British Champs Ones To Watch: Backstroke

4th April 2014

After two silvers last year, double Commonwealth champion Liam Tancock is fired up and desperate to book a spot on the English team for Glasgow 2014.

The six-time British champion is sure to find opposition in the form of defending 100m Backstroke champion Chris Walker-Hebborn while Scotland's Craig McNally will be aiming to retain his 200m Backstroke title after reaching the World final in Barcelona last summer.

The women's events will see defending 100m Backstroke champion Lauren Quigley looking to book a spot on her first England team for the Commonwealths.

She'll come up against defending 50m Backstroke champion and Welsh Commonwealth bronze medallist Georgia Davies, as well as a re-invigorated Lizzie Simmonds after the Bath swimmer missed last year's World Championships.

Click the event from the drop down to read more about what to expect in Glasgow.

Men’s 50m Backstroke

Liam Tancock is the world-record holder in this event and had won four medals, including two golds, at the four World Championships prior to 2013.

However, he did not make the team for Barcelona and it is hard to predict where he stands given his injury-ravaged 2013. Marco Loughran claimed the title last year but was not selected to go to Spain and he will be among the contenders.

Chris Walker-Hebborn is the top Briton in 2014 following a personal best 25.43 effort at the Flanders Cup.

  • Defending champion: Marco Loughran
  • British record holder: Liam Tancock (24.04, World Championships 2009)
  • Most British titles: Liam Tancock (two)

Men’s 100m Backstroke

Liam Tancock had won four consecutive titles before Chris Walker-Hebborn usurped the double Olympian last year. Tancock was affected by a shoulder injury in 2013 which severely disrupted his year but he is a true competitor and will be determined to put himself in a position to defend his Commonwealth title.

Walker-Hebborn was 12th in Barcelona and has shown form in 2014, taking gold at the Berlin International Meet in March.

Joining them will be Craig McNally, who made his senior debut at the 2010 Commonwealth Games where he finished 12th.

  • Defending champion: Chris Walker-Hebborn
  • British record holder: Liam Tancock (52.73, World Championships 2009)
  • Most British titles: Gregor Tait / Liam Tancock (four)

Men’s 200m Backstroke

There will be a notable absentee from the field this year after James Goddard, 2002 and 2010 Commonwealth champion in this event, retired.

Craig McNally won the title last year before going on to finish sixth in Barcelona in a Scottish record.

Former champion Chris Walker-Hebborn has not entered this event so opposition may well come from Ryan Bennett, Marco Loughran, Calum Jarvis and Jonathan Carlisle.

  • Defending champion: Craig McNally
  • British record holder: James Goddard (1:55.58, Commonwealth Games 2010)
  • Most British titles: Gregor Tait / James Goddard (four)

Women’s 50m Backstroke

Georgia Davies set a British record 27.80 at the Flanders Cup in January to sit atop the fledgling world rankings. The Loughborough swimmer then followed that up with victory in Berlin.

Fran Halsall is the second fastest Briton this season but Lauren Quigley showed her competitive mettle by reaching the World Championship final last year, finishing eighth on her senior long-course bow.

Jessica Fullalove and 16-year-old Kathleen Dawson are among a speedy field.

  • Defending champion: Georgia Davies
  • British record holder: Georgia Davies (27.80, Flanders Cup 2014)
  • Most British titles: Sarah Price / Georgia Davies (three)

Women’s 100m Backstroke

Another intriguing tussle awaits with Georgia Davies, Lauren Quigley and Lizzie Simmonds separated by just 0.26 in the rankings. Davies and 2013 champion Quigley both competed at the World Championships and this year they have claimed victories in Marseille and Antwerp respectively.

Simmonds was victorious in Orlando in February as well as Berlin last month marking a welcome return to form after adapting to the programme at Bath.

World junior bronze medallist Jessica Fullalove is also in the mix while double European junior medallist Kathleen Dawson will look to make a mark among the seniors.

  • Defending champion: Lauren Quigley
  • British record holder: Gemma Spofforth (58.12, World Championships 2009)
  • Most British titles: Katy Sexton / Gemma Spofforth (four)

Women’s 200m Backstroke

This event has long been the domain of Lizzie Simmonds who has won gold five times in the past six years.

The 23-year-old swam her fastest time since finishing fourth at London 2012 when she clocked 2:08.91 in Berlin to follow up victory in Orlando.

That sees her to third in the early world rankings and if she can reproduce that time, Simmonds will be the clear favourite. Jessica Fullalove and Lauren Quigley are among the opposition.

  • Defending champion: Lizzie Simmonds
  • British record holder: Gemma Spofforth (2:06.66, World Championships 2009)
  • Most British titles: Lizzie Simmonds (six)

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