Questions asked as Team GB's swimmers fail to impress

 

The swimming programme came to an end last night with national performance director Michael Scott admitting Team GB's performance at the Aquatics Centre had fallen short of expectation.

Coming into the Games, optimism was high the host nation would have a successful campaign, building on the gains made in Beijing and at subsequent World Championships in Rome and Shanghai.

There were six British medals in 2008 - three in the pool and three in the open water - and the base target in London is five.

Given world 10 kilometre champion Keri-anne Payne and Daniel Fogg are both competing in the open water, it is still possible that target can be reached.

While the medal tally of three is the same as in Beijing, then it comprised two golds and one bronze medal courtesy of two individuals, Rebecca Adlington and Jo Jackson.

Again Adlington - whose importance to the British team is immeasurable - clinched two medals, this time two bronzes in the 400 metres and 800m freestyle, while Michael Jamieson produced a series of superb swims that was capped by silver in the 200m breaststroke.

There were fourth-place finishes for Lizzie Simmonds in the 200m backstroke and the men's medley relay but ultimately it is medals that count.

Undoubtedly some of the expectation surrounding the swimmers was unrealistic and uninformed.

Australian great Ian Thorpe warned the British press and public on the eve of the Games to "manage your expectations" and remember the best in the world were travelling to London.

Fran Halsall, Ellen Gandy and Hannah Miley were all spoken of as potential medal contenders but came away with nothing.

Scott said last night: "I'm very proud of the way the swimmers kept on fighting and never gave up until the last race.

"But at the end of the day we are judged on medals. We have three medals in the pool - which matches Beijing but it is below what we expected."

There may well be funding ramifications with swimming the fourth best-funded sport in Britain behind athletics, cycling and rowing, all of which have claimed multiple medals, with three golds for British athletes last night alone.

There were some high points, especially with the men's breaststroke.

As well as Jamieson, his Bath ITC team-mate Andrew Willis and young Scot Craig Benson all swam new bests.

Jamieson, who just missed out on the 100m breaststroke final, lowered his own best by 2.41 seconds in his three races over four lengths with his effort in the final the fourth fastest 200m in history.

The Glasgow-born swimmer - 24 today - said: "Overall we had a great week. I think we are not going to beat about the bush, we are a little bit disappointed we haven't had many medals.

"Becky (Adlington) was amazing. She has raced in four Olympic finals and has had four medals. It's a pretty spectacular record.

"That has been my favourite moment of the Games so far, the crowd chanting her name. She got pretty emotional after that because she is proud of what she has done and rightly so."

Nick Gillingham won silver and bronze in Jamieson's event in 1988 and 1992 and he believes the Scot can go on to dominate, describing his performance as "incredible, awesome".

Neither does Gillingham believe the attention Jamieson will now receive will affect him, nor the fact he has succeeded where others have faltered.

Gillingham told Press Association Sport: "He has demonstrated he can handle it.

"The pressure is much the same going into the Olympics.

"Now he is going to be the one that is gunned for but it (mentally) is not an area of weakness, it's an area of strength."

However, the 45-year-old questioned much of the team's performance although for the Briton it is a concern, rather than a criticism given his huge support for them.

He said: "Questions will need to be asked, they have not performed.

"They've got to step up not step back.

"The rowers were devastated when they didn't get what they wanted, the cyclists were in tears when they were disqualified but the swimmers come up smiling saying what an honour it is to be there.

"Is it about competing at the Olympics or making the team?"

PA

Suggested Topics
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own