Historic Speedo Aquatics GB Swimming Champs streamed more than half-a-million times

12 Apr 2024

The Speedo Aquatics GB Swimming Championships were streamed more than half a million times on BBC and Channel 4 platforms across a competition full of world-class racing.

An unforgettable Men’s 200m Freestyle finale on Sunday night brought the curtain down on a week that featured a trio of world records in the Paralympic programme, 19 athletes rubber-stamping their Olympic tickets to Paris with automatic nomination and incredible atmospheres across a full set of sold-out finals session, with more than 12,000 tickets purchased.

At home, thanks to a landmark deal with two broadcast partners, viewers were able to watch finals across BBC Sport, BBC iPlayer and Channel 4’s streaming platform and YouTube channel, with more than 550,000 streams recorded as of the final day of competition, with the audience watching on to see those athletes who will be aiming to star on the Olympic and Paralympic stage in Paris in the summer.

Among the highlights in the pool was that Olympic-standard Men's 200m Freestyle final, which saw Matt Richards triumph in dramatic style, while Will Ellard notched two S14 world records and Olivia Newman-Baronius equalled another world-best mark in the S14 category - the first world records at the London Aquatics Centre since 2019.

Brock Whiston and 12-year-old Iona Winnifrith shared the British title in the multi-classification Women's 100m Breaststroke, Olympic champions Anna Hopkin and Kathleen Dawson earned their second Olympic call-ups, and Oliver Morgan broke a 15-year British record in the Men's 100m Backstroke before doubling up in the 200m event.

All of that came after Adam Peaty stormed to a brilliant victory in the Men's 100m Breaststroke on the opening night, at the same pool that had seen him break that event's world record for the first time nine years ago, setting the tone for a breathless week.

Viewers in the stands and at home will also have seen the highest-ever number of athletes achieving the consideration time for the European Junior Swimming Championships to show the progression of the sport heading in the right direction - and away from any aspect of performance, more than 800 people from the community around the London Aquatics Centre, the majority of them children and young adults, were engaged in inclusive opportunities as part of the event's social impact programme, developing skills and promoting the benefits of a love of water. 

These included a free taster session with Level Water on World Autism Awareness Day for children with autism or other SEN needs, a holiday camp swim session with local sports group BADU, and a physical disability swimming taster session - with athletes including Brock Whiston, Anna Hopkin and Lyndon Longhorne attending the sessions to offer insight and support.

Reflecting on engagement in the venue, on poolside and on sofas across the country, Aquatics GB CEO Drew Barrand said: "We are very proud to reflect on the success of these Speedo Aquatics GB Swimming Championships, both in terms of the world-class performances on show in the water and the engagement that we saw with those watching on, supporting from the stands or even joining in across a series of community sessions, many from disadvantaged communities and who will have been experiencing aquatics for the first time.

"We know that there is a huge audience in this country for swimming and our other aquatic sports, and to see that there were more than half a million streams of this event across BBC Sport and Channel 4 goes to show just that. I would like to thank both broadcasters for the support they have showed and the way that they helped us bring such a high-quality event production to a mass audience. I can't wait to see the same for next month's Speedo Aquatics GB Diving Championships."

Attentions now turn to that flagship diving event, where all finals will be broadcast live on BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer.

200m Free Relay London 2024
The Men's 200m Freestyle event was a dramatic conclusion to last week's competition