THE fight is on to overturn British Swimming’s decision not to take Selston’s Molly Renshaw to the London Olympics as part of Team GB.
The 16-year-old Derventio eXel star became British champion at Sheffield last weekend with victory in the 200m at the ASA National Championships – the fourth fastest British woman in history in the event.
She finished the final in two minutes 27.72 seconds, more than three seconds clear of her nearest rival, but missed the qualification time of 2.26.89 - just 0.9 seconds outside the A standard Olympics qualification time.
Ironically she has already swum inside that time at the previous qualifier in London in March, but was beaten on the touch by Stacy Tadd.
Derventio head coach Andi Manley said: “Every other country in the world has one trial and the fastest two swimmers are selected if they hit the time. The chance to swim a home Olympics only comes around once in a lifetime and Molly should be given her opportunity because she’s made the qualifying time.”
British Swimming say Renshaw’s London time does not count when it comes to choosing the team, the rules stating that she had to achieve the A standard again in Sheffield where her task was made all the more difficult because Tadd, having already qualified, elected not to swim the event, leaving her without serious competition.
Andi said: “They are right in that, reading their selection policy, Molly hasn’t met one of the massive list of criteria on there.
“We are arguing that their policy is flawed and biased towards certain swimmers.
“I can’t believe it is right to have a policy that lets someone in Molly’s situation slip through the net.
“As it stands Molly will be sat at home this summer watching TV while there will be a vacant lane sitting there in the race at the Olympics. It just doesn’t make sense.”
The initial appeal was rejected on Wednesday so the team are now calling on British Swimming to appoint an independent legal panel from a sports resolution group to review the situation.
They could decide there are no grounds for the appeal or call for a hearing so both sides can put their case.
The final hope would be to challenge the decision legally and take the fight to a court of arbitration.
“That would be very much a last resort and not one we would want to go down if we didn’t have to,” added Andi.