It hardly seems two and a half years since the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but already the next Olympiad is just 500 days away.
The Tokyo Games have been eagerly anticipated ever since they were awarded to the Japanese capital back in 2013, and now five and a half years later both the organising committee and the world’s athletes are honing their final preparations.
At the Rio Olympic Games our aquatics stars provided a number of highlights for Team GB, as Adam Peaty became the first Brit to win a gold medal, Jazz Carlin became the first Brit to win two medals at the Games and we finished second and sixth on the medal tables for diving and swimming respectively.
A number of key milestones lie ahead for our aquatics athletes, starting with our swimmers who in just a few weeks’ time will converge in Glasgow for the British Swimming Championships, with selection for this summer’s FINA World Aquatics Championships, another stepping stone on the journey to the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, up for grabs.
A senior international outing will be served up on home soil at the backend of the year, as the 20th edition of the LEN European Short Course Championships takes place in Glasgow from 4-8 December.
Our swimmers then head into the home straight with the 2020 British Championships acting as the qualification meet for the Games, whilst the team will be using the European Championships in May as a final warm-up for the big show.
Our divers are now two legs into the 2019 FINA World Series, which culminates in London this May. The series will act as a great test up against some of the world’s top talent. As with the swimmers, the 2019 season will culminate in Gwangju, South Korea at the World Championships, where the likes of Tom Daley will be hoping to defend his title in the Men’s Platform event.
2020 will see another whistle stop tour on the World Series circuit before we send a team of divers to the FINA Diving World Cup, which rather fittingly will be held in the Japanese capital, to qualify any remaining spots for the Olympic Games. Selection is also up for grabs at the World Championships this summer.
Great Britain’s Artistic Swimming duet are also looking to head east in 500 days. After the awarding of Aspiration Funding from UK Sport, the programme is on target to form part of the Team GB delegation that will compete in Tokyo.
The road to Games for the Duet involves three qualification events, the first of which is the LEN Cup to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, from the 10-12 May. The next stop will be to join up with the swimmers and divers in Gwangju for the World Championships and the final chance to book a place at the Games will be the ‘Olympic Qualification event’ in late April next year.
For now, the hard work must continue, but we wish everyone in the aquatics world good luck over the next 18 months on the trail to Tokyo.
Click here to view the detailed aquatics competition schedule for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.