By Paul Osborne

British Swimming announces its Podium and Potential Podium squad for 2014November 12 - The number of swimmers who will receive funding from UK Sport through the World Class Performance Programme has been reduced by over a third from those supported in the build up to London 2012.

The news comes after British Swimming announced their Podium and Potential Podium squad for 2014, an initiative that gives targeted financial assistance to athletes who have been identified as having the potential to medal at Rio 2016 or Tokyo 2020.

Next year will see 62 swimmers - 22 Podium and 40 Potential Podium - down from 97 last year, receive this support through receipt of an Athlete Personal Award (APA) in addition to training camp and competition opportunities, science and medicine services, as well as the support of the British Swimming World Class Programme staff.

British Swimming has received a cut to their funding due to their poor performance in the pool at the London 2012 OlympicsBritish Swimming has received a cut to their funding due to their poor performance in the pool at the London 2012 Olympics

British Swimming National Performance Director Chris Spice said that the reduction was due to the ongoing review of their funding by UK Sport.

"I'd like to thank UK Sport and the National Lottery for this investment which ensures our athletes are among the best supported in the world," he said.

"In view of our ongoing review with UK Sport we have decided to announce only 40 places in our Podium Potential squad for this coming season down from the 65 listed in our published policy."

Swimming received a £4 million ($6.5 million/€4.8 million) cut to its Olympic funding by UK Sport following its failure to reach the medal target set at London 2012.

Britain's swimmers were set a target of five medals throughout the Games but only managed three.

The news will come as a blow to former world champion Keri-Anne Payne and European gold medallist Elizabeth Simmonds, who both lost their personal funding for 2014.

Payne won a silver medal in the 10 kilometre open water swimming event at Beijing 2008 but considered retiring from the sport after coming fourth at London 2012.

Simmonds also missed out on a medal in London, finishing fourth in the 200 metre backstroke event.

10km open water swimmer Keri-Anne Payne has lost her funding for 201410km open water swimmer Keri-Anne Payne is among those who have lost their funding for 2014

Despite the cut backs, British Swimming's head of performance pathway, Tim Jones, believes the programme will give young British swimmers a fantastic opportunity to win a medal in Rio 2016, or further down the line in Tokyo 2020.

"As part of the nomination process for Podium Potential we cast our net far and wide," he said.

"We undertook a detailed 360 degree analysis on around 100 young athletes before settling on a high quality, focussed group of 40 based on their predicted progressions and potential for future success.

"This cohort have clearly indicated they have an athlete profile and potential which, if fulfilled will give them an outstanding chance of achieving success in the future.

"Our programme will add value and assist in their development within the sport as they work towards their primary focus of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020."

Swimming is currently involved in an investment review process with UK Sport.

Consequently, future investment could be give to British Swimming allowing for additional nominations to the 2014 Performance Programme.

According to British Swimming, investment figures will be confirmed by no later than February 2014.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories:
August 2013: British Swimming add gymnastics head of performance to management team
August 2013: British Swimming will make changes after worst World Championships for 15 years, promises head coach
June 2013: British Swimming look to Adlington to pull them from doldrums as major changes are promised
February 2013: Furniss and Spice chosen to lead British Swimming to Rio 2016
December 2012: British Swimming chief has "healthy debate" with Adlington