James Wilby (swimmer)

James Wilby (born 12 November 1993) is a British competitive swimmer who specialises in the breaststroke.[2] He has represented Great Britain at two FINA World Aquatics Championships, winning a silver in the 100m breaststroke and a gold in the medley relay, and England at two Commonwealth Games, where he has won two gold medals.

James Wilby
Personal information
National teamGreat Britain
Born (1993-11-12) 12 November 1993[1]
Glasgow, Scotland
Height1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight83 kg (183 lb)
ClubLoughborough NC
CoachDave Hemmings



Finishing the 2009 season with a modest personal best time of 2:32.64 in the 200 metres breaststroke, Wilby took a chunk off this in May, swimming a 2:26.60 to qualify for the National Youth Championships. A then 16-year-old Wilby came in under the radar, setting a new personal best of 2:24.89 in the heats – qualifying 6th fastest for the semi-finals. A small improvement of 2:24.70 was enough to finish in 9th place in the semi-final, beating a then-unknown Adam Peaty. In the final, Wilby swam the best race of his life so far, again surpassing his PB and winning the National 15/16 years title in an impressive 2:20.13.[3]

Wilby went on to win bronze in the 100 metres breaststroke with a time of 1:04.57 – the gold on this occasion going to Rio Olympian Craig Benson.[4]


At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Wilby competed in all three breaststroke events; qualifying for the final in the 200 m - where he placed 6th in a time of 2:11.53 and the 100 m where he placed 7th in a time of 1:01.07. He was also part of the English team that won gold in the 4 × 100 metre medley relay event, swimming in the heats but not in the final.[5]


At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Wilby won a surprise gold in the 200 metre breaststroke event[6] with a winning time of 2:08.05, which is the fourth fastest time in the world this year (correct as of 3 August 2018).[7][8] He also won a silver behind compatriot Adam Peaty in the 100 metre breaststroke with a personal best time of 59.43 seconds,[9] and a bronze in the 50 metre breaststroke.[10]

At the 2018 European Aquatics Championships, Wilby won heat four in the 100 metre breaststroke in a new personal best time of 59.12 qualifying second fastest for the final in 59.23. In the final, Wilby set a personal best time of 58.64 to win the silver medal,[11] and became the equal fourth fastest 100m breaststroker in history; behind Brendan Rickard (58.58), Cameron Van Der Burgh's Olympic Gold from 2012 (58.44) and the winner of the European 100m title itself, Adam Peaty, who won in a world record time of 57.10*.[12] The following day he added another silver medal in the 200 metre breaststroke.[13]


Wilby opened his 2019 long course season, with a 59.42 in the 100m and 2:09.71 in the 200m, taking three British University titles and records.[14] At the World Championship Trials, Wilby took silver behind Adam Peaty, in the 100m in the third fastest time in the world this year of 58.66, then took the British title in the 200m with a time of 2:07.49.[15] Wilby also had a 27.20 heat swim in the 50 breaststroke.

At the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, Wilby won his first World Championships medal after he won silver behind Peaty.[16] He became the equal third fastest 100m breaststroke swimmer in history with a time of 58.46 that matches Cameron Van Der Bergh's London Olympic gold medal swim, which was a world record at the time. He also won a bronze as part of the team in the 4 × 100 m mixed medley relay. He swam in the heats but not in the final.[17][18] Wilby also swam in the heats of the men's 4 × 100 metre medley relay.[19] The final was won by Luke Greenbank, Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott, Duncan Scott in a European record time of three minutes, 28.10 seconds, and the gold medal is Britain's first in the event at the World Championships.[20]

Career best times

Long course (50-metre pool)

All details correct as of 15 May 2019
Event Time Venue Date
200 m breaststroke 2:07.49 Tolcross, Glasgow 19 April 2019
100 m breaststroke 58.46 Gwangju, South Korea 22 July 2019
50 m breaststroke 27.20 Tolcross, Glasgow 17 April 2018

Wilby's 100 metres breaststroke personal best of 58.46 puts him second on the British all-time list behind world record holder Adam Peaty.[21] Over 200 metres, Wilby is ranked third on the British all-time list, 0.06 behind the 2012 Olympic Silver medal winning performance from Michael Jamieson, and Ross Murdoch, who set the British record on his way to triumph at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.[22]

Wilby made a huge breakthrough at the start of the 2018 season in the 50 metres, smashing through the 28-second barrier for the first time in his career. Then in 2019, took another 0.17 off his best time to become the second fastest in British history, behind World record holder Adam Peaty.[23]


  1. "James Wilby". British Swimming.
  2. "James Wilby athlete profile GC2018". Team England. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  3. "Boys 15/16 Yrs 200m Breaststroke - Final Full Results".
  4. "British Gas ASA Nat Age Grp Champs - SPORTSYSTEMS Meet Results Service".
  5. "Podium dream for York swim ace James Wilby". The Press. 27 March 2015.
  6. Richardson, Joe. "Commonwealth Games gold medal glory for York swimmer James Wilby". The Press.
  7. "Results - Men's 200m Breaststroke Final". Gold Coast 2018.
  8. "Swimming World Ranking". Fina.
  9. "Adam Peaty sets Games record to defend Commonwealth title". Swimming.org. 7 April 2018.
  10. "England's Adam Peaty beaten by Cameron van der Burgh in 50m breaststroke". Sky Sports. 9 March 2018.
  11. "Results - Men's 100m Breaststroke Final". European Championships 2018.
  12. "57.10s Record for Peaty at Euros". swimswam.com. 5 August 2018.
  13. "Wilby wins silver in 'mighty tight' 200m breaststroke final". BBC Sport. 6 August 2018.
  14. "Wilby Posts World's #3 100 Breast Time; Scott Anchors in 48.22 at BUCS". Swim Swam.
  15. "Men Open 200m Breaststroke - SPORTSYSTEMS Meet Results Service". www.swimmingresults.org.uk. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  16. Cohen, Sonny (22 July 2019). "Adam Peaty wins 100m breaststroke gold at world championships". The Guardian.
  17. "Britain's Mixed Medley relay team set up semi-final showdown in Gwangju". Swimming.org. 24 July 2019.
  18. "Watch: GB clinch bronze in 4x100m medley relay". BBC Sport. 24 July 2019.
  19. "Max Litchfield and relay teams seal finals spot on last day of World Championships". Swimming.org. 28 July 2019.
  20. Field, Pippa (28 July 2019). "Adam Peaty: Winning relay world title with Great Britain 'better than Olympic gold'". The Telegraph.
  21. "Individual Rankings (James Wilby - All Time) Male - 100m Breaststroke - Long Course - Open Age Group".
  22. "Individual Rankings (James Wilby - All Time) Male - 200m Breaststroke - Long Course - Open Age Group".
  23. "Individual Rankings | James Wilby - 50m Breaststroke - Long Course - Open Age Group - All Time | Swim England". www.swimmingresults.org. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
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