Relay opportunities excite eight-strong Commonwealth swim squad

The swimmers will be out in force at Birmingham 2022 as no fewer than eight Guernsey representatives take to the pool.

Though not quite the nine of Glasgow eight years before it, it is a very large swim squad and full to the brim with first-timers, backstroke ace Tatiana Tostevin being the only one returning from a previous Commonwealth Games.

The composition of the team – four men and four women – also maximises the opportunities to be gained in Birmingham.

Barracudas head coach Sara Parfit, who managed the team at Gold Coast 2018, knows Guernsey could be kept quite busy in the many relay events on offer.

‘We know we could actually do quite well in the relays because we have got some strength in depth,’ she said.

‘We are delighted to get four girls and four boys, so it’s our intention to do the freestyle and medley relays for girls and boys, and also the mixed relays.

‘It’s exciting to be competing as a team and we do not get to do that very much.’

Molly Staples is heading to her first Commonwealth Games. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30572022)

The squad is an even split not only by gender, but with both Barracudas and the Guernsey Swimming Club sending four competitors.

Tostevin made her Commonwealths bow aged 14 at Gold Coast 2018 and has continued to improve on her string of Guernsey backstroke records.

She headlines a Barracudas squad that also includes butterfly swimmers Orla Rabey and Molly Staples, plus freestyle sprinter Jonny Beck on the men’s end.

Charlie-Joe Hallett is GSC’s strongest individual and continues to excel in the breaststroke, including a South West regional title over 50m.

His younger brother, Ronny, is to join him in the breaststroke events, while the versatile Samuel Lowe has also made the cut.

GSC girl Laura Le Cras is in a rich vein of form and recently beat Helen Watts’ long-standing Island 50m breaststroke records on both the short and long course.

GSC head coach Naomi Wakeford highlighted the individual credentials of her swimmers, before praising the broader squad of eight following a tough qualifying period.

‘All of our swimmers had A standards or B standards, so they have done extremely well to get there,’ she said.

‘I am quite pleased with who has been selected. They have all gone through the process and it was very much uncertain whether they would be in or not.’

Parfit added: ‘It is an exciting few months and we have got a lot of hard work to do.’

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