Swimming Olympic Selection Policy revealed

16 Dec 2020

British Swimming is pleased that it is now able to publish its selection policy for the swimming and marathon events at the revised Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

With the Games now scheduled for 23rd July to 8th August 2021, and after a year of disruption, a new policy has been established that will act as the final policy for selection.

As with every Olympiad, British Swimming will nominate a team to the British Olympic Association (BOA) to represent Team GB at the Olympic Games. The policy, which can be seen in full below, aims to optimise medal count in both individual and relay events at the Games.

As unveiled earlier this month, the 2021 British Swimming Championships will take place at the London Aquatics Centre between 13th-18th April, and this event will act as the main selection meet for Tokyo, the second of a three-part selection policy. Selection for the marathon swimming events remains largely unchanged, whilst the criteria for European Championship selectio will follow imminently. 

The policy has been developed during and in response to a pandemic that has presented some significant challenges for the swimming community in providing both preparation and competition opportunities. This has forced and necessitated a move away from our usual World Championship and Olympic Games selection process in these exceptional times, so as to ensure that the policy remains effective in optimising medal outcomes and is as fair as possible for athletes to achieve a nomination to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

On the policy, National Performance Director, Chris Spice, said:

“The pandemic in 2020 has brought us challenges never seen before in an Olympic year. First and foremost, the health and wellbeing of all participants – athletes, staff, officials and the general swimming public – remains our key priority as we move forward into the New Year. After careful deliberation and consultation with our key stakeholders, and in conjunction with our partners at the British Olympic Association, we are now able to publish our selection policy for the Tokyo Olympic Games.  Limited competition opportunities in the last 12 months and the ongoing uncertainty around preparation for the April 2021 British Championships means we have had to adjust our usual framework for selection of our Tokyo Olympic team.

“We apologise for its lateness but we felt we needed to wait until December so that we would not have to publish any amendments due to any further uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. The view of the Performance Leadership Group (PLG) was to publish once to provide as much certainty as possible for all athletes, coaches and support staff and all those that are involved in the preparations for the 2021 British Championships, which inevitably meant that we had to wait longer than usual to publish this policy.

“This has not been an easy task, however we have tried to give some certainty to a small number of high-level athletes in the event of even more national lockdowns, whilst at the same time keeping the British Championships as our main focus for our Tokyo Olympic selection. Coupled with these is also a recognition that many athletes have had, and are still having, interruptions to their training schedules. As a result we have extended the ‘selection window’ beyond the usual time of April as it is hoped more certainty will come to training environments as the months progress next year. In addition, we have also extended our usual ‘maximum’ team size to potentially accommodate more athletes.

“We thank the British swimming community for their patience and look forward to seeing you all in April at the 2021 British Championships in the iconic London Aquatics Centre. Our performance and events team are working around the clock to ensure it’s as safe as possible, and that it remains a great event whatever the circumstances.”

The full policy can be found here.

In addition to the Olympic and European Championship policies, we endeavour to release our European Junior and World Junior Open Water Championships in the coming weeks. However at the time of writing we are unable to publish selection policies for the European and World Junior Championships, the European Open Water Championships or the World University Games as we are still awaiting further information, which includes dates and venues.

In addition, our Tokyo Paralympic selection policy will be published tomorrow (Thursday 17th December).