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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Liam Tancock hopes British swimmers can boost profiles

British Gas Duel in the Pool
Venue: Manchester Aquatics Centre Date: 18-19 December 2009
Coverage: 18 December: 1900-2100 GMT, BBC Three and online; 19 December: 1345-1630 GMT, BBC One and online (UK only)

Liam Tancock
Tancock won world 50m backstroke gold earlier this year

Liam Tancock hopes British swimmers can become household names by competing in events like December's Duel in the Pool versus the United States in Manchester.

The European team, named on Wednesday, sees backstroke world champion Tancock line up with Rebecca Adlington and more top British, Italian and German stars.

"We're doing so well as a nation that people want to see it," said Tancock.

"If we can make household names and make swimming a bit more of a showcase, more enjoyable, so much the better."

Adlington is arguably the only British swimmer to enjoy widespread recognition following her Olympic gold medals in the 400m and 800m freestyle events.

But Exeter 24-year-old Tancock, the current long course (50m pool) backstroke world champion, believes big names competing on home soil will introduce new stars to a British audience.

It's a fantastic experience for us to be team-mates with some of our rivals and race against one of the top swimming nations in the world

Liam Tancock

"That's one of the things I'd like to see," he said.

"We've seen (US swimming sensation) Michael Phelps do great thing for our sport.

"As you can see by the names coming over, the likes of Phelps, Aaron Peirsol, Ryan Lochte and Katie Hoff, all these massive names want to come over and race in Britain, so we've got to be doing something right."

Twelve other Britons will join the combined British, German and Italian team, including fellow world record holders Joanne Jackson and Gemma Spofforth.

British coach Dennis Pursley believes the team will be a "strong challenge" to US stars such as Phelps, Peirsol and Lochte, who were named in the American team earlier in the month.

"It'll be exciting for spectators and our team will feed off this," he said.

"The format is made for a thrilling event. It's short and sweet with just one opportunity to get it right as the programme is made up of straight finals with no heats."

Tancock and Spofforth, Britain's two gold medal winners in Rome, each hold long course world records in the men's 50m backstroke and women's 100m backstroke respectively.

However, the Manchester pool will be short course length, 25m, in which Jackson holds the 400m freestyle record.


Britain's contribution to the team comprises 14 swimmers, as does the Italian contingent, while Germany will send eight competitors.

"We've got a pretty strong team and everyone's up for it," said Tancock.

"It's a fantastic experience for us to be team-mates with some of our rivals and race against one of the top swimming nations in the world.

"Aaron Peirsol has been at the top of his game in backstroke for a number of years, as has Ryan Lochte, they're going to be very strong in the backstroke events and they're my biggest rivals.

"This is the end of our short course season and it's coming up to Christmas so it's quite a nice time to race, there's less pressure. It's good preparation leading into the long course season next year."

Absent from the team is Paul Biedermann, who beat Phelps to 200m freestyle gold in a world record time in Rome, as well as German star Britta Steffen, who claimed world 100m freestyle gold ahead of Britain's Fran Halsall.

However, Italian Federica Pellegrini has been named in the team, despite fears she would miss the event as she mourned national coach Alberto Castagnetti, who died last month.

Aaron Peirsol and Michael Phelps
Peirsol (left) and Phelps will lead the US men's team

Tancock said he planned to wear Speedo's 2010 LZR suit at the event, one of the last competitions at which 2009's faster swimsuits will be legal.

New regulations come into effect from 1 January which outlaw the faster suits after a glut of record-breaking - and, it has been argued, swimsuit-assisted - performances.

However, he said he did not know what his team-mates, or rivals, would choose to wear in Manchester.

"I don't mind what people wear, it's their own choice," he said.

"I'm looking forward to next year. This year's been a bit different with technology, and rulings, and stuff that's out of our control.

"Next year we're all in a similar situation, so bring it on, it's going to be quite an exciting year."

The Duel in the Pool begins in Manchester on 18 December 2009 and runs for two days.

European select team:

From Britain: David Davies, James Goddard, Thomas Haffield, Michael Rock, Liam Tancock, Christopher Walker-Hebborn, Robbie Renwick, Rebecca Adlington, Francesca Halsall, Joanne Jackson, Hannah Miley, Elizabeth Simmonds, Gemma Spofforth, Caitlin McClatchey.
From Germany: Steffen Deibler, Hendrik Feldwehr, Marco Koch, Benjamin Starke, Annika Melhorn, Caroline Ruhnau, Daniela Schreiber, Daniela Samulski.
From Italy: Fedrico Colbertaldo, Christian Galenda, Edoardo Giorgetti, Filippo Magnini, Luca Marin, Joseph Davide Natullo, Fabio Scozzoli, Ilaria Bianchi, Chiara Boggiatto, Alessia Filippi, Caterina Giacchetti, Federica Pellegrini, Ilaria Scarcella, Francesca Segat.

US team:

Nathan Adrian, Mike Alexandrov, Jack Brown, Tyler Clary, Mark Gangloff, Matt Grevers, Michael Klueh, Chad La Tourette, Ryan Lochte, Sean Mahoney, Tyler McGill, Aaron Peirsol, Michael Phelps, Kevin Swander, Nick Thoman, Alex Vanderkaay, Peter Vanderkaay, Garrett Weber-Gale, Elizabeth Beisel, Missy Franklin, Katy Freeman, Jessica Hardy, Margaret Hoelzer, Katie Hoff, Dagny Knutson, Ariana Kukors, Christine Magnuson, Amber McDermott, Hayley McGregory, Mary DeScenza, Elizabeth Pelton, Allison Schmitt, Julia Smit, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, Amanda Weir.

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see also
Swimming calendar
17 Oct 00 |  Swimming
US stars 'wary of British threat'
28 Oct 09 |  Swimming
Phelps set to compete in Britain
21 Oct 09 |  Swimming
Adlington hampered by media glare
03 Aug 09 |  Swimming
Swimming world records in Rome
03 Aug 09 |  Swimming
Tancock claims gold for Britain
02 Aug 09 |  Swimming
Spofforth sets record to win gold
28 Jul 09 |  Swimming
Hi-tech suits banned from January
31 Jul 09 |  Swimming

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