Though there is no full psych sheet yet released for the 2012 British Selection Trials, British Swimming is taking an interesting approach to this year’s Olympic Trials meet. They are posting a running list of entries for the selection trials online to track as things happen.
Among the more interesting entries are the women who have signed up for a chance at boosting the British 400 Free Relay that failed to even make the final at the World Championships, despite swimming their top sprinters in the prelims.
Thus far, non-traditional-sprinters Joanne Jackson (56.5), Gemma Spofforth (57.2), and Lizzie Simmonds (57.6) are all currently entered into the 100 free for the British Trials that will take place from March 3rd-10th.
Simmonds is swimming extremely well, and seems to be back into her stride after breaking two British short course records at the 2011 Duel in the Pool. Spofforth has not swum well in the last year or so, but this 100 free is an event that a lot of her fans from her college days have pushed for her to take a stab at. While her 57.2 seed time is not that impressive, the 47.7 she split on a freestyle relay as a senior at Florida shows that she certainly has speed.
Caitlin McClatchey is also entered in the 100 free, but beyond that intends to swim the 200 and 400 that were for-so-long her best events. By comparison, last year she didn’t swim the 400 at the World Championships Trials, but after having a great swim at the Euro2012 meet last week, she looks like she might be in the running to take an Olympic spot in the longest race on her schedule. She’s entered in all of the freestyles from 50 through 400.
One swimmer who is not entered in the 100 free is Rebecca Adlington, who has entries in the 200, 400, and 800 freestyles. She’s only ever been a 57.9 in the 100 free, but she’s only swum it a small handful of times. Though she may have fallen short of an Olympic bid, there was still some intrigue about what she could do in the 100 free on a taper.
In the men’s equivalent of the same race, the interesting entry is from four-time defending 100 backstroke National Champion Liam Tancock. Tancock’s abundance of fast-twitch muscle (demonstrted by his 50m back World Championship last year) allows him to be a pretty decent sprint freestyler, though underrated. He is entered at a 49.8, which makes him the 3rd seed so far behind Simon Burnett and Grant Turner. Assume that former Auburn sprinter Adam Brown will shortly add his name to that list of entries as well. With Tancock splitting a 48.60, the Brits finished 8th at Worlds last year.
In other races, James Goddard will attempt to mitigate his shoulder injury by dropping the 200 back (where he took Commonwealth gold in 2010) from his schedule. He will instead focus his efforts on the 200 IM: an event where he also won the Commonwealth title. Interestingly, he’s entered in the 100 fly, but don’t be shocked if he dropps that race.
The most exciting race of the meet is already shaping up to be the women’s 100 fly. The two defending members of the World Championships team, both of whom were finalists, in the event Jemma Lowe and Ellen Gandy are seeded at 57.4 and 57.5, respectively; however, Fran Halsall is the British Record holder, and is also entered at a 57.4.
Gandy and Lowe’s only other entries are in the 200 fly, while Halsall is scheduled to swim the 50 and 100 freestyles as well.
The Brits are all looking to impress in front of the home crowd this year, so expect some very fast swimming to go down at trials (especially in races where there will be a lot of competition for the top two spots). There are few athletes at those Olympic Games who will have a comparatively better opportunity to cash in huge off of Olympic success than have the British swimmers in a country that is catching the aquatic-fever.
This list provides a comprehensive report of domestic entries. Remember that the London Organizing Committee mandated this as a test event that would be open to foreign athletes in prelims. Thus far, several international swimmers have signed up to take their first crack at the Olympic pool, including Milorad Cavic (Serbia), Mireia Belmonte-Garcia (Spain), Marleen Veldhuis (the Netherlands), Markus Rogan (Austria), and Rafael Munoz (Spain).
In addition, much of the National Teams from Belgium (including Francois Heersbrandt), Luxembourg, Spain (including Aschwin Wildeboer), Israel, and even a pair of Americans (Zach Hayden and Patrick Simpkins) are already on the list.