Andrew Willis In Rio On 2:08.08; Benson, Silver; Murdoch, Wilby, Jamieson, Peaty Out

Winner of the 2012 Olympic Trials, now the 2016 Trials - Andrew Will on his way to victory at Tollcross International in Glasgow - by Ian MacNicol

Andrew Willis claimed gold in 2:08.08 for an Olympic ticket at the helm of an upset of a final in which Adam Peaty roared for the first 100m, then fell back – deliberately – the silver to Craig Benson in 2:09.07, the bronze to the latest Commonwealth champion, Ross Murdoch, who will not stretch to Rio 2016, on 2:09.16

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Andrew Willis claimed gold in 2:08.08 for an Olympic ticket at the helm of an upset of a final in which Adam Peaty roared for the first 100m, then fell back – deliberately – the silver to Craig Benson in 2:09.07, the bronze to the latest Commonwealth champion, Ross Murdoch, who will not stretch to Rio 2016, on 2:09.16



Peaty? pace setting? Or has he gone insane?


GBR wished there were some 4×100 breast event 🙂


So disappointing from Barrett. I expected more after his free swim.


If I were Brits, I’d be very concerned about the current situation of women’s freestyle. So far, most of their top freestylers in all free events not only they are not moving forward, but they are actually regressing: Halsall, SMOC, Carlin, Turner. There’s a glimmer of hope that Faulkner and Coates are swimming a wee bit faster.

So with the men 100 fly results in, I guess the m4x100 medly line up will be the same as in Kazan:
CWH – Peaty – Guy – Proud? (or Duncan, depending on their form).


Men’s 200m Breast: Certainly Willis’ last shot at the Olympics. If all holds well into Rio he, as has been the case throughout the last Olympic cycle, should be challenging for medals. Craig Benson’s 200m work into effect but outside the QT – disappointing really that 2 swimmers did not guarantee themselves places, no more so for Murdoch. See what the selectors do with that second spot – Murdoch practically on the plane already, or does Benson have a chance? Probably the last we’ll see of Jamieson.

Women’s 100m Free: No expectations of medals come Rio but would’ve been comforting to see Halsall and O’Connor duck under 54 seconds to solidify Halsall’s capabilities in Rio and O’Connor’s for the rest of the week. Still, only a warm up for Siobhan.

Men’s 100m Fly: I’m sure Guy had a 51 swim in his mind but victory grants his leg for the medley relay where he will certainly go quicker – didn’t look pleased with the time. Barrett another name to wipe off the list of those I’d penciled in to perform well and make the team, though Guy looks very capable of delivering the 50.7 (sub 51 at least) in Rio, so essential for any medley hopes.

Women’s 200m Back: Simmonds (like Halsall, ASF) was such a precocious talent that looked set for great things in her career. The 2.08 QT was an realistic target for Simmonds tonight but not quite. The 2.06 hit-out’s of former days seem no longer attainable, which is a shame when you look at the likes of Hocking this week, Simmonds just as able i.m.o.



Not the best way to assess the situation of women’s freestyle. Halsall and Carlin are the experienced senior internationals in their respective events and trials is only about qualifying for such. Your concerns are understandable – beyond these two there are no chances for medals in the freestyle for Rio.
Turner doesn’t really come into the question – a solid 4x200m splitter but shouldn’t be mentioned in the list. O’Connor is still only 20 and her focus is clearly not on freestyle but 200IM and 100m fly. Sure, though, she hasn’t pushed on in the 100/200m as one would’ve hoped – 1.55 behind McKeown in Glasgow looked enough to consider a greater challenge for Rio, perhaps.

Faulkner is now 23 and should’ve pushed onto quicker times by now if she is ever going to. Any challenge on freestyle lies with what the next generation can produce. Results from this week show Ana Hopkin, Harriet Cooper and Jessica Jackson leading the charge, all on 55’s and the latter 2 still in teen years (Hopkin, 20?). 16-year old Coates registering a 55 is most exciting, though her focus, like O’Connor’s, is most likely to fall elsewhere. Regarding the 400/800 free and beyond, Holly Hibbott (16/17) went 8.39 to take Gold in Baku last year, slightly slower this year. She looks a prospect, but for the rate at which we see young freestyler’s of Hibbots age and younger shooting out of the US, Australia, China etc, it isn’t a great deal to cheer.

