Guernsey Press

Birmingham the revised target for Hollingsworth

TOM HOLLINGSWORTH is rising to the task of a Commonwealth Games qualifying period like no other.

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Tom Hollingsworth has his sights set on the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games following the postponement of the Guernsey 2021 NatWest International Island Games, which was set to be his swimming swansong. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28948852)

The pool veteran entered 2020 viewing next year’s home Island Games as the ideal swansong opportunity, but their coronavirus-forced postponement has sent his sights elsewhere.

Hollingsworth instead hopes to extend his decorated career at least another year and chase backstroke and possibly butterfly qualification for Birmingham 2022.

‘I was thinking Guernsey 2021 might be my final competition, but now that has been postponed, I am looking at the Commonwealths,’ the 32-year-old said ahead of what would be his fifth Commonwealths outing.

Yet much uncertainty lies ahead. Accepting that Covid-19 restrictions may hinder travel, the Guernsey Amateur Swimming Association confirmed that it would consider short-course times from certain domestic or Channel Islands meets.

This opens up the options for an already confident Hollingsworth – though he admits standards may be hard to reach locally.

‘I perform better at bigger meets and it’s hard to get yourself up for that situation,’ he said.

‘But if you are in the position where you have to perform at a local meet, then maybe that will make the difference.’

And so he will be among those looking to test the waters at the biggest gala in some time, the three-day Island Championships, running from Friday at St Sampson’s High.

‘We are all so fortunate to be in this position,’ Hollingsworth added.

‘It’s fantastic – I look at all my friends around the world that swim and some can’t even get in a pool, let alone race,’

Naomi Wakeford, head coach of host Guernsey Swimming Club, noted that while the official Commonwealths qualifying window begins in January, this weekend’s times may still be considered.