Matt Richards, Daniel Jervis and Medi Harris will fly the flag for Wales and Great Britain at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka this summer.
The trio are a part of British Swimming’s 29-strong team that will take to the pool at the World Aquatics Championships in Japan this summer, one year out from the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
With Paris on the horizon, the team bound for Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall A for the eight-day swimming programme – which runs from 23rd-30th July – includes a blend of world-class arena experience with up-and-coming talent.
Richards heads into the Championships after he became the first swimmer to go sub-22 in the 50 free (21.98), sub-48 in the 100 free (47.72), and sub-1:45 in the 200 free (1:44.83), either at the same meet, or even at different meets.
It was a triumphant return to the British Championships for Jervis, who admitted he hit ‘rock bottom’ in the sport following a spell of illness and injury stretching back to the Commonwealth Games. But the distance star showed his class to win domestic gold in the 800m and 1500m Freestyle events en-route to hitting the qualification standards.
Harris also defended her British 100m Backstroke crown at Ponds Forge to earn her spot on the team as she looks to build on her maiden World Championships appearance last year.
After a week of tight racing and impressive swims, Richards is champing at the bit to get to his second World Championships, saying: “It’s always an honour to represent GB at international meets. This will be my second World Championships but the first time I’ll be racing individual events as well as relays.
“We’ve got an extremely strong team ahead of the summer across a whole multitude of events and I can’t wait to get out to Japan with that team and bring home some silverware.
“Sheffield was a great meet for me but there were still lots of mistakes made and lessons learnt. We’ve got 15 weeks now to adjust and fine tune everything we do ahead of the summer to make sure that I step up across all of my events again.”
Six Olympic champions – Richards, Freya Anderson, Tom Dean, Anna Hopkin, James Guy and Duncan Scott – will take to the blocks alongside previous World Championship gold medallists James Wilby and Ben Proud, the latter having claimed a stunning world title in the Men’s 50m Freestyle in Budapest last year.
Meanwhile, there are 10 athletes set to make their Worlds debut in Japan. Among those is European medallist Katie Shanahan, fresh from Women’s 200m Backstroke and 200m Individual Medley victories at last week’s British Swimming Championships, while Oliver Morgan is included in a senior British Swimming team for the first time after a stunning week at Ponds Forge saw him complete a Men’s 50m-100m-200m Backstroke hat-trick.
The depth of the team – which also counts in its number Freya Colbert, Dan Jervis and Laura Stephens, who put in outstanding British Championship swims to make qualification times in their respective events – is indicative of the importance of a World Championships 12 months out from an Olympic Games, particularly with a focus on relay strength in the British ranks. This cohort will look to follow on from a Worlds in Budapest last June that included Proud’s 50m Freestyle title, 200m Freestyle bronze for Dean and medals in both the Men’s 4x100m Medley and 4x200m Freestyle Relays.
Speaking about the selections for the 2023 edition, British Swimming Performance Director Chris Spice said: “We were really pleased with the standard of our athletes’ performances at the British Championships, with established names and new faces delivering big swims and helping play their part in some outstanding races.
“It is difficult to highlight just a few performances from Sheffield, but Matt Richards finishing the week with a win in another stunning Men’s 200m Freestyle final was great, as was the contest between Katie Shanahan and Abbie Wood in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley, as well as Katie and Freya Colbert across the 400m IM and the 200m Backstroke. The noise of the crowd as Dan Jervis finished off his impressive 1500m Freestyle swim was a memorable moment, as well as Oliver Morgan sweeping the men’s backstroke events.
“The way that our female athletes are moving things on is also reflected in this team – Freya Anderson and Laura Stephens are just two more experienced performers who delivered eye-catching personal bests last week and will be looking to build again into the summer.
“As with every year, our swimmers and coaches will now put those performances behind them and focus on what they can do between now and the summer to ensure they can deliver a season’s best when it matters most. Key training blocks and some important racing opportunities are on the cards in the coming months, and we know our athletes will make the most of every single one of those with the World Championships in mind.
“Relays continue to be a primary focus of competition for us, and our selections have helped us to ensure we have the requisite strength in depth to stand those relay teams in good stead for Worlds, when we will be targeting qualifying quota spots for Paris 2024 in all our relays.”
The British Swimming team for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan
Freya Colbert, Loughborough Performance Centre
Daniel Jervis, Swim Wales High Performance Centre
Matt Richards, Millfield
Katie Shanahan, University of Stirling
Laura Stephens, Loughborough Performance Centre
The athletes above gained selection after winning an Olympic event at the British Swimming Championships and achieving the relevant qualifying time, as per clause 5.1 of the selection policy.
Cameron Brooker, Bath Performance Centre
Greg Butler, Loughborough Performance Centre
Lauren Cox, Loughborough University
Kara Hanlon, Edinburgh University
Medi Harris, Swim Wales High Performance Centre
Lucy Hope, University of Stirling
Joe Litchfield, Loughborough Performance Centre
Keanna MacInnes, University of Stirling
Jack McMillan, University of Stirling *
Oliver Morgan, University of Birmingham
Luke Turley, Bath Performance Centre
Jacob Whittle, Loughborough Performance Centre
James Wilby, Loughborough Performance Centre
Brodie Williams, Bath Performance Centre
The athletes above gained selection at the discretion of the GB Head Coach and Performance Director, as per clause 5.2 of the selection policy. The criteria for these decisions included the need to qualify as many relay teams as possible for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games; provision of relay cover and alternates to rest key athletes with large schedules; potential to make the Paris 2024 Olympic team; individual performances over the last 12 months and performances at the 2023 British Swimming Championships.
Freya Anderson, Bath Performance Centre
Lewis Burras, Repton
Tom Dean, Bath Performance Centre
James Guy, Bath Performance Centre
Anna Hopkin, Loughborough Performance Centre
Emily Large, Millfield
Jacob Peters, Bath Performance Centre
Ben Proud, Bath University
Duncan Scott, University of Stirling
Abbie Wood, Loughborough Performance Centre
The athletes above gained selection after achieving consideration times in an Olympic event at the British Swimming Championships, as per clause 5.3 of the selection policy.
* Subject to nationality ratification
Coaches selected to the British Swimming team for the 2023 World Championships
Jamie Main, Bath Performance Centre
David Hemmings, Loughborough Performance Centre
Ryan Livingstone, Millfield
Mel Marshall, Loughborough Performance Centre
David McNulty, Bath Performance Centre
Steven Tigg, University of Stirling