Birmingham 2022: British Swimming stars return to international stage as Commonwealth Games continues busy summer of competition
Members of the British Swimming Performance Centre based at the University of Bath are ready for round two of a hectic summer of major championships as they go for gold at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
After racing at the World Championships in Budapest last month, Freya Anderson, Tom Dean, James Guy, Jacob Peters and Brodie Williams have been back in training in the 50m pool at the Team Bath Sports Training Village for the past four weeks ahead of representing Team England at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
After the Commonwealth meet concludes on Tuesday 2nd August, the quintet will then head to Italy for the European Aquatics Championships – their third international event in the space of 10 weeks.
The focus for now, though, is fully on the Commonwealth Games where they will be joined in the Team England squad by training partners Holly Hibbott, Ed Mildred and Sports Performance graduate Luke Turley. Lining up for Team Wales are Kieran Bird and Calum Jarvis.
University of Bath student Dean, supported by a Bill Whiteley Sports Scholarship, said: “What better pinnacle would it be to a home Games than bringing home a win for Team England in my backyard? Athletes don’t get many major competitions on home soil in their career and I’m really excited to be part of this one. It’s my first Commonwealth Games as well.”
He goes into the event as a double Olympic Champion and on the back of winning three bronze medals at the recent World Championships, making him one of the more high-profile members of the overall Team England squad, but Dean doesn’t feel fazed by the added attention.
“It’s an added dimension to my daily schedule that I’ve had to deal with over the past 12 months but I’ve loved every minute of it,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed the post-Olympics opportunities – the people I’ve got to work with, the commercial partnerships I’ve done, the chance to do more public speaking and share my journey.”
“It would be nice to win individual medals this time,” said the freestyle specialist. “My events are really stacked at the Commonwealths so it will be quite a task but my training has been going really well and it will be good to see what I can put down.”
Also targeting the podium in Birmingham is Williams, who narrowly missed out on a medal at the World Championships after twice smashing his 200m backstroke personal best on the way to finishing fourth in his first global final.
“I got in the Olympic team last year in a bit of an unexpected way in the 400m individual medley,” he said. “This year I am using that experience of going to a major meet to push on. There wasn’t a crowd in Tokyo but it was still an unbelievable atmosphere and it felt like a big stage.
“I made an Olympic semi-final which I was really proud of so now it’s about finals and getting amongst the medals.”
Housemate Peters has also been building on his Olympic debut by setting new personal milestones this summer, his time of 51.50 at the World Championships being a new 100m butterfly lifetime best. He was also part of the men’s 4x100m medley relay team that won bronze, along with Dean and Guy, and is hoping to add to his medal collection at Birmingham 2022.
“Winning a medal at a home Commonwealth Games would be outstanding, especially as the Commonwealths is where it all really started for me,” he said. “My first senior competition was Gold Coast 2018 as a 17-year-old boy. I’m going back four years later as a 21-year-old man and I feel like I really stand a chance of getting a medal this time.”
The Commonwealth swimming meet gets under way on Friday morning and Bath-based swimmers will be involved in every session right through to the last race – the mixed medley relay – on the night of Tuesday 2nd.
Visit teambath.com/Birmingham-2022 to see a full timetable of who is racing and when, and teambath.com/swimming to find out more about the swimming programme at the University of Bath.