Olympic silver medallist Keri-Anne Payne is set to head a seven-strong British Gas Open Water team at the FINA World Championships in Rome.
The Open Water competition will take place from 19 – 22 July 2009 in the sea off Ostia. The Championships will feature a strong British Gas team who are coming off an incredibly successful LEN Open Water Cup event in Israel which saw the British Gas team take four of the six medals on offer.
Led by British Swimming Open Water Performance Manager Mark Perry, the British Gas team are going into the event to build experience and test themselves against the world’s best. This is a valuable opportunity for many of the younger, developing swimmers that will provide guidance while they continue to grow as international swimmers.
“We got a lot out of the LEN Open Water Cup in Israel: We took a few new swimmers out of the pool and tested them, and found that they have an aptitude for Open Water,” explained Perry.
“We’re mainly going to the World Championships for the experience – everything now is about building a team and working toward London 2012 which is our main goal.”
With the aim of building an Olympic team, Perry was pleased to note the young talent on display:
“There are definitely a number of great young athletes on the team: Richard Charlesworth and Daniel Fogg are doing really well and Katie Whitfield was awesome in Israel. Hopefully they’ll be able to perform on an even bigger stage.”
Despite missing Olympic medallists David Davies and Cassie Patten, Perry is optimistic that the team can perform well:
“We’re obviously going in minus two medallists, but we still have Keri-Anne [Payne] so we are hoping for good things from her,” he said.
“We would love to come away with a few medals but we have to be realistic so we can’t expect a repeat of Beijing, but there should definitely be some good performances.
“It will be good to put them up against the world’s best and see how they perform.”
The British Gas Open Water team consists of:
Richard Charlesworth (Hatfield) – 5km
Daniel Fogg (Borough of Waltham Forrest) – 10km
Craig Hamilton (Warrender) – 10km
Alfie Howes (City of Cardiff) – 5km
Keri-Anne Payne (Stockport Metro) – 10km
Charlotte Wooliscroft (Shiverers) – 5km
Katy Whitfield (Stockport Metro) – 5km and 10km