A star-studded group is expected to take to pools in both Sheffield and Lausanne this weekend, as preparations for 2023’s major domestic meets intensify.
The British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Long Course Championships will play host to the best university talent from up and down the country between 24th and 26th February, whilst nine British World Class Programme athletes will make their way to Switzerland for their annual competition, which runs during the same period.
The former of the two events returns for its latest edition, following a successful outing for a number of British Swimming’s athletes at the short course edition late last year. The competition will be of immense value for Olympic swimmers and Paralympic swimmers alike, as the pool will also host the the 2023 Para Swimming World Series inc. British Para-Swimming Meet and 2023 British Swimming Championships in the coming months.
Athletes who will be taking to the pool in Sheffield include Olympic champion Duncan Scott, who returns to the event as a guest following his graduation from the University of Stirling. The 25-year-old will be competing in the 200m Freestyle, 200m Butterfly and 400m Individual Medley.
Also included among the British Swimming guest entries are Scott’s Stirling teammate and European champion Lucy Hope - who will be competing in the 100m, 200m and 400m Freestyle events - and Paralympic medallists Jessica-Jane Applegate (50m, 100 & 200m Freestyle), Ellie Challis (50m Backstroke, 50m Breaststroke and 100m Freestyle) and Tom Hamer (50m & 100m Freestyle).
There are also several elite athletes who are in action for their respective universities. European and Commonwealth medallist Katie Shanahan (Stirling) returns to action in the 200m & 400m Individual Medley and the 200m Backstroke, whilst Kathleen Dawson (Stirling) continues her comeback from an injury which ruled her out of competition last year – as she goes in the 50m & 100m Backstroke events.
European champion Laura Stephens is also in action, representing Loughborough University in the 100m & 200m Butterfly events, whilst World Championship distance swimmer Toby Robinson is also set to line up for the 800m & 1500m Freestyle.
Away from Sheffield, more British international athletes are on the entry list for the 2023 edition of the Lausanne Cup in Switzerland.
Having come back from a warm-weather training camp on the Gold Coast, the Loughborough Performance Centre team have sent across eight athletes for the competition, including Olympic champions Adam Peaty and Anna Hopkin, whilst Paralympic medallist Stephen Clegg is also on the entry list.
Peaty is set to swim the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke events, alongside teammate James Wilby. The pair will be planning to use the competition as a stepping stone as they look towards the British Swimming Championships in six weeks’ time, which will be the main selection meet for the World Aquatics Championships in the summer.
Hopkin is in action in the 50m and 100m Freestyle events, following her bronze medal in the former at the 2022 World Short Course Championships in Melbourne just shy of three months ago, whilst Luke Greenbank returns to action following a summer which saw him take 200m Backstroke silver at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships, as he goes in the 100m and 200m Backstroke. Isabella Hindley, Joe Litchfield, Jacob Whittle and Abbie Wood complete the Loughborough cohort heading to the continent.
Clegg’s appearances in the 50m & 100m Freestyle will prove valuable to the athlete ahead of the Citi Para Swimming World Series Inc.British Para Swimming Meet 2023, which will serve as the selection meet for a home Para Swimming World Championships in Manchester later this year, with the Lausanne-based competition set to provide good racing and experience as the start of trials season draws closer.