Pickering, 39, believes Rebecca Adlington represents Team GB’s best hope at the Games – but she is also tipping Ellen Gandy to claim gold in the 200m butterfly.
â€œI think we are going to have a very successful time in the pool,” Pickering told The Sport Review. “Thereâ€™s Rebecca Adlington, but the athlete Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing is Ellen Gandy, who got a silver at the World Championships in Shanghai this year.
“I think she could be an outsider for gold. Sheâ€™s going to be someone who I am really excited to see step-up.”
Pickering, Great Britain’s most successful swimmer, is confident Adlington will be able to cope with the pressure of defending her 400m and 800m freestyle Olympic crowns in front of a home crowd.
“The media expectation is on her but she had quite a lot of pressure on her this year and she handled it well, winning the 800m at the World Championships,” she added. “I think she will certainly be favourite to win the 800m.
“And that will be a lot of pressure at home because not only is she going to be favourite in terms of swimming but she is going to be a favourite in terms of the whole swimming team.
“She’s got a lot to live up to but she’s had a great year and going into those championships there is only one other girl who could challenge her.”
And Pickering expects the comebacks of swimmers Ian Thorpe, Janet Evans and Michael Klim to be the main talking points at the 2012 Games – and she admits she will be intrigued to see how they perform.
â€œI think itâ€™s going to be a tough story to match Michael Phelps eight golds,” she said. “It will be a tough story to beat.
“But there are so many athletes making a comeback like Thorpe, Evans, Klim. These athletes whoâ€™ve come out of retirement to make these Games could create some big stories.”
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