Peaty, Scott, Wilby And Greenbank Confirmed As First Four Swimmers On Team GB For Tokyo

Luke Greenbank and Adam Peaty cheer Duncan Scott home to medley relay gold with James Guy at the World Championships in Gwangju - Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott, Luke Greenbank and James Wilby have been confirmed as the first swimmers to be named to Team GB for the Tokyo Olympics.

The quartet earned their place on the team following their medal-winning performances in individual events at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju with British Swimming revising its selection policy for the postponed Games.

While the four were nominated to the team in December, Wednesday’s announcement confirmed their selection to the Games which are scheduled for July and August although the rise in coronavirus cases around the world has once more cast doubt on them taking place.

Pre-selection is the first of three qualification phases with further selections to be made following the British Championships which are scheduled for April and possible discretionary additions to be made in June 2021, making up the third and final phase.

(L-R) Second placed James Wilby of Great Britain, winner Adam Peaty of Great Britain and third placed Zibei Yan of China pose with their medals after competing in the men's 100m Breaststroke Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 22 July 2019.

James Wilby, left, Britain teammate Adam Peaty and Yan Zibei of China – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Peaty won the 50 and 100br in Gwangju – although the former is not on the Olympic programme – with Wilby second over two lengths as the pair claimed the first British one-two in worlds history.

If Peaty was to win the 100br, he would become the first British swimmer to successfully defend an Olympic title.

The world record-holder would also be only the second swimmer in history – after the great Kosuke Kitajima – to win the two-length event twice.

Greenbank and Scott won bronze in the 200m backstroke and 200 free respectively – the latter also standing up for his beliefs and principles by refusing to share the podium with Sun Yang.

It means coach Mel Marshall has two swimmers on the team in Peaty and Greenbank with Wilby guided by Dave Hemmings in the same National Centre Loughborough pool and Scott trained by Steven Tigg at the University of Stirling.

Peaty was the first member of Team GB to win gold at Rio 2016 when he stopped the clock at 57.13, then a world record which he subsequently eclipsed with the mark now standing at 56.88.

In a statement from Team GB, Peaty said:

“I’m very happy to make the Olympic team – it’s always a huge pride and honour to represent my country in what I do best.

“Hopefully over the next few months we can come together even more as a country, back the full Olympic team, and we can come back from Tokyo with a very successful performance behind us.

“There is a lot of work to do from now until then, but I’m very hopeful the Olympics will go ahead and it’ll see continued success for Team GB.”

Peaty and partner Eiri Munro became first-time parents in September when son George was born and following the announcement, the eight-time world champion posted on social media:

Scott made his Olympic debut in Rio aged 19 and was an integral part of the 4×100 medley and 4x200fr squads that both won silver.

The 23-year-old swam the second-fastest split in history when he overhauled Nathan Adrian in the final metres as Great Britain won the 4×1 medley in the final race in Gwangju – his time of 46.14 second only to Jason Lezak’s 46.06 in the 4x1oo free at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.


Duncan Scott; Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

The Glasgow-born athlete won six medals at the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast in 2018, which included gold in the 100m freestyle, 200 IM silver and four bronzes.

Scott said:

“It’s a real honour to be selected for my second Olympic Games.

“I loved every second of Rio; the way that the team swam but then also being a part of the bigger team and being part of Team GB, it was a great experience and one that I really wanted to have again.

“So I’m delighted to be selected, especially after the last year or so that we’ve had, with so many unknowns – it’s great to get this. I’m really excited and really looking forward to the year ahead.”

Wilby will make his Olympic debut in Tokyo, two years after claiming three medals in Gwangju.

That followed a sterling 2018 where he won four Commonwealth medals – including 200br gold and 100 silver – before double silver in the same events at the Europeans in Glasgow behind Anton Chupkov and Peaty as well as medley relay gold.

He said:

“Pre-selection is amazing. It’s really nice to be put on the team and have that certainty, with all the uncertainty that’s going on in the world at the moment.

“It’s really nice to be among that list of select athletes picked, but as I’m sure the others will be saying, it doesn’t mean the work can stop now – all it means is we’ve got ourselves on the plane, the job still has to be done.

“It’s always something I have aspired to and it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart being one of the select few who have been picked to represent Great Britain at the modern Olympic Games.”


Luke Greenbank: Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Greenbank makes up the quartet, the backstroke specialist’s selection a story of resilience and persistence in the face of fading form.

He accumulated an array of silverware from world and European Junior Championships as well as double gold at the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, with a then world junior record of 1:56.89 over 200m backstroke.

Greenbank left his native Cockermouth  in north-west England to join Marshall at City of Derby in 2016 but the transition from junior to senior waters was a treacherous one and it wasn’t until 2019 that he set a new PB.

The 23-year-old touched third behind Evgeny Rylov and Olympic champion Ryan Murphy in the 200 back in Gwangju and led off the victorious medley relay.

Greenbank said:

“To make the Olympic team means absolutely everything to me. It’s the pinnacle of our sport, and it’s something I’ve wanted since I started swimming at nine years old. I can’t wait to get out there and experience it first-hand.

“Obviously the last year or so has been quite different with regards to not being able to train or compete as much, so I think that’s something a lot of athletes are missing in their lives. So to have that opportunity to go out to the Olympics and race on the biggest stage of them all is absolutely amazing, and like I say, I just can’t wait to get out there.”

Team GB Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Mark England, commented:

“We are thrilled to confirm that Adam, Duncan, James and Luke have been selected to Team GB for the Tokyo Olympics and would like to congratulate them on this outstanding achievement. We hope that this confirmation provides clarity and focus for this hugely talented group of swimmers as they continue their preparation for the Olympic Games.

“The mix of Olympic debutants and Olympic medallists within this group is extremely exciting and we know that their performances will uplift and inspire the nation this summer.”

Chris Spice, British Swimming National Performance Director and Team GB Swimming Team Leader, added:

“I give my warmest congratulations to Adam, James, Duncan and Luke, who have all been selected to the Tokyo Olympic team as per our policy published a few weeks ago.

“These gentlemen are all outstanding athletes and great ambassadors for our sport.

“They were not only individual medallists from our most recent World Championships in Gwangju, but all returned home with relay gold medals as well.

“Their selections are richly deserved, and I know how the four of them will keep their heads down and work even harder now to be in the best possible shape for Tokyo.

“I am also fully aware that some of our Olympic hopeful’s training environments are compromised right now and I feel desperately sorry about that.

“We continue to work hard to ensure our current elite athlete group can train, but our thoughts are also with those who cannot access water at the moment – we are hoping that with the extension of the Olympic qualifying window we can, at least in part, alleviate some of their concerns.”

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