British swimmers hoping to make a splash
July 27, 2012 17:05 pm
After seven years of planning, the pool competition at the London Olympics finally gets under way on Saturday with Hannah Miley a very real contender to secure Britain's first swimming medal at the Aquatics Centre.
Joe Roebuck will be the first Briton to dive into the pool when he goes in the third heat of the men's 400 metres individual medley while Roberto Pavoni has a dream start when he lines up alongside Beijing silver medallist Laszlo Cseh and in the same heat as 14-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps.
It is Miley, though, who is strongly fancied to add to the medals she has won at world, European and Commonwealth level when she goes in the women's 400m individual medley, which will see the final concluded in the evening.
National performance director Michael Scott said: "It's always good to get off to a great start but you measure starts by relative performance. So what we want Hannah to do is to get up and have a good swim, hopefully do a season's best or a personal best.
"Whatever that achieves we'll be proud and it will galvanise the team because it is about each individual getting up and doing their best and that creates momentum rather than relying on one individual."
Miley will be joined in the medley by Aimee Willmott whose father Stuart competed in the 1984 Olympics. Britain won six swimming medals four years ago in Beijing, three in the pool and three in the open water, their most successful haul for 100 years.
Standing at the summit was Rebecca Adlington who claimed two titles, the first Briton to win two swimming golds at a single Games since Henry Taylor in 1908. However, with only two competitors in the open water in Keri-anne Payne and Daniel Fogg, it means the host nation must improve in the pool if they are to match their Beijing haul.
Scott said: "We are going to have to lift our game significantly in the pool to match that target and Shanghai (2011 World Championships) was a classic example of more countries winning medals and making finals.
Also swimming on Saturday are Ellen Gandy and Fran Halsall in the heats of the 100m butterfly, David Carry and Robbie Renwick in the 400m freestyle - which will progress to a straight final in the evening - Michael Jamieson and Craig Benson in the 100m breaststroke.
The final event of the morning will see Great Britain's women attempt to qualify for the final of 4x100m freestyle.
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