Monday 18 November 2019

British swimmers fell short admits performance chief

Rebecca Adlington
Rebecca Adlington

Liz Byrnes and Paul Hirst

NATIONAL performance director Michael Scott admitted Britain's performance in the pool had fallen below expectations as the swimming programme came to an end tonight at the Aquatics Centre.

Two bronze medals from Rebecca Adlington and a silver from Michael Jamieson were all the host nation had to show at the end of the meet as they fell short of their medal target.

Six medals were claimed in Beijing - three in the pool and three in the open water - but the most they can win in London is five with just Keri-anne Payne and Daniel Fogg competing here in the Serpentine.

Coming into the Games confidence had been high that Britain could make an impact at the Aquatics Centre but that has not been the case with a number of near misses including fourth places for Lizzie Simmonds in the 200m backstroke and the men's medley relay.

Ellen Gandy and Hannah Miley both claimed silver medals at last year's World Championships in the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley respectively and while the latter came fifth in London, Gandy failed to negotiate the heats and a projected medal contender was gone.

While satisfied with the number of finalists, Scott recognises the poor conversion rate of getting people on to the podium.

He said: "There has been a lot of unexpected results in this meet: world record holders not making heats, Michael Phelps not making the podium.

"It has been a very fast meet and we have had a good meet but to get on the podium here you have to be great.

"We have had more finalists here than ever before at an Olympics.

"We have had two fourths, five fifths but we haven't been able to convert those final positions into medals. So that is something that we have to focus on going forward.

"I'm very proud of the way the swimmers kept on fighting and never gave up until the last race.

"But at the end of the day we are judged on medals. We have three medals in the pool - which matches Beijing but it is below what we expected."

As for funding ramifications, Scott revealed UK Sport would make a decision in December based on performance in London, where the target was five to seven medals, and medal potential at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

He added: "We are still in the mix to get our base target. So theoretically the door is still open.

"Keri-anne Payne is an Olympic silver medallist and world champion and obviously a medal contender while Daniel Fogg is the second quickest 1500m swimmer in the open water. I'm always an optimist and I'll be that until the door is closed.

"Having said that, I'd have liked to achieved more podium performances, definitely."

PA Media

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