Adam Peaty & Tom Dean Among 10 On England Commonwealth Team; Mel Marshall Named Head Coach

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Adam Peaty: Photo Courtesy: Swim England

Olympic champions Adam Peaty, Tom Dean and Anna Hopkin are among the first 10 swimmers to be selected to Team England for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July.

That follows their fellow Tokyo gold medallists Duncan Scott and Kathleen Dawson being named to Team Scotland last month.

Mel Marshall – who guided Peaty, Hopkin and Luke Greenbank to six medals in Tokyo – will be head coach of Team England.

 Greenbank – who won bronze in the 200 back and silver with the men’s medley relay – and James Wilby, who swam the breaststroke leg in the medley heats, are also included.

Max Litchfield, Abbie Wood, Ben Proud, Molly Renshaw and Alicia Wilson – who all reached individual finals in Tokyo – complete the first wave of selections.

Peaty became the first British swimmer to defend – or in his words attack – an Olympic title when he added the 100m breaststroke crown to the gold he won in Rio in 2016.

The eight-time world champion also won gold in the mixed medley relay as well as silver with the men’s quartet.

Jul 27, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Tom Dean (GBR) and Duncan Scott (GBR) celebrate with their medals during the medals ceremony for the men's 200m freestyle during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports; olympics

Photo Courtesy: Duncan Scott & Tom Dean, Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Dean headed an historic British one-two in the 200 free with Scott with whom he also won gold in the 4×200 relay.

Hopkin swam the anchor leg of the victorious mixed medley relay.

While Dean and Wilson will be gearing up for their Commonwealth debuts at the new, state-of-the-art Sandwell Aquatics come 28 July, the initial Team England selections can count 16 Commonwealth medals between them.

Peaty made his international debut at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where he won the 100 breaststroke and took silver behind Cameron van der Burgh in the 50.

The 16-time European champion has remained unbeaten over 100m ever since although it was Van der Burgh who again took the 50 at Gold Coast in 2018.

Peaty recalled:

“I remember one of the interviews at Gold Coast I said if I carry on like this I’m not going to win the Olympics.

“My body wasn’t in the right shape, my mind wasn’t in the right shape back then but I did fix that in 2019.

“I actually broke the (100) world record a few months later and I am glad we could fix that but no-one knew what covid was going to throw at us, did they?”

Jul 26, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Adam Peaty (GBR) celebrates after winning the men's 100m breaststroke final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

So too will he race the 200 breaststroke at the trials in Sheffield in April, saying:

“That’ll be an expedition race I guess – I have no idea what time I’ll do. I’ve not done a 200 rested since – I want to say 2016 (Olympic trials) – when I went out in a 59 and came back in a coffin.

“I don’t really want to go against Zac (Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook) who does a 2:06 – potentially a 2:05 – and me coming in on a 2:09 especially with a home crowd so I’ll see how it goes.”

The three-time Commonwealth champion grew up a little over 50 miles (80km) from Birmingham in the market town of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, in the English midlands.

He said:

“It’s always a privilege to be selected to represent my country and I’m so excited about a home Commonwealth Games, especially one that is so close to the area I grew up in.

“Having the home crowd in the stands supporting us gives me even more motivation to perform my best and inspire those people watching. I can’t wait to represent Team England again!”

Wood was fourth in the 200IM and seventh in the 200br in Tokyo and makes her second Commonwealth appearance after making finals in both IMs in 2018.

She said:

“Before, with the Gold Coast I was just very happy to be selected for the team. I am this time too, of course, but in 2022, I feel like I’m ready to race and get among all the racing, rather than just being there for the ride.

“I’m in the middle of it now, I’m in the mix and I want to perform as well as I can in front of a home crowd, in front of my parents, who haven’t seen me race since I have stepped it up.

“It’s been a couple of years – maybe the last major meet they saw me at was the Commies, so it’ll be nice for them to be a part of it and for me to show them how far I’ve come.”

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Adam Peaty, Mel Marshall and Luke Greenbank: Photo Courtesy: Mel Marshall

The England swimming team will be led at Birmingham 2022 by Marshall who said:

“To be leading out the CWG England Team at a home Commonwealth Games is an incredible privilege, particularly off the back of an incredibly challenging two years for the nation.

“While it’s been the NHS’s job to take care of health over these last few years, it’s sports job to take care of hope.

“I hope to support and illuminate the people I am lucky enough to work with to shine some light for the Nation in what promises to be a fantastic games. To those who have given me this opportunity I thank you and it’s my promise to do you, this nation and its people proud.”

Team England’s Chef de Mission, Mark England OBE, welcomed the athletes to the team:

“This is an exceptionally high calibre Swimming team to represent Team England at Birmingham this summer. Off the back of our first team announcement for Triathlon, we’re starting to build momentum towards Games time.

“It’s brilliant to announce such an experienced group of swimmers, with eight having competed at a Commonwealth Games before – and I look forward to the swimming team building in the coming months.”

It followed Team Scotland’s naming of Scott and Dawson to the team.

The former became Team GB’s most decorated Olympian at a single Games when he won one gold and three silver medals in the Japanese capital while Dawson swam the backstroke leg on the mixed medley relay.

Birmingham will bring a third Commonwealth Games appearance apiece for the University of Stirling duo, who train under Steve Tigg and Bradley Hay.

Speaking at the time of his Scottish selection, Scott – who claimed six medals on the Gold Coast four years ago – said:

“I am delighted to be selected for a third Commonwealth Games.

“We don’t get the chance to compete under the Scotland banner too often, and being part of the wider group at the last couple of Games has been great.

“It’s such a close-knit team and everyone knows each other – a lot of us have enjoyed success together in the past and shared those experiences.

“I’ve been really pleased with how this year has gone, and hopefully it will be another big one in 2022.”

DAWSON Kathleen GBR Great Britain WOMEN - 100M BACKSTROKE Swimming Budapest - Hungary 21/5/2021 Duna Arena XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Dawson added:

“It’s an honour to be part of Team Scotland again. I was very young going into Glasgow in 2014, and even the Gold Coast feels a long time ago now.

“I’ve had injuries to overcome since then and obviously Covid disrupted everyone, but I’m stronger now than ever and looking forward to the Games next year.

“The summer was incredible, more than I could have hoped for, but with the Commonwealths following straight after it’s a chance to build on that success in Birmingham.”

Selection for para-swimmers and the remaining swimmers to compete for England, Scotland and Wales will be announced closer to the summer’s Games.

 First 10 Team England swimmers selected:

Tom Dean

Luke Greenbank

Anna Hopkin

Max Litchfield

Adam Peaty

Ben Proud

Molly Renshaw

James Wilby

Alicia Wilson

Abbie Wood

First two Team Scotland swimmers selected (selections made December 2021):

Kathleen Dawson

Duncan Scott