Paris 2024: Anna Hopkin is hoping to impress at the upcoming British Swimming Championships in Sheffield, which runs from 4-9 April. The Chorley-born star swam the final leg of the 4×100 mixed medley relay as Team GB stormed to a stunning gold at the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021 and is among what she calls the strongest swimming team the country have ever had.

Standard of British swimming

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The Olympic champion Anna Hopkin suspects the standard of British swimming has never been higher. The Chorley-born star swam the final leg of the 4×100 mixed medley relay as Team GB stormed to a stunning gold at Tokyo 2020.

Paris 2024: Eight medals they picked up in 2020

She is among a raft of famous faces returning to the pool at the British Swimming Championships, where she hopes to further her selection hopes for the summer’s World Aquatics Championships.

With a second Olympics firmly on the horizon too, the event in Sheffield marks a significant checkpoint on the road to Olympic Paris 2024, where Hopkin believes Team GB can better the record eight medals they picked up in 2020.

“We’re not just trying to make teams anymore, we want to win medals,” said Hopkin, who trains in Loughborough at the British Swimming Performance Centre.

“I’ve not been on teams for too long, but I’d say for Tokyo it was the best the team has ever been.

“Obviously, it was our most successful Olympic Games and we’ve just got to carry that momentum through and hopefully by next year in Olympic Paris, we’ll have an even stronger team.”

To aid their preparation for the upcoming season, Hopkin and her teammates spent much of the winter in Australia on an intense training camp, sharing the pool with some of the best from down under.

Olympic Swimming Hopkin and Team back on Home Soil: Olympic Paris 2024

Now back on home soil, Hopkin and team are ready to show off what they have learned and believes a shift in focus can help the team soar to new heights.

“We’re putting quite a lot of emphasis on relays,” she said. “I know the men have obviously had a lot of success in relays over the past few years and so it’s really nice to have the mixed relay doing so well.

“Kathleen [Dawson] and I were able to be on that in the Olympics and I think the goal is for the women’s relays to be as successful as the men’s.

“As the standards get higher, I think people want to be on those teams and they want to be on those relays because they want to be the ones winning the medals. As a whole, I think everyone’s aiming higher.”

The next step on the road to Paris 2024 lies at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, with a six-day spectacular in store from April 4-9.

Hopkin is relishing the opportunity to shine in front of a home crowd once more.

Olympic Swimming: first competition of the season

“It’s the first competition of the season where we are resting down and preparing to swim fast,” she said.

“It will give us a good indication of how things might go for the rest of the season and we are trying to make the teams for the World Championships, so we have to swim well to be able to move onto the next stage. I think it’ll be a good show.”

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Alice Dearing backed for Paris 2024 Olympics push after Tokyo experience by Keri-Anne Payne

Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne believes Alice Dearing’s experience at Tokyo 2020, combined with three years more training, will mean Dearing can challenge for a medal at Paris 2024. Dearing became the first black female swimmer to represent Britain at an Olympic Games last year where she finished in 19th place in the 10km event at the competition.

Alice Dearing has been told her turbulent Tokyo experience will harden her for the heat of Paris 2024 Olympic battle.

The Birmingham marathon swimming star, 25, became the first black female swimmer to represent Britain at an Olympic Games last year where she finished in 19th place in the 10km event.

Olympic Swimming: Keri-anne Payne swimmer

But Keri-anne Payne, a Beijing 2008 marathon swimming silver medallist, believes that crucial first Olympic experience combined with three years more training will mean Dearing can challenge for a medal in Paris 2024.

The 35-year-old, speaking ahead of exactly 500 days to go until the Games this week, said: “The open water team in Britain at the moment is still a young team but it’s really important for Alice to have had that previous Olympic experience.

“With it being such a weird year with Covid, I really hope her training has been more robust this year.

“Training for an Olympics by yourself, in an endless pool in your garden when you’re a long distance swimmer that is really tough.

“But now, hopefully she’s had this time to work on tactics.

“Between Beijing and London I spent four years just racing as much as I could to try and deal with the punches, literally.

“It can be tough in that environment, but you’ve got to roll with it and not let that effect you so hopefully that’s what she took from Tokyo and it helps inspire her to Paris 2024.”

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Payne was catapulted into the spotlight during the Beijing 2008 Olympics after she won a silver medal in the women’s 10km event.

Olympic Swimming at Paris 2024: Hard Work and her Focus

With just four years until a home Games in London, the 35-year-old worked hard to focus on her skills and promote the sport of open water swimming.

Payne, speaking at a SportsAid Week event, added: “I got into open water just before the Beijing Olympic Games and came home with a silver medal,” she said.

“That really cemented my open water status from that point forward.

Paris 2024: Chalmers a Champion and Daiya Seto Swimmer Competing for Gold at Olympic Paris

“I spent the next four years really honing my skills ahead of a home Games, I mean to be a home athlete, I genuinely now know how Rockstar’s feel.

“Unfortunately I came forth in London which was really tough but in hindsight, now we’re ten years away, I still get people coming up to me and saying that because they watched that swim, I inspired them to take up open water swimming.

“To realise where the sport has come from and where it is now, that legacy is probably one of my proudest moments to date.”

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