Recently retired swimmer Rebecca takes a look at blueseventy’s British future pool stars for Rio 2016 after a controversial BBC article questioned the potential of British swimmers to better the medal total of London 2012.
Swimmers across the UK were left defending their sport yesterday after a questioning article was posted online by the BBC. The article titled 'Can British Swimming rise again after the failure of London 2012?' discussed how Team GB "flopped in the Olympic pool" after winning just three medals - that's more than at Barcelona, Sydney, Athens and Beijing. Somebody should redefine failure!
David Bond, the BBC Sports Editor who wrote the article argues that Britain's young swimmers do have the potential to outperform their 2012 counterparts in Rio 2016. In fact, blueseventy is already seeing many of the its up and coming swimmers stepping up and filling the vacuum left by those swimmers retiring after the 2012 Olympics.
Among the swimmers in the blueseventy talent pool is sixteen-year-old James Guy from Millfield School. Guy, who will be 20 in 2016, won a bronze medal at the Junior European Championships in July and has recently improved his personal best times. He is now ranked third in the UK for 200m and 400m freestyle (SC) just behind two Olympians, including Robbie Renwick who is more than seven years his senior. Guy looks on track to reach Rio in 2016 and this weekend goes to Brazil to swim for GBR at the School Games. “Competing in Brazil will be great experience, there’s been such a buzz after the Olympics it’s made me realise how much I want to be at Rio 2016. Over the next few years I want to win European Juniors and medal at the World Youths, and hopefully make the Commonwealth Games team. It’s hard work, but achieving goals makes it all worthwhile, and the support from blueseventy is going to help me do that," said Guy.
The BBC article also discussed how the 'home advantage may have become home disadvantage' despite being the biggest participation sport in the UK, swimming is virtually ignored by the media except for that one month every four years when British swimmers become dazzled by the flash flood of fame. As well as providing its swimmers with material support in the form of kit, blueseventy hopes the promotional work with our athletes will give them valuable media experience over the next few years that will help them deal with the pressure that swimmer Rebecca Adlington said she struggled with in London and Beijing.
Adam Barrett was talent spotted by blueseventy in September and has already come along leaps and bounds. It seems the laid back butterfly wonder from Loughborough University won’t be shaken by the media in Glasgow 2014. “I'm a very relaxed person; I don't tend to let a lot of stuff bother me, which is ideal when an important race is coming up. Nerves aren't really an issue, I just tend to look forward to it more than anything," he said.
Is this the attitude that the media expect from all our swimmers? If so, they should know Barrett is a rare breed in the pool and this could be his secret weapon over the next few years. His incredible work ethic and relaxed attitude has just won him a place on the British team for the Flanders Swimming Cup next year, and already this year Barrett has won two titles at the British University and College Championships (BUCS) and won titles at the Masters National Championships, breaking British records in the process.
blueseventy’s own Olympian is the fierce Welsh backstroker Georgia Davies, whose impressive technique and composure leaves many in awe and she has already won a Commonwealth medal in 2010 at Delhi. Her persistence and determination paid off again in March 2012 when she qualified for her first Olympics in London. Next month Davies travels to Istanbul for the World Short Course Championships, and after storming her way to two convincing wins with some solid early season times at the BUCS Championships, she is confident ahead of the event. “I was pleased with how I raced at BUCS considering how early it was in the season, and especially as I haven’t even started any speed work in training yet! I wanted to work hard in the heats because I need to practice swimming fast in my morning swims, so when it comes to the international meets like world short course, I can progress further through the rounds. Istanbul should be good but tough, hopefully I can race well and reach a final.”
blueseventy’s other Commonwealth hopefuls for 2016 include breaststroker Rory Pardoe, all round expert Ross Muir and butterfly specialist Alys Thomas. We will be keeping you posted on their progress through the season, but if you’d like to keep up with them on Twitter you can find them here:
@Ge0rgiaDavies90 (Geogia Davies), @Adam Barrett92 (Adam Barrett), @jimbob95goon (James Guy), @SwimRory (Rory Pardoe), @ross1muir (Ross Muir), @alys_thomas (Alys Thomas).
To find out what on earth all the fuss is about the BBC article, you can read it in full here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/swimming/20400810.
For more information on the FINA World Short Course Championships, visit: http://www.wscistanbul2012.com/.
We’d love to have your feedback on this article, and what do you think the next generation of British swimmers are capable of at Rio 2016. Leave your comments below!