Sport Editor Lucy Parry reports on the swimming stars who upped their game at the Olympic trials


The Aquatics GB Olympic Trials took place last week and the headline for the University of Birmingham was Ollie Morgan’s outstanding achievements. His first event was the 100m backstroke. He qualified fastest for the final by going under 53 seconds for the first time. In the final, he led from start to finish and broke the 15-year-old British record with a time of 52.70 seconds. This time makes him a medal contender for the Olympics. It also helped the men’s medley relay team meet their qualifying time.

“You can’t really put it into words. If you asked me two years ago whether I’d be in this position, I’d have gone ‘there is no way’. But there’s not been a single blip in my training for that entire period, it’s been dedication every day, and it’s a credit to what we do at the University of Birmingham,” said Morgan afterwards.

This time makes him a medal contender for the Olympics

On the last day of the Trials, Morgan competed in the 200m backstroke. The final was a scintillating race between him and Luke Greenbank, the Olympic bronze medallist. Greenbank led at the 175m mark, but Morgan sprinted down the last 25m to win with his final stroke. He also achieved a qualifying time in this event, meaning he will compete in two individual events in Paris. 

Another notable performance came from Adam Peaty in the 100m breaststroke. The World Record Holder was returning after taking a year out from the sport in 2023 to focus on his mental health. After only winning the bronze medal at the World Championships earlier this year, there were a lot of doubts about whether Peaty would be a contender at the Olympics. But he put those doubts firmly to rest by winning the British title in the fastest time in the world this year, 57.94 seconds. This puts him in a great position to achieve his goal of joining Michael Phelps as the only swimmers to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the same event.

She then dominated the event that she is now the World Champion in, the 400m individual medley

Newly crowned World Champion Freya Colbert was impressive throughout the week. She started off winning the 200m freestyle in a qualifying time. She immediately said that she does not intend to swim this event individually; she competed in it to help the 4x200m relay team qualify, which they did. She then dominated the event that she is now the World Champion in, the 400m individual medley. She improved her personal best by over a second, making her a firm medal contender for Paris. In the 200m individual medley, she surprised herself by taking the second qualifying spot behind her teammate and friend Abbie Wood.

The most anticipated event of the week was the men’s 200m freestyle, and it did not disappoint. It included 2015 World Champion James Guy, Commonwealth Champion and Olympic silver medallist Duncan Scott, Olympic Champion Tom Dean and 2023 World Champion Matthew Richards, and there were only two spots to go between them. Guy took the pace out hard, but Richards and Scott were stronger in the last 50m. It was very close at the end with Richards edging out Scott by only six hundredths of a second. They will both be favourites for the medals in the Olympics. The four of them will reunite to defend their 4x200m freestyle relay Olympic title with their eyes firmly on the World Record, which they have come agonisingly close to on two occasions.

Swimming was the most successful sport for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics, and the team will hope to improve on their haul of eight medals in Paris. 

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