The British Swimming Championships and Olympic Trials are to be held from the 12th to the 17th April and will provide a fantastic chance to see Britain's hottest swimmers preparing for selection for the biggest games of all. We take a look at some fast facts about the event to get things going!
What is the event?
The British Swimming Championships is the UK's largest domestic swimming meet in the annual calendar for the leading names in UK swimming. Furthermore, it will be the one chance that these athletes have to qualify for the Rio Olympics, in addition to the European Championships and the junior games.
What is the role of British Swimming?
British Swimming, the governing organisation for the sport, holds the event every year between March and April using a 50 metre - or long course - swimming pool. The outcome from this event typically combines as a selection trial for international grade events that follow in the summer.
Where is it held this year?
This year's event will be held in Glasgow, at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre. Britain's top swimmers will be fiercely competing for a chance to secure a place on the British team at the Rio Games this summer. This means that they have one chance - at the British Swimming Championships - to perform well enough for chance to take part in the Olympics this year.
The Tollcross pool has been recently refurbished so it is like new, and the organisers have spoken of their pleasure at holding the event in Glasgow, with the supporters, city and venue being known for looking after its swimming visitors. The venue is expected to be packed with the public, who provide vital energy and support for the athletes as they gear up to impress for the most important fixture of their four year training cycle.
Why is the venue so appropriate for this event?
The Tollcross International Swimming Centre was the scene of Ross Murdoch's winning 200 metre breaststroke race in the Commonwealth Games, and as a local lad from Stirling, he will have the crowd all the way. He has spoken of the superb atmosphere and excellent pool, with the swimmers all looking forward to engaging with a passionate spectator crowd and competing in a world-class swimming facility. The city of Glasgow is also delighted to be hosting another world class sports event, following on from the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and last year's IPC Swimming World Championships.
About the Tollcross International Swimming Centre
The venue is located just over three miles East from Glasgow city centre, on the River Clyde's north bank. It is council owned and has recently undergone a substantial programme of extension and refurbishment. It has a long course pool at fifty metres in length, and with ten lanes. It has recently been extended to include a six lane warm-up space and training pool, making it truly world class in size and capacity. It now provides a permanent home for swimming training and recreation for elite athletes and the local community alike, and will host as many world class swimming competitions as it can successfully bid for.
The Centre is located in Tollcross Park itself, which competitors and spectators will appreciate during the event. This houses a winter garden, playground, leisure facilities and more. Anyone planning to attend will need to get there early to reserve a decent spot in the stands.
Who are the top names to look out for?
During the week of races there will be plenty of hot names to look out for. The first day alone will see two World Champions competing, Adam Peaty in the 100 metre breaststroke, and James Guy in the 400 metre Freestyle. Both will be working hard to qualify as early as possible. Hannah Miley, the Commonwealth Champion, will also be competing in the 400 metre individual medley in a bid to make it onto the team.
Where can I find out details of those competing for team GB?
You can find out more about the GB team online at: http://www.swimming.org/britishswimming/swimming/profiles/. Look out for names such as Aimee Willmot, Hannah Miley, Fran Halsall, Lauren Quigley, Siobhan-Marie O'Connor and Keri Anne Payne among the women. For the men look out for Andrew Willis, Adam Peaty, Ben Proud, Calum Jarvis, Duncan Scott, James Guy, Ross Murdoch, Stephen Milne and more. You'll find all the names you recognise, and some new talent to inspire your own development in the pool.
What are the basics of the event?
Essentially, all swimmers will be competing in one or more of a series of events that are time trialed and which use the competitive strokes - freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke. They will be looking to perfect moves such as the dolphin kick, drafting and the tumble turn, and spectators will have plenty to watch, absorb and learn from for their own progression.
Are there any changes to this year's event?
Following the inaugural championships, some minor adjustments to the format and schedule have been made to the event. This year's age groupings will stay the same at 13-14, 15, 16, 17-18, 19 years and above for the male and female categories. The most noticeable change is that there will be 30 teams competing, which is an increase from last year's 20.
Can I buy tickets for the Championships?
Tickets can be purchased online via Ticketmaster. The advice is to snap up your seats quickly as they are likely to sell out soon. See the following link for further information and to purchase: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/British-Swimming-Championships-tickets/artist/1834600
The British Swimming Championships and Olympic Trials is an opportunity to preview the country's leading swimmers likely to be making waves at Rio later this year. If you are lucky enough to be able to attend the event, the atmosphere promises to be electrifying. For those who cannot attend, there will be plenty of media coverage throughout the event.