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BRITISH TALENT TO TEST THEMSELVES AT EUROPEANS
The strong squad will be competing in Antwerp and will take on the finest junior swimmers in Europe.
Although sending a smaller squad in comparison to those in more recent years, the team is not lacking in talent with all having realistic aspirations of being at the 2012 Olympic Games.
With the sport preparing for the London Games in just under five years time, the European Junior Championships both this year and next will have greater significance as the athletes competing in these championships will be in their prime.
The squad is a mix of experience and newcomers, with Lizzie Simmonds, a member of the World Championship squad that competed in Melbourne earlier this year heading the team, and she will look to defend the 200m Backstroke title she won last time around.
"I'm really looking forward to the competition and trying to defend my 200m Backstroke title," said Simmonds.
"My preparations have been going really well and I have been in a tough training block since the World Championships. I haven't really competed since Worlds, and am not particularly tapered going into the meet."
As one of the youngest at last year's championships, Simmonds will face new opponents although there will be some familiar faces.
"Some of the athletes I raced last year will compete again although a number of others from 2006 will now be too old to compete," said the Lincoln Vulcans swimmer, "but I'm looking forward to the meet and will go out there to do the best I can."
Simmonds will be the most senior member of the squad and many of the younger swimmers will look to her for guidance.
"I hope I can help the newcomers to the squad if they need it. After you settle in, it becomes easier to find you own way and being part of a team is a fantastic experience," said Simmonds.
As the team look forward to the start of competition, Head Coach Bill Pilczuk explained what is he is looking for from the squad.
"I am not focusing on the medal table for this meet," said Pilczuk. "It is an opportunity for those new to the set-up to gain experience at international level with the chance for them to win.
"The members of this squad are those who could potentially represent Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, with some of them also having realistic hopes for Beijing in 2008, and all of them will feature at the Olympic Trials next year," explained Pilczuk.
"For athletes with more experience of swimming at an international level this will be a good opportunity for them to lead from the front as they begin to, if not already the case, break into the senior squad."
The five-day competition runs from 18-22 July at the Wezenberg pool in Antwerp, twice host of the championships, and the British squad will go into the event with high hopes.
The European Junior Championships take place in Antwerp, Belgium from Wednesday 18th July to Sunday 22nd July.
The British Female squad comprises:
European Junior Championships 2007
Female Names Club Current Coach
Alexandra Warren Bath University Mark Skimming
Charlotte Broadbent City of Sheffield Russ Barber
Ellen Gandy Beckenham Tony Beckley
Emma Smithurst Derventio Excel Mark Rose
Hannah Askew Maxwell Kevin Brooks
Jenna Turner Ealing Dave Heathcock
Lauren Collins Co Birmingham Adam Ruckwood
Elizabeth Simmonds Lincoln Vulcans Marc Spackman
Rebecca Turner City of Sheffield Russ Barber
Robyn Matthews City of Edinburgh Frederic Vergnoux
Sasha Matthews Nova Centurion Bill Furniss
Sophie Allen Lincoln Vulcans Marc Spackman
Zoe Hester Reading Graeme Thomas
08. August 139
– but the sailors praise the new boats