The British Gas ASA Championships will begin on Wednesday in Sheffield, one of the hubs of swimming in the United Kingdom, and will serve not only as a big National Championship meet but also as the second leg of British Olympic qualifying.
There are still 12 out of 26 individual events that still have roster spots available for qualification after March’s major trials meet in London. Those times are listed below, along with the FINA ‘A’ Standards. These standards are important, because clearing the standard in the event (and being the fastest, or in some cases second-fastest) will guarantee a spot in London. Those times marked with an asterisk (*) have two spots still available.
In some cases, such as the women’s 200 free, if the runner-up at the “Trials” had a FINA ‘A’ cut, but didn’t have a time that would have ranked in the top 16 in the world in 2011, they can still be knocked out of their spot. If nobody is better than their time, however, then they will be headed to London. Those events are marked with a cross (†) and followed by the time that will have to be beaten and who owns that time..
|Men’s 50m Freestyle||22.11*|
|Men’s 100m Freestyle||48.82*|
|Women’s 200m Freestyle||1:58.33†/1:58.07 (Caitlin McClatchey)|
|Men’s 200m Freestyle||1:47.82†/1:47.68 (Ieuan Lloyd)|
|Men’s 400m Freestyle||3:48.92†/3:48.36 (David Carry)|
|Men’s 100m Backstroke||54.40|
|Women’s 200m Backstroke||2:10.84†/2:09.94 (Steph Proud)|
|Men’s 200m Backstroke||1:58.48*|
|Women’s 100m Breaststroke||1:08.49|
|Women’s 200m Breaststroke||2:26.89†/2:26.81|
|Women’s 100m Butterfly||58.70|
|Men’s 100m Breaststroke||1:00.79†/1:00.50 (Michael Jamieson)|
The Brits have left themselves a whole lot of wiggle room, however, with the word “discretion” appearing dozens of times in the qualification procedures. For example, if nobody hits a FINA ‘A” time, the coaches may take a swimmer with a B-time.
The best bet for an invitation of this variety will be Adam Brown in the 50 free. He was fairly far off of the ‘A’ time at trials with a 22.42, but his 22.08 from Worlds last season cleared that mark. He’s also on the team already for relays, so there’s not much to be lost by him swimming the 50.
Another interesting case will be the women’s 100 breaststroke. Kate Haywood is already on the British team in the event thanks to a 1:08.0 in the finals at Trials, and nobody else cleared the “A” standard in that final. In the semi’s, however, Sophie Allen snuck just under it with a 1:08.44. The trick is that not only was she slower in finals, she was only third. The coaches will have to decide if she’s worth an entry (though, without a plane ticket to worry about, there’s not much for the Brits to lose except motivation for their athletes).
In the men’s version of that same 100 breaststroke, a spot has recently opened up with Trials champ Daniel Sliwinski declaring that he would pull out of the Olympics to undergo surgery on a chronically-ailing shoulder. British swimming has said that this meet will fill his vacated spot, and Michael Jamieson (who just missed out by .03 in London) is the favorite. Of course, with a spot in the 200 already locked up, and him being of the mindset that there was no room in this 100, he will be unlikely to beat his 1:00.50, so he’ll have to count on that time to get him through.
The men’s 400 free should be the best battle; both Ieuan Lloyd and David Carry were under the FINA “A” time at Trials, but neither was fast enough to lock up their second spot. Carry was exactly half-a-second faster, but Lloyd is 12-years younger and has much bigger upset. At the same time, the pressure is on the 18-year old Lloyd, because Carry was faster in March. He’s the “in the clubhouse” leader in the race.
Keep in mind that in the men’s 100 free, Simon Burnett, who won the race at Trials to lock up his relay spot, has already decided against a run at an individual swim from this meet.
There are quite a few swimmers also who were under the FINA “A” time in 2011, but didn’t get their at Trials. That includes guys like Antony James, who was a 52.13 in the 100 fly in 2011.
Also keep an eye on the men’s 200 backstroke. There wasn’t a single qualifier at March’s Trials, but there is the huge potential to be one. Callum Jarvis pulled off a huge upset to win the 200 back in 1:59.48; but Marco Loughran (1:58.34) and Chris Walker-Hebborn (1:57.20) both were well under the time at this same meet from 2011. They swam extremely well at this meet last year, and them, along with Jarvis, will be chasing the Olympic dream.