Hope & Heartbreak: 2 Inside GB Record, No Rio Cut; Walker-H & Davies Relay Reliant

Chris Walker-Hebborn on his way to the win but no Rio cigar in Glasgow today - by Ian MacNicol
Chris Walker-Hebborn on his way to the win but no Rio cigar in Glasgow today - by Ian MacNicol

It was day of heartbreak at the British Championships in Glasgow, when not a single winner, let alone those racing inside British record time for silver, emerged from the four finals with a ticket to the Rio Olympic Games in their hands.

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Ger

You could ask for no more from a swimmer than what Chloe Tutton did this evening. A big PB and national record. No QT, but she has earned a spot and the selectors should reward her efforts. To not do so would be shameful, I feel. The men’s medley is up in the air a bit but I think they will bring a relay team and that will be CWH’s saving grace. But his time was slow. If this is the case, some who got closer to the QT’s in their events may feel aggrieved.

for33

I agree that the qualification times are very demanding, particularly so for 200m butterfly. That said, I though there was a swimmer, his first name Cameron, but her surname I can’t remember, that last year had timed a little up of 1:56 in that race, and I don’t see him mentioned. It’s possible that I’m confused. I haven’t seen the races; did Mr. Pavoni enter in the race?

Craig Lord

for33, Cameron Brodie, 1:58.98, now in the article.

Personal Best

I don’t understand.
I DO understand, but I don’t.

Sure, they don’t want to take swimmers who aren’t likely to win a medal, I get that.
But they won’t win any medals if they don’t take any swimmers.
Certainly swimmers who’ve swum faster than most other people in the world.

It’s an interesting idea, and I’d say standards should be tougher (as Australia too have done, but in a manner that is far less severe), but this seems a touch… unfair?

Also, the Olympic finals may well go on without some of the best swimmers of the moment. In heats, swimmers from around the world struggling to get within 10 seconds of the winning time will participate.

for33

Continuing with the reasoning of Personal Best, I would think the ultimately everyone is interested in making competitive swimming a more popular sport in Great Britain. But by sending very few people to the Olympics I think it will be harder to stir sufficient concern within the people attentive to sports.

beachmouse

If I were Molly Renshaw and wanting to continue in the sport, I think I’d be passport-shopping at this point. She’d probably get treated better by even South Africa than she has by UK swimming.

Steve

“six places available for those who fall shy of the high bar but get closest to a faster qualification target within a 2% margin. A section policy not meant to thrill or encourage audience participation.”

While I wholeheartedly agree with your comments on the format of the policy, this is not quite right. The 6 wildcards are not the limit of selector’s picks. They can pick a team up to 30 in total, including those who make the automatic times, the 6 wildcards and then fill the remainder with swimmers inside the 2% cut off as they see fit. That might mean fewer than 30 go but on that basis Chloe Tutton must be a shoo-in and Molly Renshaw is a good bet.

GBswim

Women’s 100m Back: Credit to Davies – 59.6 back on her best in Olympic year. Strong field in Simmonds, Quigley, Halsall, Fullalove… Quigley only managing 1.01 was a huge shock. I had her penciled in to lead off the medley relay – Davies takes that one (outside automatic qualification but essentially job done). I hope Simmonds steps it up in 200.

Men’s 200m Fly: No expectations for Olympic Births. Competitive race and great result for Mallet but none selected and none of these medallists are likely to feature over 100m – look to Guy and Barrett to fly the flag for Brits, pardon the pun.

Women’s 200m Breast: All the focus on Renshaw but once again missing out, though a PB so what can be said? I think both Tutton and Renshaw deserve to go – both top 10 in the world and still young/peaking in Tokyo. One of Britain’s weakest events for a long time but a host of youngsters coming through the ranks, Coates leading the charge.

Men’s 100m Back: Disappointing time for CWH – hopes and expectations on a 53 low, relay particularly in mind. Was he fully tapered, CL? Quite a way ahead of the field and may not have fully rested? Likely the last time we’ll see Tancock – fantastic career at the spearhead of the British team for a decade.

gheko

CWH is obviously not fully recovered from the virus he had recently, 52.8 last year and 53.8 this year, obviously he needs to be at his best for the medley relay, Can these athletes still qualify through the European titles in London Craig?

