As British swimmers leapt from the London 2012 starting blocks, they should have been doing so in full confidence.
But their performance was one of the few lowlights of 2012, with the team securing three medals instead of UK Sport’s target of at least five.
“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” said Rebecca Adlington, who won two of those medals. “And there is always this fear that if we don’t perform, we will get our funding cut.”
British Swimming’s funding was, indeed, cut by £4m. But it is not just at the elite level swimming has suffered.
Since 2008, grassroots participation has fallen from 3.2 million to 2.9 million a week, while the Amateur Swimming Association says 51% of children aged seven to 11 cannot swim 25m.
What has gone wrong with swimming in Britain?