Swimmer Profile – Georgia Davies

When she lines up on the blocks at the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships, Georgia Davies will have come full circle.

That’s quite a statement for an athlete who has competed at every level of the sport, stretching to two Olympic Games and no fewer than ten gongs at European level.

But her first medal wearing the Great Britain cap came at the 2011 edition of the European Short Course Championships, held in the Polish city of Szczecin.

The backstroke specialist made her international debut the year before as part of the Welsh team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, bringing home 50m bronze.

The switch from one length to two and a GB debut suited Davies down to the ground, coming out on top in a breakneck dash for 50m back silver, touching 0.1 ahead of third and 0.4 ahead of fourth.

It was all sweeter as she’d missed out on the podium by a whisker in the 100m back on the previous evening, 0.23 shy of the bronze medal position.

It was all vital experience for Davies, who had a busy week in Poland with 200m and relay responsibilities to juggle.

“I swam five times on the day I won silver – it was tough to get up for it mentally and psych myself up,” she said at the time.

“I was really disappointed with the 100. I thought I was capable of going faster and I felt a bit down on the morning, but my teammates picked me up and I was delighted to get the medal.”

Davies harnessed every iota of the experience the Short Course Championships gave her in terms of dealing with tight turnarounds and going through the rounds in a high-stakes competition.

There was no bigger stage than London 2012 and seven months later Davies was on the start line at the Aquatics Centre, finishing sixth in her 100m backstroke heat and exiting in the semi-finals.

She enjoyed a successful Rio Olympic cycle and a scintillating 2014, becoming a Commonwealth champion and winning three medals at the 2014 European Long Course Championships.

But she had to wait until 2018 for her first individual title, claiming 50m backstroke glory in Glasgow at the European Championships.

Can she continue her love affair with the iconic Scottish city in December?

Social handles

Twitter – @Ge0rgiaDavies90

Instagram – Georgiabdavies

Short course personal bests

50m backstroke – 26.24 (2015, British record)

100m backstroke – 56.45 (2016)

Fun Fact

Georgia is part of the Energy Standard franchise in the ISL and now based in Antalya, Turkey.

Swimmer Profile – Freya Anderson

A multiple European long course champion before the age of 18, Scouse sensation Freya Anderson’s inexorable rise shows no signs of slowing ahead of the LEN European Short Course Championships.

And it was at Tollcross, where the continent’s finest will gather in December, where the freestyle racer burst onto the scene with four medals at the 2018 European Championships.

The Liverpudlian dived into the pool kicking and screaming as a kid, dreading swimming lessons before moving to boarding school Ellesmere College, where everything changed.

Her prodigious talent was first recognised in 2016, named British Swimming’s Emerging Swimmer of the Year and crowned European junior champion.

Anderson burst into the limelight in becoming world junior and national champion in the 100m freestyle in 2017, a bittersweet season in which she suffered a serious spine injury.

But it was 2018 when she imposed herself on the international stage as a senior athlete, scooping double bronze at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Then came Glasgow, where she anchored Great Britain to 4×100 mixed medley gold alongside Olympic and European short course champion Adam Peaty.

She also reached the rostrum in Scotland with the 4×200 freestyle squad and bronzes in the 4×100 medley and mixed 4×200 freestyle.

Anderson will play a key role in Britain’s medal hopes in the relay events, but is an outstanding individual performer in her own right.

She narrowly missed out on an individual European medal in 2018 and underlined her Championship credentials with a personal best and an eighth-placed finish at this summer’s World Championships.

Her short course record is slender thus far – although she stunned in December when she scooped four gold medals at the Scottish Short Course Championships in Edinburgh.

Having been named in the squad but failing to start at the last edition of the LEN European Short Course Championships, held in 2017 in Copenhagen, she’ll be keen to make an impact.

But given the runaway success that is Anderson’s career so far, Glasgow crowds can expect to see Anderson light up Tollcross from December 4-8.

Follow Freya on Social

Twitter – @freyaandersonn

Instagram – freyaanderson_

Short course personal bests

50m freestyle – 24.75 (2018)

100m freestyle – 52.92 (2018)

200m freestyle – 1:54.59 (2018)

50m butterfly – 26.63 (2017)

Fun Fact

Freya has A-Levels in art and geography.

Greenbank hopes LEN European Short Course Championships will propel him towards the Olympic stage

EXCITEMENT is intensifying in the build-up to the LEN European Short Course Championships and few understand the beauty of the format more than British backstroke star Luke Greenbank.

Greenbank catapulted himself into British swimming folklore this summer by being part of the quartet that won gold in the 4x100m medley in the World Championships, racing the first leg to lay the foundations for their triumph.