David Brooks

I think there’s just some misunderstanding of the selection policy. The GB system is a hybrid – it’s not straight trials with qualifying times, nor is it completely discretionary as is the case with many sports for many countries outside the US.
So I would argue that while those who don’t qualify automatically by winning their event and meeting the standard are at the mercy of the selectors, they are not depending on the selectors making a “exception” as Renshaw would have needed in 2012. Instead, the discretionary places are built into the selection policy.
To aid the discretionary choices, selectors will look at how far they are from “consideration times”. This is where exceptions might come in. They have said that in order to be considered, a time must be within 2% of the consideration time and that exceptions will only be made in “exceptional circumstances”.
So through the first 8 events, only James Guy, Adam Peaty and Hannah Miley have qualified as of right by winning and besting the qualifying standard.
The rest will rely on discretionary places and so need to look to how they rank against other contenders in terms of percentages outside of the consideration time.
Here is how they stack up as of now:
Tutton 0.296% off target
Murdoch 0.427
Renshaw 1.156
Milne 1.356
Wilmott 1.61
Davies 1.914

To get an individual place others would have to rely on the “exceptional circumstances clause”. These include Walker-Hebburn (2.46% outside), Carlin in the 200 (2.22) and Mallet (3.74).

In terms of the relay, the policy states that the top 4 in the freestyle relays and the fastest in each of the medley disciplines will be selected as long as their combined time at the trials falls within 2% of the consideration time. No mention is made of a relay allowance. In real terms, this means the targets are:
3:14.555 for men’s 4×1
7:11.817 for men’s 4×2
3:34.557 for men’s medley
3:37.158 for women’s 4×1
7:54.799 for women’s 4×2
3:39.159 for women’s medley.

It seems to me that all of those are attainable even with the odd off performance like Walker-Hebburn’s. And even if a team misses out, selectors can chose to substitute times in from relays at the last world’s. Given that the Brits beat those times in both 4x2s and both medleys, those spots would seem assured if the selectors want to send a team.
The 4x1s need some work this week.

So, I actually think the selection criteria are pretty fair. They lay out challenging targets for auto selection and then clear directions has to how discretionary places may be allotted. The only misgiving I have is that it’s rather complicated and the athletes don’t seem to understand it.
Renshaw for example has no reason to be disconsolate. She will almost certainly be selected given that only around 8 athletes are likely to snatch automatic slots. I don’t know if GB will take their max team of 30, but I would think that pretty much everyone inside the 2% will go.

Craig Lord

All good DavidB – 1 think you missed: on those 2% – BOA says max 6 people… so, as you note, after 2 days we already have 6… it may be 20 by the close of play. That may not matter in that a team of 30 is allowed… so all 2% era may may make it… Beyond that, The calculation is too complex to translate to general and media interest.

Craig Lord

That may be so Steve but it is all too tortuous – certainly takes the joy out of it all. when people ask those denied by dopers what it meant to them when the doper got caught, they note first of all, in many cases, that what they felt robbed of was the moment to celebrate. Not doping, of course, but in some ways such complex selection options rob those who may well end up being selected of a moment to celebrate (not the wild party kind but at least a smile and a feel-good factor). I heard a lot of depressed people talking to media in the mixed zone tonight… it needn’t be.

Craig Lord

No, though if on the team, their results will influence the jury of discretion when it comes to allowing additional events etc once in Rio…

David Brooks

Well I left the 6 max out because it seems redundant. Clause 3.2 of the selection policy does indeed state a maximum of 6 discretionary place. But then in the very net clause 3.3 says:
“Following the selection of the athletes under 3.1 and 3.2 above, consideration for selection of other athletes
will then be given to athletes ranked inside or closest to (in percentage terms) times listed in Table 2. For the avoidance of doubt, the NPD and Head Coach shall have the option, but shall not be obliged, to select further athletes”

I do wonder what exactly the point of 3.2 is in light of 3.3, but having read it 50 times, I really do not think there is a limit of 6 discretionary spaces. But it certainly could be written more clearly.

David Brooks

On another point, I think Tutton’s breakthrough and Renshaw’s continued progress could be good news for the Medley relay. Tutton, in particular, seems like she could have potential over 100. She came within tenths of her 100 pb during the 200 and a 1:06-high does not seem like a stretch.

aswimfan

Craig,
It is interesting that you mentioned the swimmers felt robbed of the joy of celebrating (when losing to doped swimmers or in this current situation, prevented by tortuous selection procedures).

What do you think about FINA not recognizing textile WR?
Don’t you think they also robbed not only the swimmers but also the fans of the joy of celebrating a new WR?

aswimfan

And thank you to DavidB for explaining GB’s selection procedure! I

gheko

I wonder if not having semis at this meet is lessening the chances of swimmers attaining the qualifying times, surely you have more chances in three rounds rather than two?

aswimfan

Can the swimmers swim the qualifying times in the prelims, or must they do it in the final?

If they have to do it in the final, semis would not help, and in fact would make it less so, because the swimmers would get even more tired.

gheko

Tired? they have been training for four years for this, they should be ready, If they are tired now they are going to be even more tired in Rio with three rounds!

gheko

Not sure how they work out the qualifying times, its seems very complex, whereas USA and Australia have first two under the times to qualify, GBR have a tougher qualifying time!

aswimfan

I think GBR have the most complex selection process.

