Bill Furniss: Britain Doing It ‘Our Way’ & Berlin Success In Mid-Olympic Cycle Context

Adam Peaty at his breakthrough in Berlin - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Britain was top nation at the 32nd European Championships with 24 medals topped by 9 gold. SwimVortex caught up with Bill Furniss, Head Coach, to ask how things are going midway through the Olympic cycle

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They’ve had a great year, well done to them but Rio obviously the major test & I think they will perform far better being away from home with less pressure & expectations from the public eye. Britain/England in General seem to fail miserably in all sports when there are great expectations. Obviously the rise of Peaty, Proud, Barrett & Murdoch gives their team a very different look than London & along with Carlin & Halsall they have several individual & relay medal prospects for Rio.

Clive Rushton

Observing from afar, it seems pretty clear there’s been a huge culture shift from the last few years. Talented swimmers and talented coaches have always been around; now they are expressing their talent. As Bill says, a lack of enjoyment promotes tension and becomes counter-productive. There is no drum-beating, rah-rah or implied threat in Bill’s approach, simply strongly held values and a totally committed, professional approach with a clear goal: win.

Craig Lord

Yes to that Clive … but the shift took a lot more than the last few years… it came via a need to change the meaning of fun, that work done and got out of the way a few years before the past few years. Great to see the values in the likes of Fran, Jazz, James G, Mel M, and others who learned a great deal in their formative years as athletes (and now some coaches) in the last decade – and, of course, are still learning, like everyone else.


These have been very good results for GB, but do raise again the questions discussed a while back about how we judge national success.

In many ways medals at Commonwealths and Euros are similar achievements to finals at worlds and Olympics. It could also be said that Euros are the fairest test for a nation like GB as they will be competing against similar nations like France, Germany, Italy and Russia; whereas uncovering the super-talent capable of beating the whole world is dependent on a bit of luck.

This has been a record breaking year, but obviously, and perhaps harshly, they’ll be judged entirely by Olympic performance. And after last time, even if they up the medal count, it’s gold they really need. Two years out it’s hard to name favourites in any event, but the only Briton who probably would be considered the favourite now is Peaty (and some may not agree with him), then maybe Halsall or Murdoch. A Japan 2012 style goldless performance is certainly a possibility then, and would probably be quite harshly judged.

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