The Crewe-born swimmer also won an individual bronze at the championships in Gwangju, achieving a personal best time of 1:55.85 in the 200m backstroke to surpass even his own expectations.

And his attention now turns to the short course format, as he prepares to travel to Glasgow this December for a competition he believes is unique to the sport.

“I’m really excited – I love swimming short course and it’s something a bit different,” said the 22-year-old.

“It’s a bit of a change, especially in Glasgow at a really good venue, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“What makes short course special is that it’s more exciting, the times are faster and you’ve got more variability in the water with the turns.

“It’s a bit more unexpected and the races tend to be closer and faster.

“When I swum in Glasgow at the European Championships in 2018 it was amazing – it was a really good atmosphere and everyone got behind us.

“Training’s been going really well – I’m really enjoying it and we want to go onto bigger and better things this season.”

For all his World Championship success, the youthful Greenbank is yet to represent his country on the Olympic stage.

Now he is hoping to join forces once again with his gold-winning medley companions Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott and James Guy in Tokyo.

And he says he’s acutely aware of just how important the short course format can be in helping to propel him towards a selection spot.

“It can definitely act as a stepping stone,” he added.

“It gives you that confidence going into the next championships so I’m really looking to do well there.

“I want to use the short course format as a springboard and build on that momentum.

“It’s always been my dream to make an Olympic team and hopefully get on the podium – it would be a big tick off that bucket list so that would be a dream come true.”

You can join Luke Greenbank at one of the biggest sporting events of the year by buying tickets now from www.euroswim2019.com

O’Connor looking to replicate 2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow glory

GLASGOW holds fond memories for British swim star Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and now she is hoping to repeat the feelgood factor by collecting yet more silverware at December’s LEN European Short Course Championships.

O’Connor grabbed six medals on her Commonwealth Games debut for England at Glasgow 2014, including 200m individual medley gold and silver over 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly.

It laid the foundations for a rapid rise that saw her scoop Olympic silver in 2016 and then a further Commonwealth gold in the Gold Coast last year.

And with the Tokyo Olympic Games now firmly on the horizon in 12 months’ time – O’Connor is a woman on a mission; hell-bent on delivering success for Britain in Glasgow.

“Glasgow is a special pool and the atmosphere in there is great,” the 23-year-old said.

“It’s quite small and compact so the noise when you walk out is pretty intense when everyone’s cheering for you – it’s a really good environment.

“I’m really excited – I’m really lucky that I’ve had quite a few opportunities to race in front of a home crowd, and every single time it’s just fantastic.

“I’ve had great memories in Glasgow – the 2014 Commonwealth Games was my highlight.
“It’s a massive springboard for Tokyo – it will be our last short course competition before Christmas, so it’s a really important part of our Olympic season calendar.”

O’Connor shot to fame in Rio after claiming the silver medal at the age of just 20, missing out on the gold by 0.3 seconds after Katinka Hosszu – her long-term nemesis – broke the Olympic 200m IM record with a time of 2 minutes 6.58 seconds.

That was preceded by two golds at the European Long Course Championships in London in 2016 – in both the individual and team medleys – developing her burgeoning reputation as one of British swimming’s brightest young stars.

And with the countdown to Tokyo accelerating, she says she’s eager to replicate her 2016 Games success and clinch a spot on the podium once again.

“It’s a dream come true and very special to represent your country at the Olympic Games,” she added.

“It’s what I’ve wanted to do for a really young age – travel the world, represent my country and stand on that Olympic podium.

“It would mean a lot to get a seat on the plane to Tokyo and I just want to give it everything this year and leave no stone unturned.

“Swimming’s up and down, but this year’s really important and I’m going to give it everything to get back onto that Olympic podium.”

You can join Siobhan-Marie O’Connor at one of the biggest sporting events of the year by buying tickets now from www.euroswim2019.com

Wilby zeroes in on Tokyo target at LEN European Short Course Championships

Tokyo preparations are firmly on British breaststroke ace James Wilby’s mind but he isn’t getting carried away by the prospect of booking his seat on the plane just yet.

Wilby is set to compete at the LEN European Short Course Championships in Glasgow in December, vying not only for medals but also valuable momentum heading into Olympic selection in April.

The former Loughborough University student has represented Great Britain at every major competition apart from the Games, scooping 100m breaststroke silver at this summer’s World Championships as well as two more second places at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow.

And it’s not long before Wilby returns to the city of his birth to compete at a venue he enjoys racing in, seeking to build confidence with a crucial year ahead.

