OLYMPIC champion Anna Hopkin suspects the standard of British swimming has never been higher.

The Chorley-born star swam the final leg of the 4x100 mixed medley relay as Team GB stormed to a stunning gold at Tokyo 2020.

She is among a raft of famous faces returning to the pool at the British Swimming Championships this week where she hopes to further her selection hopes for the summer’s World Aquatics Championships.

With a second Olympics firmly on the horizon too, the event in Sheffield marks a significant checkpoint on the road to Paris, where Hopkin believes Team GB can better the record eight medals they picked up in 2020.

“We’re not just trying to make teams anymore, we want to win medals,” said Hopkin, who trains in Loughborough at the British Swimming Performance Centre.

“I’ve not been on teams for too long, but I’d say for Tokyo it was the best the team has ever been.

“Obviously, it was our most successful Olympic Games and we’ve just got to carry that momentum through and hopefully by next year in Paris, we’ll have an even stronger team.”

To aid their preparation for the upcoming season, Hopkin and her teammates spent much of the winter in Australia on an intense training camp, sharing the pool with some of the best from down under.

Now back on home soil, Hopkin and team are ready to show off what they have learned and believes a shift in focus can help the team soar to new heights.

“We’re putting quite a lot of emphasis on relays,” she said.

“I know the men have obviously had a lot of success in relays over the past few years and so it’s really nice to have the mixed relay doing so well.

“Kathleen [Dawson] and I were able to be on that in the Olympics and I think the goal is for the women’s relays to be as successful as the men’s.

“As the standards get higher, I think people want to be on those teams and they want to be on those relays because they want to be the ones winning the medals. As a whole, I think everyone’s aiming higher.”

The next step on the road to Paris lies at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, with a six-day spectacular in store that runs until Sunday.

Hopkin is relishing the opportunity to shine in front of a home crowd once more.

“It’s the first competition of the season where we are resting down and preparing to swim fast,” she said. “It will give us a good indication of how things might go for the rest of the season and we are trying to make the teams for the World Championships, so we have to swim well to be able to move onto the next stage.

“I think it’ll be a good show.”

n Tickets are still available for the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield (April 4-9). Head over to //britishswimming.org/events-and-tickets for more information - or watch all the action from every session on the British Swimming YouTube channel.