British Champs preview with GB head coach

British Champs preview with GB head coach

23 March 2016

Up to 30 tickets to Rio are on offer as the nation’s leading swimmers converge on Glasgow for the British Champs – but GB head coach Bill Furniss tells Swimming Times this is just the first step.

Britain’s leading swimmers head for Glasgow in mid-April with the Olympic rings firmly in their sights.

But those who qualify to swim in Rio five months later will leave the Tollcross pool with an equally clear message ringing in their ears: ‘You haven’t achieved anything yet!’ Or, as GB head coach Bill Furniss, puts it: ‘This is just the first step.

‘People call it “the trials” but to me, it’s the British Championships where swimmers can qualify for the Olympic Games. It’s great to get a qualifying time but it’s about swimming well at the Olympics in the summer.

I don't even talk to the athletes and coaches about medal targets

‘It’s the first stage of the process – which is trying to deliver our best performance at the major meet of the year, the Olympic Games.’

Since Furniss and national performance director Chris Spice took over in the wake of the disappointing tally of one silver and two bronze medals at the first home Olympics for 64 years, their entire strategy has been geared towards improving that in Rio – although exactly what would constitute a satisfactory improvement is unclear.

‘We have a medal target but I’m not going to say what it is,’ says Furniss. ‘I don’t even talk to the athletes and coaches about medal targets. I never mention it. I talk about process and what they have to do to produce their best performance.

‘It [a medal target] puts you at a massive disadvantage because it just cranks up the pressure.’

A key part of the strategy since 2012 has been for the nation’s leading swimmers to compete at a high level more often.

By the end of March, they will all have swum at least three times since the start of the year at international meets in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Edinburgh and Australia.

April's Swimming Times out now

You can read the full article in April’s Swimming Times, which also features tips from former GB Head Coach Ian Turner, Cheltenham water polo club and your chance to win a pair of MP XCEED goggles – designed by Michael Phelps and Aqua Sphere.

To read more and get your hands on a copy of Swimming Times click here

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