Source: Sam Mellish / Team GB

Team GB select fantastic five University of Bath-based swimmers

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Swimmers Freya Anderson, Kieran Bird, Leah Crisp, Tom Dean and Jacob Whittle have today become the first University of Bath-based sportspeople to be officially selected by Team GB for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

All five are members of the Aquatics GB Bath Performance Centre squad, coached by David McNulty and Jamie Main at the Team Bath Sports Training Village, and Anderson and Dean are heading to Paris as reigning Olympic gold-medallists.

Freestylers Bird and Whittle will also be competing at their second Games, while University of Bath sporting scholar Crisp will make her Olympic debut after being named in Team GB’s marathon swimming squad.

Also representing Team GB in the pool this summer will be University of Bath Swimming Club’s Ben Proud, who is heading to a third Games, and Sport and Exercise Science alumna Anna Hopkin, who – like Anderson and Dean – won gold on her Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Dean, who famously won double gold in Tokyo, set the Paris nomination standard while winning three medals – 200m individual medley silver and bronze in both the 100m and 200m freestyle – at the recent Speedo Aquatics GB Swimming Championships in London.

“It’s so special when you receive that selection letter, I don’t think that’s ever not going be exciting,” he said. “Nothing compares to an Olympic Games and winning more medals is always the goal. I swam two events in Tokyo and got two gold medals, it would be nice to continue a track record like that.”

He will be joined in the freestyle relay teams by training partner Whittle who, at the age of 19, is heading to his second Olympic Games. He said: “I found out on Thursday afternoon I’d been selected and it was a long, nervous wait. I’m so proud and so happy that I’ve made it. My first goal was to make the team and now I need to assess what’s realistic in the summer but the sky is the limit in the 4x100m freestyle relay.”

Tokyo relay champion Anderson is recovering from glandular fever and was restricted to contesting the 100m freestyle at the British Championships, winning bronze, but her strong form on the international stage in recent years ensured her discretionary selection for Paris.

“I’m someone who believes everything happens for a reason and I’ve learnt a lot during this time of recovery,” she said. “I want to hit training hard now and I have an amazing team around me who can help me do that. The amount of support I have received during the four years I’ve been in Bath and particularly the last few months has been unrivalled.”

Also selected for a second Games is Bird, who has been picked after winning 400m freestyle gold with a lifetime-best performance at the Aquatics GB Championships where he only missed out on automatic qualification by two-tenths of a second.

“The first job is done, which is qualifying, and now the real hard work starts for the summer,” said Bird, who also set personal bests in the 100m and 200m freestyle. “Competing at the Tokyo Olympics was my childhood dream come true but this time I am going for medals, I don’t just want to make up the numbers. I want to reach my full potential in Paris and my performances at the championships have given me some good building blocks.”

Away from the pool, Santander Sporting Scholar Crisp – who studies Economics and Mathematics at the University – is part of a three-strong Team GB marathon swimming squad, the country’s largest contingent since Beijing 2008.

She will contest the women’s 10km race after achieving the qualification standard at February’s World Aquatics Championships in Doha. It is only Crisp’s second season of open-water swimming after transitioning from the pool where she has won a host of medals for the University in BUCS student competition.

“It’s really exciting to be selected, so many years of work have built up to this,” said Crisp, who does her endurance training in the Team Bath pool and outdoor training at Vobster Quay in Radstock, Somerset. “I’ve been studying and training at Bath for four years now and it’s nice I’ll get to graduate this summer just before going to the Olympic Games.”

McNulty and Main will be part of the Team GB coaching team in Paris, marking a sixth Olympic Games for University of Bath Hall of Fame for Sport inductee McNulty.

The Aquatics GB Bath Performance Centre squad train in the Olympic-standard London 2012 Legacy Pool which is also open to the public. Visit teambath.com/swimming to see the swim-fit timetable and to find out more.

Follow Bath-based athletes on their journey to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games at teambath.com/Paris-2024.

With thanks to the Team Bath Press Office 

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