English athletes light up London at Speedo Aquatics GB Championships

Twelve English athletes guaranteed their Paris 2024 places after a thrilling six days at the Speedo Aquatics GB Swimming Championships 2024 inside the London Aquatics Centre.

Britain’s best swimmers and para-swimmers descended on the nation’s capital as they looked to cement their spot on the plane or Eurostar to Paris later this summer.

As well as the 12 guaranteed Olympic places, 21 English para-swimmers set times that were under the Paralympic nomination standard time as they look to gain selection to the team this summer.

The competition kicked off in style with Adam Peaty setting the fastest 100m breaststoke time in the world this year as he secured his spot in Paris where he will look to make it three-peat of Olympic titles.

Nine years on from breaking the world record for the first time in the same pool, Peaty stopped the clock after two lengths in a time of 57.94 to claim the British title and a second under the Olympic nomination time.

He was followed home by Commonwealth champion James Wilby – who was 0.02 off the nomination time for the Games but put himself right in line for selection. Wilby also won the 200m title but was outside the time required for a guaranteed place in France despite an impressive gold and silver medal.

The opening night also saw the first of two British titles for Freya Colbert, who had an incredible meet in London.

She won both the Women’s 200m Freestyle and 400m Individual Medley finals on her way to booking three swims in Paris.

Hitting the nomination times in both of those events it also booked her spot on the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle relay squad alongside Abbie Wood, Lucy Hope and Medi Harris who followed her home to the finish.

Colbert clocked in 1:56.22 which was just 0.40 ahead of Wood – who also made the Paris nomination time for the individual event.

Two nights later and Colbert took home her second British title and a Paris 2024 place in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley. She did it after a nip-and-tuck battle with Katie Shanahan which saw the Loughborough Performance Centre athlete come out on top after nudging clear on the freestyle leg to reach the finish.

It was a personal best time of 4:34.01 to give her a second victory of the meet before adding a potential swim in the 200m Individual Medley to her Olympic programme.

This time she had to settle for second spot behind the impressive Abbie Wood who’s personal best effort of a 2:08.91 rubber stamped her place in the French capital.

Para swimmers on record-breaking form

This year’s Aquatics GB Swimming Championships are the first to incorporate para swimming into the trials for the Games in the summer.

And the nation’s para swimmers were in top form across the week with a number of British bests and even world record breaking times.

Two of those world bests came from William Ellard in a week where he set four Paralympic nomination times.

His efforts in the Men’s 100m Backstroke, 100m Butterfly, 200m Individual Medley and the 200m Freestyle all put him a strong position in front of the selectors.

The performance in the 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle stood out where he hit record times in the events.

The S14 swimmer set a new British best in the 100m backstroke with a time of before equalling Reece Dunn’s world record in the S14 Men’s 200m Freestyle.

Touching in 1:52.40, he smashed another Paralympic nomination standard for his class and claimed the British gold, his second of the competition, tying Dunn’s world record from the Tokyo Paralympics.

He did however break Dunn’s world best time in the 100m freestyle with a time of 51.36 from the outside lane in Friday’s heats. The 100m freestyle however is a non-Paralympic event for S14 athletes so it isn’t an event he will be taking part in should he head to Paris.

Also swimming to a world record time was Olivia Newman-Baronius who tied the S14 Women’s 100m Butterfly world record time.

Her penultimate night swim of 1:03.33 sent the 17-year-old to the British title and one of three of her nomination times across the week.

The Games weren’t on the teenagers mind until after the World Series event in Italy last month but now she’s put herself in good position in front of the selectors with times in the 200m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke amongst her successful week.

Alice Tai came away with two golds and a silver from her time in London where she set three Paralympic nomination times whilst Poppy Maskill’s medal filled week saw her end the meet with nomination times in the 200m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley.

There was a special moment for the Humphrey twins – Scarlett and Eliza – who both secured S11 400m Freestyle Paralympic nomination times in the same race.  Scarlett went one further by breaking her own British record in the process with a time of 5:26.42 with Eliza setting a 5:35.60. Scarlett also recorded a 50m Freestyle nomination time in a strong week for the teenager.

Paralympic and world champion, Maisie Summers-Newton secured two times in both the S6 100m Breaststroke and 200m Individual Medley.

Tully Kearney also hit a new British best in the Women’s S5 50m Backstroke in a time of 40.99 on her way to two Paris 2024 nomination times in that event and 100m freestyle.