“I’m always excited to go to Glasgow – I really enjoy swimming there and it’s a really good opportunity for me to implement some key things before going into Tokyo,” said the 25-year-old.

“The crowd in Glasgow are always very lively – they’re always getting behind the swimmers for every race and you can always hear that roar, so it makes it a really good environment.

“The Championships are going to be really, really important in acting as a springboard for Tokyo next year.

“Short course is a challenge for me, but we’re trying to rise to that challenge and push ourselves out of our comfort zone and perform at our best.

“There’s a lot to learn and a lot to practice, and then putting that into place for the next year is the overriding goal.”

Wilby has trained at close-quarters to 100m and 50m breaststroke world record holder Adam Peaty since an early age, beating him at the 2010 National Youth Championships but finishing closely behind at the 2018 Europeans and in Gwangju at the Worlds earlier this year.

Despite falling behind the 24-year-old in the pecking order, Wilby has nevertheless enjoyed considerable international success himself.

That’s come in the guise of winning gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the 200m breaststroke and being part of the team who won the 4x100m medley gold in Glasgow during the same year.

And although not an Olympian like Peaty just yet, Wilby says he’s determined to follow in his footsteps and make his Games debut in Tokyo next year.

“It would be very special to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games,” he added.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to compete at every major championship during my career apart from the Olympic Games, so I’m really excited to have that opportunity.

“But there are plenty of steps along the way, so it’s a case of not getting ahead of myself too much but every now and then using it as a motivating factor.”

You can cheer on James Wilby and the British team at one of the biggest sporting events of the year by buying tickets now HERE

Renshaw expects to be boosted by raucous crowd

Molly Renshaw is hoping the raucous home crowd will help propel her to victory in the LEN Short Course European Championships in Glasgow.

Renshaw, who in 2016 set a new British record in the 200m breaststroke to qualify for the Olympic final in Rio, is set to compete in the short course competition in December, building momentum for her bid to secure a place at her second Games in Tokyo next year.

And she enjoys the shorter format, winning gold at the 2016 World Short Course Championships in Windsor, Canada – also in her favoured 200m event.

But with this year’s competition looming, she believes the partisan nature of the Glasgow crowd at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre will help her further enhance her medal collection.

“Glasgow will be amazing – we’ve had quite a few internationals in Scotland over the years and it’s always an amazing crowd and it makes such a difference,” the 23-year-old said.

“It brings such an atmosphere and they’re quite rowdy which is nice! Walking out and hearing your name being shouted is nice.

“We go abroad a lot and don’t always get that so it’s a really nice change.

“The short course always builds momentum at the start of the year – it’s really good to get fast times in and practice your skills and your turns.

“Short course is fun, fast and technical – it’s just a completely different ball game as there are a lot more turns involved and it’s a lot more technical.

“I’ve always been quite good at short course – I think my turns are quite strong and I always used to love racing short course and dread long course!”

Renshaw is a versatile customer, however, scooping gold in the European Long Course Championships in London in 2016 in the 4x100m medley followed by bronze in the 200m breaststroke at the event two years later.

She also claimed silver at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast last year in her specialist 200m breaststroke discipline, enhancing her burgeoning reputation even further at one of the world’s premier events.

But it’s at the Games where she really wants to medal, with her love of Japan making the prospect of success next year even more tantalising.

“It would be amazing to go to Tokyo – my first Olympic Games in Rio were really, really special, and I love Tokyo so much so I really want to be there,” she added.

“Tokyo definitely holds a special place in my heart so I’d love to be on the team.

“I just love the buzz of swimming – the training is hard and gruelling but it’s definitely worth it come racing when you get to step into these big arenas.”

Watch Molly Renshaw and Great Britain compete for European medals in Glasgow from 4-8 December. GET TICKETS HERE.

Litchfield using the spirit of Stokes to spur him on to Glasgow success

Max Litchfield watched every ball of Ben Stokes’ miraculous Ashes hundred this summer – and now the Yorkshire swimmer wants to channel the spirit of England’s cricket star as he returns to the water in Glasgow.

An avid cricket fan, Litchfield found time amidst a hectic training schedule to head to Headingley and watch Stokes’ heroics with bat in hand in the swimmer’s home county.

Attention now turns to Litchfield himself following a remarkable summer of action – set to compete in December’s LEN European Short Course Championships.

And with the home crowd on his side, the 24-year-old expects the atmosphere at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre to be electric.

“It was an incredible summer of cricket – I was there when Ben Stokes played that amazing innings at Headingley,” said Litchfield.

“I guess the lesson you can learn from that is just never give up.

