British Swimming Championships return to London

24 Nov 2020

British Swimming is delighted to announce that its flagship domestic event, the British Swimming Championships, will be held in London in 2021.

Due to take place at the iconic London Aquatics Centre at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2020, the event will make London its home some 12 months later than originally planned, and is now scheduled for 14-18 April 2021.

With the Olympic Games postponed by 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 British Swimming Championships will feature highly in the qualification process for the Tokyo Games. As in previous years, the meet is also envisaged to help select teams for the remaining 2021 summer international meets, both senior and junior.

British Swimming shares the concerns of the whole aquatics community during the current lockdowns and we are aware of the pressure on swimmers, coaches and clubs across the UK. As an organisation we are very sensitive to the frustrations the community is feeling alongside the challenges of being out of the water for so long. At the same time, we all thrive on competition and believe it is important to give our swimmers the opportunity now to focus their attentions on competing in our premier event in such an iconic location.

The 2021 Championships will see an upgraded format designed to be more inclusive and allow more athletes, both junior and senior, the opportunity to compete. We will be introducing a second session of heats each day, ensuring the total number of swims will be significantly greater than in previous editions. Qualifying times will be pitched accordingly and the ‘window’ during which these times need to be achieved backdated significantly to 1st March 2019. Further information on the entry standards and wider meet conditions will be published in December.

The last edition of these Championships, held in Glasgow in 2019, saw an array of standout performances, from Duncan Scott’s triple and Adam Peaty’s double, to the likes of Freya Anderson and Luke Greenbank really making their marks on senior swimming, before success at the World Championships in Gwangju later in the year.

BSC 2019 selection
Scott, Greenbank, Anderson and Peaty all produced standout performances in 2019's edition.

Commenting on the announcement, British Swimming’s Chief Executive, Jack Buckner, said:

“We are delighted to make this announcement today and give the aquatics community a major event to look forward to. Whilst we, as a country, still have a long way to go to beat the pandemic, we have to be optimistic that by April we can return to sport as we know it.

“Over the years this event has put on quite the spectacle, and bringing the event to London, as we planned to do in April 2020, will only add to the sense of occasion and excitement. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our partners in the capital for supporting our plans.”

Performance Director, Chris Spice, said:

“After more than six months of disruption, it is vital that we give our athletes something to focus on, and what could be better than a British Championships in London. Our elite swimmers are back working hard at our designated training centres across the UK and we’re keeping everything crossed that club programmes will be able to have some consistency leading into these Championships. We also fully understand the difficulties of qualification for these Championships and along with our Home National colleagues, and with GLL and LLDC, our partners in London, we are working hard to be as inclusive as possible given the ongoing disruption to club training environments.

“Whilst this is good news for the sport, we must remain vigilant and follow the government guidelines that are in place. If we can do that, as a country and as a sporting sector, then I’m confident we can witness a fantastic celebration of swimming in April.”

Lyn Garner, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, added:

“We are very excited to be hosting the 2021 British Swimming Championships and that champions of British Swimming will be returning to the London Aquatics Centre and London in this all-important year.”

Further details of the championships will be available in due course.