Rio Olympics 2016: Adam Peaty leads GB medal hopes as 26-strong swimming squad named for Games

Rio Olympics 2016: Adam Peaty leads GB medal hopes as 26-strong swimming squad named for Games
Adam Peaty is GB's big gold medal hope Credit: GETTY IMAGES

World champions Adam Peaty and James Guy will lead the British medal charge in Rio after Bill Furniss, the Team GB head coach, unveiled a 26-strong swimming squad for the Olympics.

Guy and Peaty, who will make their Olympic debuts, were already assured of their places having swum under the nomination standard at the British Swimming Championships in Glasgow along with six other swimmers last week. A further 15 swimmers, including World Championship bronze medallist Ross Murdoch, were selected having achieved a time within 2 per cent of the benchmark time. 

Those target times, many of which involved breaking British records, were set with Rio in mind. After the disappointment of London 2012 when the host nation won one silver and two bronze medals, British swimming has rebounded strongly with record medal hauls at the 2014 European Championships and then the 2015 World Championships.

That has brought increased expectations. Yet while Furniss refused to make public his medal target, he is adamant that everyone selected should be capable of challenging for a place on the podium. 

“We don’t talk about medals, we talk about delivering season-best performances or even lifetime bests when it counts on the day,” Furniss said. “If you do that and we can get a high percentage of our team doing that then the medals will come. Every athlete on this team, if they get it right, is within two per cent of getting on to the podium right now.

“The trials are the first step on the ladder. In the past we have had very good trials and then struggled on the day when it counts. This time we have been pleased with our trials but our focus is very much on Rio.”

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and Jazz Carlin, who won individual medals at the World Championships in the 200 metres individual medley and 800 metres freestyle respectively, also qualified automatically. Robbie Renwick and Hannah Miley will be competing in their third Olympics while Georgia Coates is the youngest member of the squad at 17.

Furniss, together with Chris Spice, the swimming Team Leader for Rio, were entitled to take up to 30 swimmers, but aside from three discretionary picks to bolster their options in the relay, they chose to bring a streamlined squad to Rio. Certainly there was no room for sentiment with veterans Liam Tancock and Elizabeth Simmonds among those to miss out.

“Bill and I took charge in 2013 when the team picked itself and we had a lot of people there making up the numbers,” Spice said. “We agreed that we were never going to do that again. If anyone makes the team when we are in charge they are going to deserve it. We have been true to our word.”

British Swimming Squad for Rio 

James Guy, Adam Peaty, Max Litchfield, Jazz Carlin, Siobhan-Marie O'Connor, Andrew Willis, Hannah Miley, Ben Proud, Chloe Tutton, Ross Murdoch, Stephen Milne, Robbie Renwick, Duncan Scott, Craig Benson, Fran Halsall, Molly Renshaw, Chris Walker-Hebborn, Tim Shuttleworth, Aimee Willmott, Eleanor Faulkner, Georgia Coates, Camilla Hattersley, Georgia Davies, Cameron Kurle, Ieuan Lloyd, Daniel Wallace.