Callie-Ann Warrington (S10 50m Freestyle & 100m Butterfly), Jessica-Jane Applegate (S14 200m Freestyle), Georgia Sheffield (S14 100m Backstroke), Grace Harvey (SB5 100m Breaststroke), Cameron Vearncombe (S14 200m Individual Medley), Ellie Challis (S3 50m Backstroke), Matthew Redfern (S13 50m Freestyle), Mark Tompsett (S14 1oom Backstroke), Megan Neave (S14 100m Backstroke), Rebecca Redfern (SB13 100m Breaststroke), Iona Winnifrith (SB7 100m Breaststroke), Suzanna Hext (S5 200m Freestyle), Louise Fiddes (S14 200m Freestyle & 100m Breaststroke) and Brock Whiston (S8 400m Freestyle, 200m Individual Medley and 100m Breaststroke) all put themselves in contention to make the Team GB squad after they all set nomination times proving the incredible depth on the British para swimming squad.

Morgan and Max Litchfield break British records

Amongst the other swimmers to book their spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics were backstroker Ollie Morgan and Max Litchfield.

The pair both broke British record times as they touched the wall first in London with Morgan breaking Liam Tancock’s British best time from 2009 in the Men’s 100m Backstroke finale.

Following his backstroke treble at the Championships last year, Morgan surged to the wall in the 100m event this time around in a time of 52.70 which was comfortably inside the Olympic nomination standard. That ensures he will make his Games debut in Paris where he’s now given himself the option of three swims after his victory earnt him a spot on the Mixed 4x100m Medley team alongside Peaty, Anna Hopkin and Keanna MacInnes.

He also took victory in the 200m event with a new personal best time of 1:56.27 whilst 100m runner-up Jonathon Marshall set a Paris standard time to give him a shot of making the Olympics for the first time.

Max Litchfield put together a brilliant 400m of medley swimming, capitalising on his stronger strokes and powering down the final 50m of freestyle to not only secure his third consecutive Olympic place, but also a new British record for the event, the 4:09.14 surpassing the mark set by Duncan Scott in 2022.

After a fourth place finish at both the Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games, Max Litchfield will be hoping that Paris will be the place where he’ll finally take to an Olympic podium. At the Games it will be a family affair after his younger brother Joe secured a spot in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay mark after he won the Men’s 100m Butterfly final.

Hopkin’s double

Anna Hopkin booked her place on the Mixed 4x100m Medley team after completing the 50-100m freestyle title double to book her ticket to Paris

She set a blistering 24.53 to go inside the Women’s 50m Freestyle nomination mark twice in a day to retain her British title.

Hopkin then closed her week by claiming Women’s 100m Freestyle victory.

Having looked very good in the heats, Hopkin moved her swim on nicely down the second 50m in the final to touch in 53.33, two-tenths inside the Paris nomination time.

Ben Proud will be aiming to make his third Olympic final as he took the British 50m Freestyle crown as he aims for his first Olympic medal.

He looked in impressive form by going inside the nomination mark where he came up clear of the field from the start and carved his way to a 21.25 that ranks as his third-fastest swim ever.

More relay places were secured with Tom Dean and Alex Cohoon joining Matthew Richards and Duncan Scott as part of the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle team for Paris.

Dean also retained his place as part of the defending 4x200m quartet in France. He’ll be joined once again by Richards and Scott with James Guy making up the group who will be aiming for top spot in France later this summer.

Honey Osrin booked a ticket for her debut Olympics with a brilliant swim in the Women’s 200m Backstroke

She took the race out hard and held on down the final 50m to keep a fast-finishing Katie Shanahan at bay to win the gold and go inside the 2:08.91 Paris nomination time, meaning she’ll head to her first Games.

Laura Stephens (Women’s 200m Butterfly), Luke Greenbank (200m Backstroke) and Dean (200m Individual Medley) also hit three more Paris nomination times which could see them earn individual swims at the Olympics.

Elsewhere English swimmers hit the podium across the competition with Joshua Gammon setting a new personal best of 1:56.94 to win the Men’s 200m Butterfly final, Holly Hibbott topped the Women’s 400m Freestyle standings and Toby Robinson – who’s already heading to the Olympics for the open water – won the Men’s 800m Freestyle final and just missed out on nomination time in the 1500m event.

Keep an eye on channels later this week as we take a look at how some of our junior athletes got on in London.

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