White Rose has the swimmers ready to bloom

Swimming endured something of a bad rap in 2012.

Only two people won medals at the London Olympics and then one of those, Rebecca Adlington, twisted the knife a few months later when the governing body stuttered into the first lap of the next four-year cycle.

UK Sport’s response to the poor Olympic haul was to slash the sport’s funding for the next four years.

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The retirement of Joanne Jackson, one of the country’s few Olympic medallists, and Gemma Spofforth, a world record-holder and global title- holder, added a lack of depth to the absence of leadership.

Yet as 2013 dawns, there is hope for a brighter future, despite the decrease in cash.

And as Jackson paddles off onto pastures new, Yorkshire itself has an abundance of contenders ready to dive in and swim the next leg.

Beverley’s Lizzie Simmonds has long been a serious contender at international meets, and she is not 22 until later this month.

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The backstroke specialist is twice a European champion and a Commonwealth Games medallist who actually did as well as any of those who missed the medals at London by finishing fourth in the 200m in what was her second Olympics.

Middlesbrough’s Aimee Willmott, 19, finished 11th on her Olympic debut in the 400m individual medley and has already built on that by winning a bronze in the 800m freestyle at the European short-course championships in November.

The City of Sheffield duo of Ellie Faulkner, 19, and Becky Turner, 20, both did well in the relays at London and returned from last month’s world short-course championships in Istanbul with more major meet experience under their belts.

On the men’s side, Rotherham’s Joe Roebuck, 27, battled with fitness during London but remains one of the best medley and butterfly swimmers in the country.

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And Dewsbury’s Matthew Johnson, 17, who trains in Sheffield, is climbing the ladder quickly.

The goal for them all is the world championships in Barcelona at the end of July, with Yorkshire staging two important meets on the road to the Catalan capital.

The John Charles Aquatics Centre in Leeds hosts the British Gas open meet on March 7-10 and Ponds Forge in Sheffield stages the British Gas Championships from June 26-30.