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The Future Of British Swimming in RIO 2016 and Beyond

Many of us were shocked when UK Sport announced that they’d be investigating Team GB Swimming after a disappointing medal display in London 2012. We were more shocked when we heard of potential budget cuts to the sport based on the medal target set for the Olympics of 5-7. UK Sport released its budget plan last week and British swimming was hit hard with an overall 14% reduction resulting in a £4m drop in funding. British Swimming CEO, David Sparkes said: “Overall we are satisfied with the outcome. While disappointed with the award for swimming, we recognize we need to rebuild confidence that we can deliver medals at Olympic level consistently before we can demand more investment”. He went on to say that there was a need for cultural change going forward and that this would be built around a “no compromise approach underpinned by performance management and strong effective leadership” It could be argued that the investigation was inconclusive with Becky Adlington slating the process, calling it “an absolute mess” after the independent panel failed to take in to account the views of Team GB top swimmers, including Adlington. The investigation was finished prematurely as it didn’t even await the results of the world short course championships before making its final judgment. It just so happens that Team GB performed exceptionally well, finishing with 5 medals with Jemma Lowe, Fran Halsall and Hannah Miley amongst the medal winners. Speaking on her personal website, Adlington highlights the positives of the games and urged the investigating body to take them into consideration. They are:  
  • GB had the highest number of finalists ever at an Olympic Games
  • Half of GB’s finalists finished in the top five
  • GB was one of only three nations to place teams in five of the six relay finals
  • GB was one of only two nations to place swimmers in the top five of both Open Water events
  • Aside from the three medals won, there were 20 fourth to eight placed finished