Last month British Swimming released a series of coaching changes, including Adam Peaty’s longtime coach Mel Marshall becoming head of the National Lead Centre at Loughborough. An additional announcement came in the form of David McNulty and Jol Finck being named as new National Lead Centre Coach and National Centre Coach, respectively, at the Bath National Centre.
In his move, Finck left behind his role as Millfield School’s Director of Swimming. Part of his 8-year stint at the school included coaching 2015 World Champion James Guy, who confirmed to SwimSwam he will indeed be following Finck now to Bath to kick off his 2017 swimming year and Olympic cycle.
“I start at Bath on Monday [January 9th] and I’m really looking forward to it”, says Guy to SwimSwam. “I’m primarily following Jol, but it helps being at the National Centre. I’m in need of a move.”
British Swimming dubs its National Centres as ‘performance hubs’ hosting national team development and technical-based camps. The sites, which include just Loughborough and Bath for now, are aimed at giving support to athletes to ensure they achieve an ideal lifestyle/performance balance, according to British Swimming. The NC’s also host sport science and sport medicine support staff that take on a national role.
Guy established himself as a major player on the international swimming scene when he topped Chinese favorite Sun Yang as the 200m freestyle champion in Kazan last year. He was also a crucial member of Great Britain’s gold medal-winning 4x200m freestyle relay at the same competition.
Although the 21-year-old fell just short individually at the 2016 Olympic Games, finishing a painstaking 4th and 6th in the 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle, respectively, he came away from Rio as a double silver medalist. Guy once again served as a member of Great Britain’s 4x200m freestyle relay and also fired off a swift fly leg of his nation’s 4x100m medley relay. Both squads finished in 2nd place, garnering the Bury-born swimmer two Olympic medals.
Still focusing on the 200m and 400m freestyle races ongoing, Guy tells SwimSwam he’s looking to potentially add more butterfly into his event portfolio. As mentioned, Guy threw down very respectable fly splits of 51.48 (prelims) and 51.35 (finals) on his squad’s medley relay in Rio. Individually, Guy quietly finished 14th overall after semi-finals in the 100m butterfly, clocking a 52.10 after finishing in 51.78 in the heats. The latter effort stands as the 19th fastest time worldwide for 2016. To up the ante in the fly events, Guy says he ‘needs to have a bigger aerobic background and that’s something I need to work on.’
In his new Bath environment, Guy is looking forward to training with more swimmers ‘his age, rather than training with youth swimmers.’ Among the athletes currently at Bath are Olympic silver medalists Jaz Carlin and Siobhan O’Connor, as well as fellow medley relay teammate Christopher Walker-Hebborn.
We’ll get to see Guy in action in Luxembourg later this month, as he is set to compete at the 2016 Euro Meet January 27th-29th at the D’Coque Aquatic Center.