“He never gave up, the team never gave up, and all the players just had confidence he could do it.

“To the last ball, he was confident he could make those runs.

“No matter how bad it gets, no matter how tough times seem, you should always have that confidence that you can do it and make those improvements to do whatever you want to do.

“It’s going to be awesome for the short course meet in Glasgow – it’s always a great place to race and an awesome environment and atmosphere up there.

“Short course is fun, fast and you have to use skills – a smaller pool means the crowd are closer in so it creates a really great atmosphere and it will be an amazing experience.”

The precocious Litchfield is an experienced campaigner for an athlete of his age, representing Great Britain in Rio three years ago and finishing an impressive yet heart-breaking fourth in the 400m individual medley final.

He was then forced to miss the Commonwealth Games in 2018 with a shoulder injury, nevertheless going on to scoop silver in the 400m IM at the European Long Course Championships in Glasgow later that year.

But with Tokyo now on the horizon, he believes the pain of missing out in the Gold Coast makes him all the more determined to secure his seat on the plane to Japan.

“The Commonwealth Games was a horrible time for me – it was so tough,” he added.

“You never want to miss a race, but for it to be a Commonwealth Games really amplified that disappointment for me.

“Sitting here and watching it while they were all out there racing was hard to take.

“Something as disappointing and heart-breaking as that does spur you on and give you that little bit more drive that you need in this sport.

“It would be incredible to be selected for Tokyo and represent Great Britain once again – it’s the pinnacle of our sport, so if I could make a second Olympics it would be absolutely phenomenal.”

Watch Max Litchfield and Great Britain compete for European medals in Glasgow from 4-8 December. GET TICKETS HERE.

Greenbank hoping to carry World Championships momentum into Glasgow

British backstroke star Luke Greenbank says he’s hoping to harness the momentum of winning World Championship gold as he heads into December’s LEN European Short Course Championships in Glasgow.

Greenbank triumphed in the 4x100m medley relay in Gwangju in July, joining forces with the youthful triumvirate of Adam Peaty, James Guy and Duncan Scott to topple the formidable USA team by just 0.35 seconds.

The Crewe-born Greenbank also scooped an individual medal in South Korea, swimming a personal best time of 1:55.85 to clinch bronze in the 200m backstroke event.

And with the Short Course Championships now on the horizon, he says he is eager to take the confidence of those dual successes with him into Glasgow.

“I took quite a lot of confidence from both the medals I won in Gwangju, but to go to Glasgow and win on the short course would be absolutely brilliant,” the 22-year-old said.

“I’m really excited for it – I’ve raced in Glasgow before so the crowd there have obviously seen me a few times, but having them behind me will make it a little bit more special.

“Even though it’s a shorter course I’m still approaching the competition in the same way as I would for any other tournament.

“Competing with Adam Peaty, James Guy and Duncan Scott in the final at those World Championships was an amazing team to be a part of.

“I started off and I knew I just had to get as close as I could to the other teams, but to win the gold in what was an absolutely amazing race was brilliant.

“And in the 200m backstroke I exceeded my own expectations to be honest.

“I was always going into that trying to just make the final, so to come away with a personal best and a medal was amazing.”

Greenbank burst onto the international scene at the age of just 17, winning golds in the 100m and 200m backstroke events at the inaugural 2015 European Games in Baku.

And he further enhanced his ever-growing reputation with silver in the 4x100m medley relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, this time with Peaty, Guy and Ben Proud.

But with a pivotal year ahead, Greenbank insists he’s not getting carried away by his early success and remains hungry to secure selection for Tokyo next summer.

“After the World Championships I had some time off to relax, but I’m back in training now and have had to hit the ground running,” he added.

“I’ve made a really good start and I’m looking to improve for the next year heading into both the short course competition and Tokyo.

“I’m really looking forward to racing in Glasgow, and hopefully if I keep training hard the results will start to come to me.”

Watch Luke Greenbank and Great Britain compete for European medals in Glasgow from 4-8 December. GET TICKETS HERE.

Local boy Scott leads British team into LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships 2019

A strong British team will contest the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships in Glasgow, featuring four recently-crowned world champions.

Glasgow-born Duncan Scott headlines the team, the local hero joined by his 2019 world champion teammates Luke Greenbank, James Guy and James Wilby, as 16 swimmers will don the Great Britain cap in December.

Scott made all the headlines in South Korea this summer, winning bronze in the Men’s 200m Freestyle before producing the second fastest 100m split of all-time to anchor Great Britain to gold in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay, overturning a one second deficit on the Americans.

