Swimming for Olympics

University of Edinburgh Swim Team members are competing for a place in the 2012 Olympics.

Eight men and four women from the team are swimming in the Olympic and Paralympic Trials this week, which take place in the London Olympic Pool.

Swimmers must finish either first or second in their race and achieve the Olympic qualifying time in order to qualify for the London Games.

The events are being televised on the BBC’s red button service at 6.25pm, or online at:

Qualifying for Olympic Trials is a big achievement in itself. The amount of swimmers from the University who are competing shows how far our Performance Swimming Team has come in recent years, and overall the future for the club looks extremely bright.

Gayle BiggartPresident of Edinburgh University Swimming and Water Polo Club

Going for gold

The University has an impressive record in swimming events.

In the 2011 Commonwealth Games, five University of Edinburgh Swim Team members competed in swimming events.

In those games, Michael Jamieson came second in the men’s 200m breaststroke event, missing out on gold by just 0.12 seconds.

In the same event, fellow University Swim Team member Kris Gilchrist finished fifth. Kris previously won a relay medal as part of the 2006 Commonwealth Games team.

Of this week’s competitors, Richard Schafers - a student in chemical physics who is competing in the 50m and 100m Freestyle - is the current Scottish record holder for the 50m event.

High performance programme

The University’s swimming team’s success is built on Edinburgh’s Performance Swimming Programme and a strong club structure. Launched in 2008, the programme has attracted several top swimmers to the University.

It combines swimming training with sports conditioning - weight and circuit training - as well as constant attention from physiotherapists.

The swimming team also works closely with the University’s Centre for Aquatics Research & Education, a centre for research into topics such as rhythm in swimming and drag in water.

The centre uses underwater cameras and other technology to analyse swimmers technique, aiding with the split-second improvements that can mean the difference between first and last place in top-level swimming events.