Elite swimming competition will return to Britain for the first time in nearly a year when the Manchester International Swim Meet gets underway tomorrow.
The event - which is running from Friday to Sunday (12th-14th February) at the Manchester Aquatics Centre - will act as a key racing experience for athletes looking to qualify for this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games, as many of Britain's top competitors across the strokes are set to be involved. Only those athletes on the government-approved Elite Athlete Return to Training lists are permitted to compete, with the competition run under the corresponding DCMS guidelines.
Adam Peaty, Luke Greenbank and James Wilby are all in line to dive into action following their official inclusion on the Tokyo team last month, while a host of medallists from the 2019 World Para-Swimming Championships - including Maisie Summers-Newton, Jordan Catchpole and Hannah Russell - are also among those scheduled to line up on the blocks.
No fewer than 53 finals are due to be contested over the three-day period. Day one's highlights are anticipated to include Peaty's competitive return to home waters in the Men's 100m Breaststroke and an eye-catching field in the Women's MC 400m Freestyle, which may feature Summers-Newton, Zara Mullooly and five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds.
On day two, the Men's 200m Butterfly could be one to watch if James Guy, Max Litchfield and British junior record holder Ed Mildred all face off, while the Women's 100m Freestyle showpiece is among the final races of the weekend and could throw up a stunning contest between Freya Anderson and Anna Hopkin.
Morning heats start at 9.30am on each day, with the finals getting underway from 5.30pm - and every minute is available via livestream through the British Swimming YouTube channel.
The event will be run under strict COVID protocols throughout, thanks to rigorous pre-meet collaboration between partners including British Swimming, Manchester City Council, GLL and the City of Manchester Swim Team (COMAST).
Given the unique circumstances, every athlete, coach, staff member and volunteer involved appreciates the privilege of being able to attend this competitive environment and be back on deck, with the hope that the next few days will prove a crucial step towards some memorable moments in the pool in Tokyo later this year.
Head over to the British Swimming YouTube channel to find the live stream videos for every session from the Manchester International Swim Meet - and follow our social media channels for regular updates too