ADAM Peaty will lead a trio of Derbyshire breaststroke stars next week as they bid to earn places in England’s team for this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
But the Uttoxeter starlet, Chris Steeples and Molly Renshaw head to the British Gas Championships knowing they must produce lifetime best performances if they are to be certain of qualifying for Glasgow.
The same applies to University of Derby distance specialist Jack Burnell and sprinter Kane Haggett of Derventio eXcel if they are to earn places in the 1500m and 50m freestyle respectively.
The championships serve as trials for the Games and will be held in the same Tollcross pool as July’s big event.
But the selectors have laid out a demanding set of qualification standards – although they have left themselves a little room for manoeuvre, unlike the set-in-stone rules that applied for the British team for the London Olympics.
Swimmers who achieve qualifying times in a final will be considered for selection to the Games.
Up to three swimmers per Olympic event can make the team but any athlete looking to compete for England will have to be quicker than the third-fastest time posted by a Commonwealth swimmer last summer.
That means they must beat the best performances of athletes from established swimming nations like Australia, Canada and South Africa.
But this time around, the management have allowed themselves some discretion regarding selection of swimmers who come close to the qualifying times.
However, Peaty’s form suggests that he can achieve the required standard – and he is confident that the experience gained at last year’s European Short Course Championships will stand him in good stead.
The City of Derby swimmer, from Byrds Lane, said: “I got a lot of experience swimming with the big guys in Europe.
“It’s completely different to swimming a long course and I knew it was going to be different but it was great to be racing at that level and I know better how to handle myself and that environment.
“I got all personal bests so I can’t really complain and I hardly rested at all.
“I was really happy to have that kind of speed and I’m looking to transition that into long course at the end of the season.”
Peaty put in a storming performance earlier this year in an international meeting in Berlin, where he went mighty close to the England qualification standard.
The 19-year-old said: “It’s looking good for the championships. I’ve had the best winter block of training I’ve ever had, so we’ll see how we go.
“I’ll go with no expectations, but I’m really hoping to be fast. The qualification times are very fast but I reckon I can get well below that time. We’ll see.
“I’m not really worried at the present and I’ll be the most rested I’ll have been all season.”