Rudd: It's all about performance at Euros
TOP city swimming coach Jon Rudd is looking for performance, not necessarily medals, at the European Short Course championships next week.
Plymouth swimmers Antony James and Joe Patching will represent Great Britain in Chartres, France, while city student Gurate Scerbinskaite, 17, will represent Lithuania.
Scerbinskaite is a recent addition to the Plymouth Leander stable and specialises in the 200 and 400m freestyle events.
Her compatriot, Ruta Meilutyte, will however miss the Euros, opting for the World Short Course Championships next month.
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Leander's swimmers are carefully selecting which events they do to help them prepare for the World Long-Course Championships in July next year.
Rudd admitted he was not sure what his swimmers would be facing at the European Short Course event, which is running between November 22-25.
He said: "I'm not sure how strong the meeting is going to be.
"Quite often, after an Olympics, swimmers take time for a break.
"The championships are also being held a month earlier, in November instead of December, so it might be that some of them are saving themselves for the World Short Course event in December.
"It's difficult to tell, but I suspect our prospects (of doing well) may be better than the last couple of years, because the depth of quality of the opposition might be a little less than normal."
Rudd said both Commonwealth Games medallist and Olympian James and Patching, who won a gold medal at the European Junior Championships earlier this year, were swimming well.
Rudd said: "I would hope that they go to the event and deliver better short-course performances that they have ever shown in the past.
"What we will be doing is looking for the signs that they are going in the right direction.
"Winning medals, of course, would be nice, but this competition is a means to an end.
"What they are doing is getting ready for the big one – the World Long Course Championships next July."
Leander now has a four-strong Lithuanian contingent at Plymouth College, who are linked to the club through a swimming and education programme.
Scerbinskaite was linked to Leander and the college before this summer's London Olympics, when Meilutyte won an unexpected gold medal for Lithunania at the age of just 15.
Two other Lithuanians have joined since Meilutyte's triumph and the college has received a visit from her country's swimming chiefs.
Rudd, who coached the teenager to her gold medal, said: "We were talking about future plans and our future relationship.
"It's always going to make people take a look when you get a successful athlete from another country and I would think that's partly responsible at least for the new Lithuanians at the college."