By guest writer Julia Wilkinson-Minks (2008 & 2012 Canadian Olympian)
SHEFFIELD, Great Britain, June 27. THE Americans are not the only swimmers posting some very fast times in the pool this week: the British are cracking into the top 10 in the world in multiple events en route to qualifying for World Championships in Barcelona. But even with some very fast swims across the pond in Sheffield today, a few familiar faces will not be swimming their premier events in Barcelona this summer.
The British are being held to an even faster time standard than the Fina A cut, and that time standard can be found here.
These very fast qualification standards were no problem for the distance freestylers: Jazmin Carlin propelled herself into first place in the world, ahead of US Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, in a sizzling 8:18.58. Eleanor Faulker was second in 8:25.36, which earned her selection to the World Championships team as well.
In the men's 800-meter freestyle, Daniel Fogg set a new English record in 7:51.60, second place went to Jack Burnell in 7:58.29. Both men were under the standard of 7:59.06.
In the women's 200-meter butterfly, Jemma Lowe won in 2:09.25, but the two-time Olympian missed the rich standard of 2:09.16. Lowe was 2:08.75 in the semi-finals yesterday.
Another Olympian failed to qualify in the next event: the 100-meter backstroke. Liam Tancock took second place behind Chris Walker-Hebborn. Walker-Hebborn stormed his way to a personal best and fourth-fastest time in the world of 53.38, Tancock finished in 54.11. Although this is under the Fina A standard of 54.43, it narrowly misses the 53.98 set by British Swimming.
Elizabeth Simmonds won a very close battle in the 200-meter backstroke, finishing in 2:10.08, just out touching Lauren Quigley. Simmonds, who placed fourth at the London Olympic Games last summer, will not be swimming her premier event at the World Championships in Barcelona. The qualification standard was 2:09.71; Simmonds will have another chance to qualify in the 100-meter backstroke.
The streak of disappointment was broken in the women's 100-meter breaststroke: Sophie Allen was victorious in 1:07.70, sneaking under the qualification standard of 1:07.91.
The disappointment returned full force in a heartbreaking men's 200-meter butterfly. Joseph Roebuck took gold in 1:56.49, missing the qualification standard of 1:56.48 by only one one-hundredth of a second.
In the women's 400-meter IM, Olympic finalist and 2011 world championship silver medalist Hannah Miley led from start to finish, touching the wall in 4:35.67. This time is just shy of her top world ranking of 4:34.21. Miley will be joined in Barcelona by Aimee Willmott who also finished under the qualification time in 4:38.95.
In semi-final action, Olympic silver medalist Michael Jamieson will lead the 200-meter breaststroke final, qualifying in 2:11.30. In the women's 200-meter freestyle semi-finals, Rebecca Turner posted the fastest time of 1:59.08. Hannah Miley, who had just barely finished winning the 400-meter IM, qualified 6th for tomorrow night's final with a 2:00.51.
In the men's 200-meter freestyle semi-final, British record holder and two-time Olympic finalist Robert Renwick posted the fastest time of 1:47.76 and will swim in lane four in tomorrow night's final. It took 1:49.04 to qualify for the final.
The Paralympic athletes were back in action as well this evening. In the women's multiclass 400-meter freestyle, Hannah Russell won her second gold medal of the meet in 4:40.89. On the men's side, a close race between 100-freestyle champion Josef Craig and 100-backstroke world record holder Jonathon Fox came down to two fast swims, both earning over 1,000 points. Craig was victorious in 4:41.13, Fox finished close behind in 4:42.54.
In the women's multiclass 200-meter freestyle, Jessica Jane Applegate dominated the field, winning in 2:11.47. On the men's side, Benjamin Procter took gold in 2:01.55.
In the women's multiclass 100-meter butterfly, Amy Marren took first in 1:11.10; on the men's side, James Clegg took the gold medal and flirted with 59 seconds in 1:00.13.
Tonight we saw a full spectrum of performances: top-ranked times in the world and Olympians being left off their national team. Several world-class athletes did not qualify this evening because of this more rigorous standard: so why choose to make it even harder to make the team? Perhaps, in light of it being the year after the Olympics, this was meant to be a motivator for athletes. All I can say is, I would be very frustrated if I won my race under the Fina A standard but my name was not on the World Championships Team roster.
Julia Wilkinson-Minks is a two-time Olympian for Canada and was a finalist in the 200-meter IM at the 2008 Beijing Games. In 2010, she became Texas A&M's first ever NCAA champion in swimming when she won the 100-yard freestyle. She graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Speech Communication. Julia retired from competitive swimming following the London Olympic Games and now lives in Texas with her husband Shane.
Follow her on twitter @juliah2o