Craig Lord

Yes, I do. Several leading figures, including coaches, noted that at the time. Bob Bowman may well have come late to the party etc etc but he also said in Rome 2009 that he would be happy to have all of Phelps records set in shiny suits (inc relays) expunged – in part for that very reason. The thread of history has been altered and warped and quite a few swimmers deprived of ever having known the states of WR holder.

Craig Lord

David, you’re right, it is redundant if they then go to the full extent of what’s possible, taking 30, say, 20 of whom are in that 2% zone, say. Rather than it being written more clearly it shouldn’t have been written at all: complexities too far. It really would be better if calculators weren’t required to know whether a kid has made the Olympics…

Steve

@Craig: you’re preaching to the converted when it comes to the complexity of the policy. Certainly we’ve seen none of the emotion there was at trials 4 years ago so far.

@David Brooks: I agree that there’s no limit on the 2%ers. The policy is just setting out the priority order in which people are picked so 1) those making QTs 2) up to 6 wildcards at selector discretion then 3) those within 2% up to the maximum team size (which can’t be more than 30 but could be decided by the selectors to be less)

gheko

The qualifying times are outrageous, How can young swimmers progress without Olympic experience!

Craig Lord

Steve – the headache of it all is much relieved by your hard work with the calculator 🙂 Thank you. I wish it wasn’t required. In general, if you have to explain the rules to people several times before they get it (and then many don’t) you’ve lost them. I have no issue with tough standards (when they are tough and reasonable and there’s logic in how the bar is set).

gheko

Team GBR do not have the depth of talent to push them to the very fast times required, its as simple as that.

Steve

Craig, that’s most kind. But as you say, it would be much better if I didn’t need to do it! I certainly don’t envy you trying to communicate what’s going on in a 200 word newspaper column…

gheko

CWH now swims with his teeth, not his brain arms and legs!

stabilo

With all this very confusing selection process, it seems like it might be quite counterproductive for swimmers who don’t need to fully taper to be Top 2. Looking at the list of finalists, quite a few (Guy, Peaty, Miley, Willmott, Tutton, Renshaw..) are easily ahead of 3rd. Would it not be better to have more.. realistic (?) qualifying times to prevent forcing people to taper?

(Like others have said, GBR trials are not a replica of the Olympics anyway, since someone like Guy could cruise the 200 Heats and Semis, which he of course can’t do at the Olympics.)

Craig Lord

Now, now, gheko – play nicely 🙂 He swims with his bloodstream, as they all do – and anyone who has had an infection knows what that means.

gheko

I agree Craig, no athlete wants to make excuses, good luck to them all.

Iain

As Steve said, this article is wrong. The 6 wild card picks are for those who fall outside the 2% time.

Craig Lord

Now you’re wrong, Iain, a shifting tide in a huge wave of coverage and a great deal of work to go with all those calculations and complexities that ought not to be: the six is not in the copy, so it can longer be wrong.

David Brooks

I think ditching the semis is a wise step in GB’s case. As someone said, they lack strength in depth so if 16 progress from the heats the top athletes really will be able to cruise which provides no simulation of an Olympic heat at all.
At least with only two rounds, the top swimmers at least have to get out of first gear.
For what it’s worth, I’d like to see simple, clear qualifying times as Craig suggests. But I’d also add in times that need to be reached in the heats. That way you could establish the idea that in the Olympics you need to be able to put a quality morning swim with an evening one too.
As i is I’m not sure we’ve yet seen a single heat swim that would get someone into an Olympic semi or final, except for Peaty, of course.

David Brooks

OK, with the calculator at hand, here are the +2% target times for tonight’s finals. It really would be much easier if they just printed these times!
Women: 50 free – 24.71; 200 fly – 2:08.15; 800 free – 8:27.12
Men: 100 free – 48.60; 400 IM: 4:13.71

I’m hoping that Duncan Scott can build on his breakthrough this morning (48.81) and at least put himself into consideration. Ben Proud (48.68 this am) will surely be targeting the automatic standard at 48.16, though it’s a big ask.

David Brooks

A big pb for Adam Barrett this morning, but the way at 49.49 – 0.35 off his previous best from 2013. Hopefully this translates into a good time in the Fly.
Also of note, I thought, was the maiden voyage inside a minute for Ieuan Lloyd who once promised so much and was an Olympian four years ago. He knocked over a second off his best (from 2012) and earlier in the week went sub 3:50 for the 400 for the first time in four years. That ought to translate to a 1:47 over 200 which is good news for the relay given that Jarvis, Wallace and Grainger all appear sub-par right now…

Felix Sanchez

Surely, surely they must take Tutton: it would be diabolical for someone with that time to miss out.

And not that it matters to qualification, but she must have amazing feel for the water; all her strokes are super smooth.

Craig Lord

I think they will Felix; she’s well up the queue on the way to the 30-swimmer cap as things stand… 3 days to go.

rfrize

@DavidB Thumbs up for the factual and informative posts explaining the selection process.

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