British Champs Ones To Watch: Freestyle

2nd April 2014

From the thrills and spills of the splash and dash 50m, to the endurance and stamina of the 800m and 1500m, the freestyle races at the British Gas Swimming Championships always prove an exciting spectacle.

Fran Halsall has long been the queen of the sprints at British level and will aim to win a remarkable ninth 50m Free title as well as a sixth gold over 100m Free.

Jazz Carlin may have only won her first British golds last season but the Welsh swimmer will be desperate to defend her crowns over 400m and 800m Freestyle.

Meanwhile, Adam Brown and Dan Fogg are the ones to beat in the short and long freestyle events while Glasgow's own Commonwealth champion Robbie Renwick will take on English teenager James Guy in both the 200m and 400m Free.

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

Men’s 50m Freestyle

Adam Brown lowered Mark Foster’s five-year-old record en-route to victory last year before missing out on a semi-final spot at the World Champs in Barcelona by 0.05.

Ben Proud offered stiff competition both domestically and internationally and he has performed well again in 2014, his best a 22.14 for victory at the BUCS Championships to be the top Briton so far this season.

The pair may head a field that could include James Disney-May, Kane Haggett, Alex Garnett, Andrew Weatheritt and Miles Munro.

  • Defending champion: Adam Brown
  • British record holder: Adam Brown (21.92, British Champs 2013)
  • Most British titles: Mark Foster (five)

Men’s 100m Freestyle

Adam Brown won the title last year before narrowly failing to become only the second British man to reach a World Championship final in this event when he was edged out in ninth by just 0.02 in Barcelona.

The Auburn-based freestyle specialist could face a major threat from Plymouth teenager Ben Proud with Loughborough-based Adam Barrett also a likely contender.

Olympians Grant Turner and James Disney-May are also in the field.

  • Defending champion: Adam Brown
  • British record holder: Simon Burnett (48.20, Olympic Games 2012)
  • Most British titles: Adam Brown (four)

Men’s 200m Freestyle

The 200m Free could well be a showdown between Robbie Renwick and James Guy. The Scot is the defending Commonwealth champion and has won the domestic title for the last two years.

His young English rival scored an emphatic victory in the 400m at the Mediterranean Games but Renwick took revenge in the four-length event.

They may well be challenged by 2013 World Championship competitor Ieuan Lloyd, Lewis Coleman, Jak Scott, Josh Walsh and Nick Grainger.

  • Defending champion: Robbie Renwick
  • British record holder: Robbie Renwick (1:45.99, World Championships 2009)
  • Most British titles: Ross Davenport (three)

Men’s 400m Freestyle

Robbie Renwick will be aiming to retain the title he has won for the last four years at the pool where he used to train with City of Glasgow. However, the 400m freestyle may be one of the most competitive races of the meet.

Dan Fogg was second in an English record last year and it was his withdrawal from the event at the World Championships last summer that allowed James Guy to make a dramatic entrance on to the senior international stage with a fifth place finish in Barcelona.

The Millfield swimmer - third in Sheffield in 2013 - has continued that form this season, setting a personal best with a seven-second victory over Renwick at the Mediterranean Open in March.

  • Defending champion: Robbie Renwick
  • British record holder: David Davies (3:45.24, World Championships 2009)
  • Most British titles: Robbie Renwick (four)

Men’s 1500m Freestyle

Dan Fogg was an emphatic winner in 2013 before going on to finish eighth at the World Championships in Barcelona.

The Loughborough swimmer will again be the one to watch in Glasgow although Nick Grainger is the top-ranked Briton this season. Also in the mix will be Jack Burnell and Stephen Milne.

  • Defending champion: Dan Fogg
  • British record holder: David Davies (14:45.95, Olympic Games 2004)
  • Most British titles: David Davies (five)

Women’s 50m Freestyle

All eyes will be on Fran Halsall on her 24th birthday. Halsall won Britain’s sole medal in Barcelona when she claimed bronze in this event and she will be the out and out favourite.

The Southport-born swimmer has claimed the title eight times in the past nine years and she has sizzled this term, her winning time of 24.38 in Marseille the fourth fastest of her career.

Training partner Amy Smith – runner-up for the last four years - will lead the chasing pack which should also include former world and European junior medallist Amelia Maughan as she looks to make the transition to the senior ranks.

  • Defending champion: Fran Halsall
  • British record holder: Fran Halsall (24.11, World Championships 2009)
  • Most British titles: Fran Halsall (eight)

Women’s 100m Freestyle

Already the holder of five national titles in this event, Fran Halsall will be favourite to add another. She won in Marseille in 54.07 to launch herself into the upper sphere of the rankings this season.

Leading the chasing pack may be Amy Smith – runner-up behind Halsall for the last four years – accompanied by Sophie Smith, Caitlin McClatchey, Rebecca Turner and Emma Wilkins.

  • Defending champion: Fran Halsall
  • British record holder: Fran Halsall (52.87, World Championships 2009)
  • Most British titles: Fran Halsall (five)

Women’s 200m Freestyle

Jazz Carlin was the 2010 Commonwealth silver medallist and is on top form in 2014. She lowered her Welsh record at the Mediterranean Open to launch herself into the world top 10 – albeit at an early stage of the season.

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor has made great strides in this event while defending champion Ellie Faulkner will be looking to reach her first Commonwealth Games.

Caitlin McClatchey was double Commonwealth champion in 2006 and is always a consistent competitor while last year’s silver medallist Rebecca Turner won the BUCS Championships in Sheffield in February.

  • Defending champion: Ellie Faulkner
  • British record holder: Jo Jackson (1:55.54, World Championships 2009)
  • Most British titles: Rebecca Adlington (three)

Women’s 400m Freestyle

Jazz Carlin claimed the title last year by almost five seconds from Ellie Faulkner only to miss out on a medal by 0.14 at the World Championships in Barcelona.

This year she has responded in typical pitbull style, clocking 4:05.56 for victory in Marseille. She is the clear favourite although Caitlin McClatchey can always produce a top-class challenge while Faulkner may also be in the mix.

  • Defending champion: Jazz Carlin
  • British record holder: Jo Jackson (4:00.60, World Championships 2009)
  • Most British titles: Rebecca Adlington (four)

Women’s 800m Freestyle

Jazz Carlin produced a world-class performance last year as she joined the sub 8:20 club but her World Championship medal hopes failed to materialise when she was ninth in Barcelona. However, should she be able to reproduce anything near this form, the Swansea swimmer will be the one to beat.

The portents are good with Carlin having gone 8:23.91 in Marseille earlier this season. Ellie Faulkner was second last year and the race could develop into a straight duel between the pair.

  • Defending champion: Jazz Carlin
  • British record holder: Rebecca Adlington (8:14.10, Olympic Games 2008)
  • Most British titles: Rebecca Adlington (six)

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