British Swimming strengthens ties with Japan ahead of Tokyo 2020

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Duncan Scott, Miles Munro, Martyn Walton and Luke Greenbank
Rising British Swimming stars Duncan Scott, Miles Munro, Martyn Walton and Luke Greenbank won Youth Olympic 4x100m relay gold at Nanjing 2014.

British Swimming hopes a partnership with Japan will boost medal prospects at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The deal will see GB swimmers head to Japan for training and acclimatisation programmes over the next six years.

Three British Youth Olympic medallists form part of an eight strong group for the first camp in Tokyo next month.

"We're trying to accelerate the development of those we expect to be in their prime by 2020," said Tim Jones, of British Swimming.

The 'head of performance pathway' continued; "The quality of youth swimming in Japan is beyond anything in comparison with the rest of the world, except perhaps the USA.

"They work harder and for longer hours than we do from a younger age - because of their education system - so there will be things we can learn."

Jones - a former international swimmerexternal-link - previously worked for British Gymnastics, who operated a similar 'acclimatisation approach' ahead of the 2011 Tokyo World Championships, which were crucial to London Olympic qualification.

Rising British talent in Japan training camp:
Charlie AttwoodEmma Cain
Luke GreenbankGeorgia Coates
Duncan ScottHolly Hibbott
Martyn WaltonRosie Rudin

The 'Tokyo 2020 project' will see both junior and senior swimmers from Japan and Britain train in each nation through to - and potentially beyond the Tokyo Olympics.

Science and medicine techniques will also be shared, as will information for the development of novice and elite coaches.

Luke Greenbank, who was part of the men's team who won 4x100m freestyle medley gold at the Nanjing Youth Olympics this summer, is part of the first group of athletes to head out to Japan.

"It's great to be able to get more experience out in that part of the world where the conditions - as I learnt in China - are so different to home," he told BBC Sport.

Team-mate Georgia Coates added; "I've never been anywhere outside of Europe, so to sample Japan and train with different types of swimmers will hopefully help me learn."

Georgia Coates
Georgia Coates won 200m individual medley silver and 400m IM bronze at the 2014 European Juniors.