David Brooks

GB Swimfan,

It’s been a disappointing week for sure. a you say there are some hopes for the future, but the junior ranks have been thin for a while on the women’s side. Most of the age group records still belong to the Halsall, Simmonds, Gandy generation.
One note, you mention it was disappointing that 2 guys did not secure automatic spots in the 200m breaststroke. I’d agree that the times behind Willis were disappointing but there is only one automatic spot available in each event. Even if second place makes the time, they have to join the queue for discretionary places. Quite why that is the case, is a very good question.

paolo rubbiani

Swimming is really a fascinating sport (also because not-fully understood): in 2014 Great Britain had a huge season, with great Commonwealth Games and, with a small contingent of athletes, also an outstanding European Champs in Berlin (for instance, I remind that men’s medley relay, with Barratt huge protagonist).

Also 2015 was a very positive season with improvements from many British athletes, both young and experienced. And some British coaches, at the end of the season, have been among the most celebrated in the World, also in this site.

So, everything seemed perfect for the most important year of the quadriennium, all right to revenge the swimming drought of London2012.

Not so easy: the Olympic trials in the same Glasgow of triumphal 2014 Commonwealth Games, after 4 days of races, have seen a lot of subpar performances.

And, like happened at the French trials, the severe standards for the automatic Olympic qualification have emphasized these subpar performances: after 4 days of races just 5 athletes have attained the automatic Olympic qualification.

David Brooks

I do wonder what Guy might be capable of over 200 fly. If you look at the spread between his 100 free and fly bests, it’s about 2.5 seconds, which isn’t much different that fly specialists like Le Cloud. Given that he’s substantially faster over 200 and also has 400 strength I’m thinking he might be in the 1:54 range. What do you think?



Thank you for clarifying that rule. I’ve heard it a few times this week but just failed to register – bizarre, indeed. I guess, then, I meant I was hoping for two men to go 2.08, notably Murdoch, and give absolute justification for a Rio ticket. The slot will still be filled though – Brit’s strongest event of late. Do you predict Murdoch or Benson to be given the second slot? If Murdoch is chosen and you are Benson… appeal?

David Brooks

I think they will go with Benson as the rules suggest they should. But if they want the better medal prospect, that would be Murdoch for sure. If they do go with Murdoch, I’m sure Benson would appeal, but I’m not sure he’d have much recourse given that the boss’s word is final. He’d have reason to feel aggrieved though. Of all those who have missed auto qualification, he is third closest in terms of percentages to the consideration time.
The list so far reads:

Tutton 0.296% off target
Murdoch 0.427
Benson 0.915
Halsall 1.032
Renshaw 1.156
Milne 1.356
Wilmott 1.61
Davies 1.914

Everyone else is over the 2% which disqualifies them unless there are “exceptional circumstances.”

I see no reason why all eight of those ought not be selected. With no men’s or women’s 4×1 there will certainly be room as they wont get to the 30 max.



I don’t want to venture to guess Guy’s potential in 200 fly, but in imo, we may underestimate the specific training required to be successful/great in 200 fly.

For example,
Why doesn’t Sjostrom swim 200 fly?
women 200 fly is much less competitive than 100 or 200 free, and Sjostrom is by far the fastest 100 flyer and we know she has fastest 200 free time in the past 2 years and endurance should no be much a problem too as she swam 4:06 untapered.
Logic says she could go maybe 2:04 easy which is good enough for gold these days.

Maybe she doesn’t like swimming 200 fly, just like Coughlin didn’t bother training in 200 back even though we all thought she could have been great in it.
Or maybe training for those events took a lot out of a swimmer that negate improvement in other events?
I don’t know.

David Ebanks

First mistake by GB is holding trials at Tollcross which is clearly a slower pool than the super fast Sheffield pool where so many British Records have been broken

Craig Lord

I think they didn’t want records etc, David – the intention was to play it down, not up… and make Rio the bigger moment void of big expectations (in that sense, job done in several events where it might not have been so)

David Ebanks

That sounds logical… Past years have shown great trials at Sheffield followed by slower times at the big comps.
The only downside is if those that don’t hit the qualifying times miss out. Let’s hope a full team is put out.

Kim Simonsen

Murdoch and Peaty out – irony of holding trials 🙂 It looks like a duel between Gyurta and Koch.

Craig Lord

Peaty didn’t want to be in it, Kim. There’ll be more on that when the team is announced. Trials also produce the USA and Australia and China and Japan… those countries that will lead the medals table in Rio… There are complex issues involved but much easier for the swimmer who needs to think of none of that – though history shows just how important a strong team around you come the hour is at the O Games…

Kim Simonsen

Gyurta do, however, have one advantage over his rivals from the above mentioned countries; he only has to peak one time this season, in Rio (he has skipped London) and not at trials in his home country – went 2:10 high in Györ this week.

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