Molly Renshaw Sets Her Sights High Ahead Of Tokyo 2020 And Beyond

Molly Renshaw
Molly Renshaw: Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

It is easy to forget that double European 200m breaststroke medallist Molly Renshaw is still only 23 given she has been part of the Great Britain senior squad for nigh on nine years.

Renshaw was 15 when she made her senior international debut at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai where she finished 20th in the 200m breaststroke, just 0.47secs off a semi-final place.

Since then she has claimed a total of six Commonwealth and European medals – including 4×100 medley relay gold at the 2016 Europeans in London – and became world short-course champion the same year.

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Renshaw was also sixth at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she set a then British record of 2:22.23 in the semis, a time that would have been good enough for bronze in a race won by Rie Kaneto of Japan.This year Renshaw will attempt to qualify for her second Olympics in the 100 and 200m at the British trials in London in April and she believes there is so much more she can yet attain.

She told BBC Sport:

“I have had a good career but I still haven’t achieved what I want to.

“And I don’t think I am nearing the end of my career where I won’t get any better.

“This year I am giving everything I can and can then re-evaluate.”

Renshaw trains under Dave Hemmings at Loughborough alongside world 100m breaststroke silver medallist James Wilby and Siobhan O’Connor, who finished second in the 200IM in Rio.

Eyes on Tokyo come July, she adds:

“At 23, every race is still a learning curve.

“My target this season is to make my first 150 metres the fastest ever. I know the final 50 will really hurt but I have to put myself out there.”

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As she sets her sights on the Games, Renshaw recalls the pain of missing out on a home Olympics in London eight years ago.

Renshaw made the 200m breaststroke qualifying time at the first Olympic trials in 2012 but placed second with only the winner guaranteed selection.

She won the second trials in Sheffield, northern England, but was outside the qualification time by 0.83secs meaning she missed the cut for the Games.

An appeal to British Swimming was unsuccessful and rather than competing at the Aquatics Centre, the then 16-year-old headed to the European Junior Championships in Antwerp, Belgium where she won the 200m title.

“I remember going to London on the train with my dad at 15 and sitting in this boardroom with all the big people in British Swimming who I’d only met once or twice.

“For them to just turn around and say ‘no’ again was another kick in the teeth.”

She adds: It was a double blow, and after that I did struggle mentally getting back in the pool.”

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