London 2012 - Goodhew: Swimmers to step up for London
Olympic gold medallist Duncan Goodhew is urging Britain’s swimmers to stand up and be counted, revealing they will be hard pushed to better their medal total from Beijing.
Rebecca Adlington led the way as Britain won six medals in the Far East, claiming 800m and 400m freestyle gold and being joined on the podium in the latter by Jo Jackson, who took bronze.
That was as good as it got in the pool, however Britain’s tally did double thanks to 10km open water silver medals from David Davies and Keri-Anne Payne and bronze from Cassie Patten.
A lot has changed since then and, while Adlington and Payne are reigning champions from this year’s World Championships in Shanghai, Davies and Jackson’s form has subsided and Patten has retired through a shoulder injury.
Britain did win six medals on their return to China, Adlington also adding 400m silver and Ellen Gandy and Hannah Miley collecting the same colour in the 200m butterfly and 400m medley respectively.
Liam Tancock was the sole men’s medallist winning the 50m backstroke title, albeit in a non-Olympic event, from what performance director Michael Scott hailed as one of the best teams ever assembled.
However Goodhew, who won Olympic 100m breaststroke gold at the Moscow Games in 1980, is expecting Britain not to better a tally of six medals at London 2012.
“If you look at the World Championships then we have got two solid gold chances in the women’s,” said Goodhew – speaking at the Aviva School Sport Matters Awards.
“Beyond that you can see quite a few medals but there is nobody in a clear position that you can say quite confidently that they have a good probability of winning a gold.
“And it is difficult for the sport because if our swimmers don’t win more gold medals than we did last time then some people might be yelling.
“But I would be very surprised if the overall medal results are going to be better than they were in Beijing. Although it is a bit like Becky’s 400m freestyle in Beijing.
“She didn’t even do her best time and everybody else swam very slowly so you can never tell when that is going to happen.”
Steve Parry and Davies were the last British men to win an Olympic medal in the pool – taking bronze in the 200m butterfly and 1500m freestyle respectively at the Athens Games in 2004.
They were the only two swimming medals won by Britain on that occasion – and Goodhew insists the team are crying out for the men to stand up and be counted for.
“Obviously we have seen results from the girls and the men still have to find another gear,” he added.
“The fact we are getting increasing depth is very hopeful but at the end of the day somebody has got to step up to the block otherwise we will have a good group but nothing will be that exciting.
“And at the moment I can’t really see anyone who is going to make that jump.”