elite hubs in search of a new training “stimulus” over the next 10 months.
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Guy initially made the move to Bath to follow Millfield coach Jol Finck, who was named a National Centre Coach at Bath in late 2016.
Guy trained for three years under Finck before switching to National Head Coach Dave McNulty while at Bath, and after experiencing plenty of success since the move, including three Olympic medals in Tokyo and eight medals across four Long Course World Championships, he’s ready for a change of pace.
“I believe life is about having no regrets, especially for us athletes with a limited time in the sport,” Guy said. “In recent years of working with David McNulty, winning European, World and Olympic Gold and giving us the medal we always dreamed of and him being the right man, but much more than a coach, a father figure.
“I’ve decided for a change of stimulus for Paris 2024, this wasn’t an easy choice at all, but I’m excited for something new heading into the coming year, as a senior athlete, I feel like it’s time for a change physically and mentally.”
Guy’s first major breakthrough came at the 2015 World Championships, winning individual gold in the men’s 200 freestyle in a time of 1:45.14, upsetting the likes of Sun Yang in the process. Guy also won silver behind Sun in the 400 free at that meet in 3:43.75, and he added a crucial 1:44.74 anchor to run down the Americans and win British gold in the men’s 800 free relay.
Guy then won a pair of relay silver medals at the 2016 Olympics while placing 4th individually in the 200 free, 6th in the 400 free and 8th in the 100 fly.
Following his move to Bath, Guy has won an individual silver medal at the World Championships in the 100 fly (2017) to go along with seven more relay medals between the 2017, 2019, 2022 and 2023 Worlds, including world titles in the men’s 800 free relay (2017, 2023) and in the 400 medley relay (2019).
At the Tokyo Olympics, he split 1:44.40 on the British 800 free relay that won gold in a time of 6:58.58, just .03 shy of the world record, and Guy had also had a blistering leg on the mixed 400 medley relay that won the inaugural Olympic title with a 50.00 fly split. In the men’s medley relay, Guy’s 50.27 fly split helped propel the Brits to silver behind the Americans.
Guy hasn’t found the same individual success he had earlier in his career of late, due in part to the presence of British teammates Tom Dean and Duncan Scott, who went 1-2 in the 200 free at the Tokyo Olympics, which was previously Guy’s best event. Great Britain has also had newly-minted 200 free world champion Matt Richards enter the fold of late.
Dean also trains out of Bath, while Richards previously did before joining Guy’s former club, Millfield, last year. Scott trains out of Stirling University in his native Scotland.
He has strayed away from the 400 free, largely since Rio, but the times he produced at the 2015 World Championships in both the 200 and 400 free remain his lifetime bests.
Guy has also found increased success in the fly events as the years have gone on, though he’s tended to put the team first, including scratching the 100 fly in Tokyo so he was fresh for the relays.
British Swimming has one other Performance Centre based out of Loughborough University, while a return to Millfield also seems possible for Guy. Loughborough’s head coach is Mel Marshall, while Millfield is led by performance coach Ryan Livingstone and Director of Swimming Euan Dale.