Furniss: Positive steps on road to Rio but tough work ahead

05 August 2014 / 13:16

Bill Furniss has hailed the performances of British swimmers at the Commonwealth Games - but warned against any sense of complacency two years out from the Rio Olympics.

The home nations dominated action in Glasgow, winning 33 medals, including 11 golds, to better their result from four years earlier in Delhi.

Jaz Carlin, Ross Murdoch and Ben Proud are among ten British Commonwealth champions looking back up their performances at next week's European Championships in Berlin, where a 23-strong British team will be in action.

“I’m very pleased with the performances and results across the home nations,” said Furniss, British Swimming's head coach. 

“One of the key targets for British Swimming was to challenge the athletes and coaches to move it on in terms of their times from trials. We wanted to see season best swims in Glasgow and also improvements in how well they raced - we certainly saw these.

“We’ve implemented a thorough racing strategy this season and it’s paying off with a much higher percentage of athletes, close to 60 percent, achieving a season or personal best time at the major meet of the year.”

However, Furniss - who coached Rebecca Adlington to double Olympic gold in Beijing and was appointed following a disappointing London 2012 Olympics - insisted Commonwealth results must be put into a world context.

“I see British Swimming as being on the way back up but this is only the first step,” said Furniss. 

“We did incredibly well and this has delivered one of our best Commonwealth Games results ever but we have to be realistic and recognise that it is not a World Championships or an Olympic Games.

“Our collective challenge now is to produce this kind of performance in a more difficult environment under increased pressure. When we can do that I will know that we’ve made a significant step forward.

“It’s encouraging to see so many youngsters coming through and we’re seeing real depth in some of the events. Four or five have produced performances which are top three in the world and will probably maintain that position after all of the main events this season.”

Furniss though warned against too high expectations in Berlin, considering all swimmers were targeting peaking in Glasgow.

“It’s going to be difficult when our target meet is before the European Championships,” he added. 

“The Commonwealths, where we are measured against funding by UK Sport, had to be our target for the year as it is so high profile but everyone else in Berlin will be focused solely on the European Championships.

© Sportsbeat 2014