Greenbank and Wilby also enjoyed individual success, Wilby securing silver in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke, whilst Greenbank clinched a breakthrough bronze medal in the Men’s 200m Backstroke.

On finishing a breakthrough year in Glasgow, Greenbank said:

“2019 has been a brilliant year for me and I’m delighted that I’ll have the chance to hopefully finish it off in style up in Glasgow. Glasgow has been pretty kind to me over the last few years and the crowd there is always awesome, so I’m sure this will be another phenomenal championships on home soil.”

On the female side World Championship medallists Freya Anderson and Georgia Davies are included, the pair combing with Adam Peaty and James Guy to win Mixed 4x100m Medley bronze, but both women will have eyes on individual medals in Glasgow as well as relay opportunities.

Molly Renshaw also makes the grade, having sealed her first major international title in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke at the 2016 World Short Course Championships in Windsor, Canada, and will hope for further success in the Scottish capital.

Of her inclusion Renshaw commented:

“I’m really pleased to have been included in a super strong team for the European Short Course in December. The GB team is flying at the moment, as we saw at the World Championships and the atmosphere in squad is amazing, so it’ll be amazing to put that GB cap on again.

“For me, winning the World Short Course Championships three years ago was definitely a highlight, but I’ve made some really good progress in 2019 and hopefully I can make the most of the opportunity to compete in Glasgow.”

The other name to look out for from 4-8 December is rising star Kayla Van Der Merwe, who will make her senior debut at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

The Winchester swimmer enjoyed a sensational summer, winning European Junior 100m Breaststroke gold, before adding a World Junior medal to her collection in the same event just a few weeks later.

Watch Duncan Scott and Great Britain compete for European medals in Glasgow from 4-8 December. GET TICKETS HERE

Full Great Britain team:

Freya Anderson
Georgia Davies
Tom Dean
Luke Greenbank
James Guy
Anna Hopkin
Max Litchfield
Scott McClay
Ross Murdoch
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor
Nick Pyle, England
Molly Renshaw, England
Duncan Scott
Laura Stephens
Kayla Van Der Merwe
James Wilby

Murdoch expects home crowd to be bouncing at LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships

Ross Murdoch believes nothing can replicate the sensation of performing in front of your home crowd and can’t wait to return to Glasgow at the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships.

The 25-year-old from Balloch announced himself on the world stage in Glasgow when he won 200m breaststroke gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Since then he has enjoyed more success including a 2016 European long course title in the 200m breaststroke, but at the World Championships in Gwangju earlier this year, Murdoch missed out on a place in the final in his preferred event.

However, with the European Short Course Championships less than 100 days away, Murdoch knows how important this meet is in the build up towards Tokyo 2020.

“I’m enjoying training. By the time the European championships come around I’ll have been training for 12 weeks at that point so I’ll be fit enough when that comes around,” Murdoch said.

“I’ve yet to be selected for the team so I can’t speak too much about my hopes and aspirations but initially it will be to get picked and then when I go there to try and make finals.

“My short course swimming has been a lot stronger over the past three years than it ever has been and it’s all been slowly getting better every single year.

“So, it’s just taking some goals I achieved last year and look how I can progress those on for this December, seeing if I can get in about some finals and possibly in about some medals.

“As an event this is going to be really important leading up to the Olympic trials for sure.

“The short course season sets up your skills because there’s more walls and more turns to be ready for the long course season.

“If you can’t turn well or have your underwater on form, you’re going to miss out and that’s what’s going to make the difference.

“It’s just going to set us up really nicely to progress through to the long course season.”

The Tollcross International Swimming Centre plays hosts to the championships between 4 to 8 December and Murdoch has fond memories of the pool.

At the 2014 Games he got the better of Olympic silver-medallist and compatriot Michael Jamieson to take 200m breaststroke gold, while also scooping 100m breaststroke bronze.

Murdoch recognises how fortunate he has been to be able to compete in home water with the support of the crowd behind him.

“Swimming in front of my home crowd again there’s no feeling like it really, to be swimming at a top level at home,” he added.

“I’d like to say that doesn’t happen so often but I’ve had it so often in my career I’ve been very lucky.

“To do it again would be amazing and any time winning an international medal is a very special moment so if I can do it at home, it will be the best.

“I’ve still got so many memories from Tollcross, standing on the block when everybody is cheering.

“It’s just an absolutely spectacular place to be when you’re the home athlete.

“I think the atmosphere in Glasgow is going to be great, it always is. We’ve held two major events in the past at Tollcross so to have another one there, it’s going to be packed and everybody is going to be bouncing.”