LONDON, April 20. BRITISH Swimming has unveiled a squad of 46 athletes who will go head-to-head with the rest of Europe at the European Swimming Championships in Budapest this summer. Commonwealth champions such as Caitlin McClatchey, Becky Cooke, Chris Cooke, David Carry, Liam Tancock and Ross Davenport will headline the strongest team Britain has sent to a long-course European Championships in years.
For the vast majority of those selected it offers another opportunity of a major international long course meet for the year following a very successful Commonwealth Games where swimmers from the British nations accrued a combined medal haul of 36. British Swimming National Performance Director Bill Sweetenham is excited about the unique prospect of facing another international challenge this season and the benefits he believes it will bring.
"This is a great opportunity for our swimmers. To be able to contest a European Championships and Commonwealth Games in the same year is a real bonus," said Sweetenham. "There is no doubt the European Championships will be a much stronger and more challenging meet but it provides us with a chance, once again, to develop both coaches and swimmers in a competition environment."
British Swimming will be taking the largest team possible to Budapest with an emphasis on strengthening the athlete/coach relationship.
"We will be offering all coaches the opportunity to attend Budapest to coach their own swimmer all the way through the process. They will be in charge of their athlete's preparation from the trials until the championships," explained Sweetenham. "This usually doesn't happen because of restrictions on numbers but due to the size of the team, and the allowance of four entries per nation, per event, it enables us to select a sizeable coaching group to work with the athletes."
Sweetenham sees the opportunity for nations to send a maximum of four athletes per event as having a massive knock-on effect in regard to the standard of the meet.
"These recent changes are going to make this particular meet very tough. You're going to see swimmers from the same country having to race each other hard in the morning heats as only two are able to progress to the semi-final of an event," said Sweetenham. "This is going to push the standard on without a doubt and increases the challenge both swimmers and coaches will face. It will help us tremendously in our Olympic preparation. We have to make sure we swim fast in the morning heats and actually race each other, and Budapest will help us to work towards this strategy."
Sweetenham is confident the team selected will be able to continue the good work witnessed at the Commonwealth Games last month.
"There is no doubt the team is a very good team. It's a mixture of senior as well as younger, less experienced athletes but they're all podium focussed."
The European Championships take place in Budapest, Hungary from July 26 to August 6. Swimming will take place at the Alfred Hajos Swimming Complex.
Here is the British squad:
Name Club Current Coach
Amy Smith Loughborough Steve Bayley
Caitlin McClatchey Loughborough Ben Titley
Cassie Patten Plymouth Leander Jon Rudd
Elizabeth Simmonds Lincoln Vulcans Marc Spackman
Francesca Halsall Co Liverpool Colin Stripe
Hannah Miley Garioch Patrick Miley
Jessica Dickons Bo Stockton Graeme Antwhistle
Jessica Sylvester Nova Centurion Bill Furniss
Jo Jackson Derwentside Dave McNulty
Julia Beckett Loughborough Ben Titley
Kate Haywood Loughborough Ben Titley
Katherine Wyld Nova Centurion Bill Furniss
Katy Sexton Portsmouth Northsea Chris Nesbit
Keri-Anne Payne Stockport Metro Sean Kelly
Kerry Buchan South Aberdeenshire Gary Paterson
Kirsty Balfour Co Edinburgh Fred Vergnoux
Mel Marshall Loughborough Ben Titley
Rebecca Adlington Nova Centurion Bill Furniss
Rebecca Cooke Co Glasgow Stephen Hill
Rebecca Shaw Loughborough Ian Armiger
Ros Brett Loughborough Ben Titley
Stephanie Proud Loughborough Kevin Renshaw
Terri Dunning Co Birmingham Adam Ruckwood
Andrew Hunter Stirling Swim Chris Martin
Chris Alderton Wear Valley Chris Nesbit
Chris Cook Co Newcastle Ian Oliver
Chris Cozens Loughborough Steve Bayley
Craig Houston Stirling Swim Chris Martin
Darren Mew Bath University Kim Swanwick
David Carry Co Aberdeen Ian Turner
David Davies Co Cardif Dave Haller
Euan Dale Loughborough Ian Turner
Gregor Tait Co Cardiff Dave Haller
James Gibson Loughborough Ben Titley
James Goddard Stockport Metro Sean Kelly
James Kirton Co Sheffield Russ Barber
Joe Roebuck Loughborough Ian Armiger
Kris Gilchrist Co Edinburgh Fred Vergnoux
Lewis Smith Warrender Ian Wright
Liam Tancock Loughborough Ben Titley
Matt Bowe Loughborough Ben Titley
Matt Clay Swansea Perf. Bill Pilczuk
Robbie Renwick Co Aberdeen Eileen Adams
Ross Davenport Loughborough Ian Turner
Simon Burnett Wycombe District Frank Busch/Bob Pay
Todd Cooper Stirling Swim Chris Martin