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The British Olympic Association has named the first four swimmers that will represent Team GB at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Olympic champion Adam Peaty, Olympic medallist Duncan Scott and world medallists James Wilby and Luke Greenbank – who, alongside Peaty and Scott, won gold at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in the 4x100m medley relay – have secured their spots following British Swimming’s revision of its selection policy for the postponed Games.
Named in the pre-selection phase, the quartet earned their places on the plane to Tokyo having won individual medals at the aforementioned 2019 World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju.
British Swimming updated its selection policy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted the sport’s competition calendar, with further selections to be made following the British Swimming Championships in April. A full team announcement will follow later this year.
Peaty, who won Olympic gold at Rio 2016 in his favoured 100m breaststroke, became the first member of Team GB to claim a gold medal in Brazil and the first British male Olympic champion in the pool since 1988. Staffordshire’s Peaty also contributed to silver in the men’s 4x100m medley relay at the same Games and is reigning double world champion and world record holder.
Scott, like Peaty, made his Olympic debut in Rio aged just 19, returning home as a double silver medallist in the men’s 4x200m and 4x100m medley relay events, and has won gold at three successive World Championships. Glasgow-born Scott became the most decorated swimmer ever at a Commonwealth Games after capturing six medals on the Gold Coast in 2018, which included gold in the 100m freestyle, a 200m individual medley silver and four bronzes.
Wilby will make his Olympic debut in Tokyo later this year but already possesses a wealth of medal-winning experience. The National Centre Loughborough swimmer claimed medals of all three colours at the 2019 World Championships, earning individual 100m breaststroke silver before playing a key role in British Swimming’s relay successes. The York swimmer also took a trio of medals on the Gold Coast, including 200m breaststroke gold.
Completing the four pre-selected swimmers is Greenbank who also makes his Olympic debut this summer. Greenbank became a double medallist at his second World Championships in 2019 with his performances including securing gold as part of Great Britain’s history making men’s 4x100m medley relay team and bronze in the 200m backstroke. In 2018, the backstroke specialist from Cockermouth medalled at his debut Commonwealth Games, again in the medley relay where his team took home silver.
Team GB Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Mark England, commented: “We are thrilled to confirm that Adam, Duncan, James and Luke have been selected to Team GB for the Tokyo Olympics and would like to congratulate them on this outstanding achievement. We hope that this confirmation provides clarity and focus for this hugely talented group of swimmers as they continue their preparation for the Olympic Games.
“The mix of Olympic debutants and Olympic medallists within this group is extremely exciting and we know that their performances will uplift and inspire the nation this summer.”
Chris Spice, British Swimming National Performance Director and Team GB Swimming Team Leader, added: “I give my warmest congratulations to Adam, James, Duncan and Luke, who have all been selected to the Tokyo Olympic team as per our policy published a few weeks ago. These gentlemen are all outstanding athletes and great ambassadors for our sport. They were not only individual medallists from our most recent World Championships in Gwangju, but all returned home with relay gold medals as well. Their selections are richly deserved, and I know how the four of them will keep their heads down and work even harder now to be in the best possible shape for Tokyo.
“I am also fully aware that some of our Olympic hopeful’s training environments are compromised right now and I feel desperately sorry about that. We continue to work hard to ensure our current elite athlete group can train, but our thoughts are also with those who cannot access water at the moment – we are hoping that with the extension of the Olympic qualifying window we can, at least in part, alleviate some of their concerns.”
The rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games will now take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021.
“I’m very happy to make the Olympic team – it’s always a huge pride and honour to represent my country in what I do best. Hopefully over the next few months we can come together even more as a country, back the full Olympic team, and we can come back from Tokyo with a very successful performance behind us.
“There is a lot of work to do from now until then, but I’m very hopeful the Olympics will go ahead and it’ll see continued success for Team GB.”
“It’s a real honour to be selected for my second Olympic Games. I loved every second of Rio; the way that the team swam but then also being a part of the bigger team and being part of Team GB, it was a great experience and one that I really wanted to have again. So I’m delighted to be selected, especially after the last year or so that we’ve had, with so many unknowns – it’s great to get this. I’m really excited and really looking forward to the year ahead.”
“To make the Olympic team means absolutely everything to me. It’s the pinnacle of our sport, and it’s something I’ve wanted since I started swimming at nine years old. I can’t wait to get out there and experience it first-hand.
“Obviously the last year or so has been quite different with regards to not being able to train or compete as much, so I think that’s something a lot of athletes are missing in their lives. So to have that opportunity to go out to the Olympics and race on the biggest stage of them all is absolutely amazing, and like I say, I just can’t wait to get out there.”
“Pre-selection is amazing. It’s really nice to be put on the team and have that certainty, with all the uncertainty that’s going on in the world at the moment. It’s really nice to be among that list of select athletes picked, but as I’m sure the others will be saying, it doesn’t mean the work can stop now – all it means is we’ve got ourselves on the plane, the job still has to be done.
“It’s always something I have aspired to and it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart being one of the select few who have been picked to represent Great Britain at the modern Olympic Games.”