Shake-Up On British World Class Program Roster Leaves Out Several Veterans

British Swimming just released the roster of 48 athletes selected for its World Class Program (WCP) for the 2019/20 season. Per British Swimming, an extremely thorough selection process was implemented, analyzing athletes’ past and current performances and a robust assessment of their ability to win medals at both this and future Olympiads.
The athletes on the list appearing at the bottom of this post are designated as ‘Podium’ or ‘Podium Potential’, receiving program opportunities and targeted financial assistance from UK Sport through the World Class Performance Program’s Athlete Performance Award.

The athletes are also eligible to receive training camp and competition opportunities, as well as access to world-class sport science and medicine services, as well as comprehensive support from British Swimming performance staff and national institute of sport programs across the UK.

This newly-released roster for the 2019/20 season sees a 6-person reduction in the 54-strong lineup that comprised British Swimming World Class Performance Program for the previous 2018/19 season. Comparing the rosters, several notable names were dropped from funding, while an influx of young talent born from the European Junior Championships, World Junor Championships and European Youth Olympic Festival migrated onto the list.

Some of the names missing from 2018/19 to this new roster include Charlotte Atkinson, Craig Benson, Imogen Clark, Sarah Vasey, Kathryn Greenslade, Jarvis Parkinson, Stephen Milne, and Abbie Wood, among others.

Clark set the British National Record in the 50m breast at the 2018 European Championships, while Vasey earned silver in the same event at the World University Games this summer.

Repeat non-funded athletes include Olympians Aimee Willmott and Hannah MileyWillmott took 400m IM gold at the Commonwealth Games last year but swam the 2018/19 season largely unfunded. Miley, who underwent ankle surgery in late 2018, was in the same boat.

As for the fresh blood that’s been infused into the program for 2019/20, the likes of Scott McLay, Laura Stephens, Katie Shanahan, Matt Richards, Jacob Whittle, Tamryn Van Selm, Edward Mildred, Archie Goodburn, Michaella Glenister, David Cumberlidge and Kayla Van Der Merwe are among the new names.

Mainstay mega-weapons Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott, James Guy, Max Litchfield, Freya Anderson and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor retain their funding, as expected.
Of the 2019/2020 group, British Swimming National Performance Director, Chris Spice, said, “The programme has enjoyed another strong year, culminating with our swimmers winning seven medals at the World Championships in Gwangju, three of which were gold. Our junior swimmers also continued to impress against the best in the world and a number of those involved in strong performances across the European and World Junior Championships have been rewarded with a place on the World Class programme for the next 12 months.

“Today marks 304 days to go before we hear the starting gun in Tokyo, so the excitement is growing as we head into another Olympic season. The WCP is not an end in itself and we know we must improve from where we were at the World Championships in Gwangju if we want to meet all our targets for next year. For some of the younger athletes, they will be on a longer journey toward Paris and we look forward to working with them and developing them to be the best they can be over the coming years.”

Full list of World Class Swimming Programme athletes:

Athlete Programme Home Nation
Freya Anderson Ellesmere College England
Georgia Davies Loughborough University Wales
Tom Dean Bath NC England
Luke Greenbank Loughborough NC England
James Guy Bath NC England
Calum Jarvis Bath NC Wales
Cameron Kurle Bath NC England
Max Litchfield Loughborough NC England
Scott McLay University of Stirling Scotland
Siobhan Marie O’Connor Loughborough NC England
Adam Peaty Loughborough NC England
Ben Proud Plymouth Leander England
Molly Renshaw Loughborough NC England
Duncan Scott University of Stirling Scotland
Laura Stephens Plymouth Leander England
Alys Thomas Swim Swansea Wales
James Wilby Loughborough NC England
Podium Potential
Athlete Programme Home Nation
Kyle Booth City Of Cardiff Wales
Cameron Brooks-Clarke City of Sheffield England
Charlie Brown City of Sheffield Swim Squad England
Jack Burnell Loughborough NC England
Greg Butler Loughborough NC England
Freya Colbert Nova Centurion SC England
David Cumberlidge Edinburgh University England
Kathleen Dawson University of Stirling Scotland
Alice Dearing Loughborough University England
Michaella Glenister Leicester Sharks England
Archie Goodburn Loughborough NC Scotland
Holly Hibbott Stockport Metro England
Charlie Hutchison Ellesmere College England
Daniel Jervis Swim Swansea Wales
Emily Large Newcastle Swim Team England
Joe Litchfield Loughborough NC England
Ed Mildred Northampton SC England
Ross Murdoch University of Stirling Scotland
David Murphy Loughborough NC England
Jacob Peters Poole SC England
Nick Pyle University of Stirling England
Matt Richards Royal Wolverhampton School Wales
Katie Robertson Edinburgh University Scotland
Toby Robinson Loughborough NC England
Ciara Schlosshan City of Leeds England
Katie Shanahan City of Glasgow Swim Team Scotland
Chloe Tutton Bath NC Wales
Kayla Van Der Merwe Winchester City Penguins England
Tamryn Van Selm Bromley Swimming Club England
Jacob Whittle Derventio Excel England
Brodie Williams Millfield School England

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4 years ago

I would think Anna Hopkin would make the cut but no

Reply to  Tomek
4 years ago

She isnt based in the UK. I believe Spofforth only got support after she became WR holder.

Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

The whole idea that someone is not based in the UK and therefore cannot receive funding confuses me. I don’t know what kind of signal that is trying to give an athlete that makes a maiden world championship final and because that person is based in the US no funding is allocated. Really think British Swimming need to reevaluate this part of their model.

Reply to  Swammer
4 years ago

It is completely bizarre. If someone goes to the US in order to train and it’s getting results (as it clearly is with Hopkin) why should they be punished? Admittedly Arkansas is a bit of a curve ball, but swimmers like Alicia Wilson and (whilst he was at Florida) Szaranek are/were training with coaches whose CVs are clearly the equal or better of any UK based coach.

Particularly given Energy Standard swimmers don’t seem to suffer the same punishment, something of a double standard.

Reply to  Togger
4 years ago

FWIW Anna Hopkins’ coach at Arkansas, Neal Harper, is British, as is James Gibson, the coach at Energy Standard. Not that it should matter…but I wonder if that plays into the psychology of the selections at all.

Reply to  Swammer
4 years ago

I agree wholeheartedly, but British Swimming is gonna continue being British Swimming. I once spoke to somebody quite high up in BS who tried to tell me it was ‘UK wide funding policy’, which was an outright lie as numerous people on Athletics funding live and train abroad. Not sure what their logic is…

The Unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

But Ben Proud and Georgia Davies aren’t based in the UK either. This is just a rule they use when it suits them. Anyway I’m sure Team GB will take credit if Anna Hopkin finals or wins a medal next year.
Reply to  The Unoriginal Tim
4 years ago

Is it related to NCAA rules similar to why she cant compete in ISL?

4 years ago

Really confused as to what’s happened to Szaranek and Benson recently. Anyone have any idea as to why they’re not even “potential”?

Reply to  USAswimfan
4 years ago

Age profile- historical profiling that does not match current projected trends in the sport ie. that participants can not only remain competitive but improve at a later stage in their career. They have great examples in Wilby and Thomas, but chose to select young but in most instances unsuccessful ‘potential’ as their divine right(age) helps them.

No athlete deserves to be singled out for inclusion or exclusion. But given ‘potential’ insinuates 2024 medalist it would be interesting to look at 2011 in relation to 2016 and 2015 in relation to what happens in Tokyo
Reply to  USAswimfan
4 years ago

Not sure on Szaranek but Benson’s fate prob down to Wilby’s emergence and FINA confirming they aren’t looking to include a 4 x 100 Breast Relay in 2020 or 2024.

4 years ago

Analytics and Moneyball meet British Swimming. At some point a 20 something who’s slowing down, but still a bit faster than an improving/growing 16 year old will get replaced. This is the new normal. Impersonal computer models in so many sports are being relied upon to decide who makes it or not. This all makes me uncomfortable. I like USAs clearly defined domestic/world ranking method and Canada’s Mensa level on-trak times better to define benefits.

4 years ago

I don’t think it’s justifiable to leave Miley off this. She has been rehabilitating since ankle surgery and therefore hasn’t been able to perform to her full potential (which she should be able to reach next year). However, I think it’s fair enough that Willmott is left off because unless it’s a competition at commonwealth or European level then she will not perform and someone who doesn’t perform shouldn’t be on the roster,

Reply to  Jeff
4 years ago

Hannah Miley has never won an Olympic Medal and last Long course world championships medal was 2011. By that logic Becky Addlington and Fran Halsall should still be on the list.

Reply to  Niall
4 years ago

Yes but she has made 3 successive Olympic finals in the 400 IM and by next year I think she has a significantly higher chance to make the final than Willmott will.

Reply to  Jeff
4 years ago

Miley is also still funded by Scottish swimming….

Reply to  Jeff
4 years ago

Everything that miley has achieved within about 6 years willmott has also at a world level. Both world and olympic finalists but willmott is younger and has been much faster this year. There is literally no reason to choose miley over willmott other than the reason that you like her more.

The Unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Jeff
4 years ago

Hannah Miley world rankings 400 IM:
2019 – injured
2018 – 7th
2017 – 6th
2016 – 4th

Aimee Willmott world rankings 400 IM:
2019 – 8th
2018 – 5th
2017 11th
2016 – 6th

They have both been left off funding two years running.

In contrast Georgia Davies world ranking 100 BK:
2019 – 15th
2018 – 12th
2017 – 10th
12016 – 10th

I believe that both Miley and Willmott have more chance to final next year than Davies. However Davies is needed for the 400 Medley relay as well as the individual so I am not saying she shouldn’t be funded just that the… Read more »

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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