The 2010 Commonwealth Games kick off today in Delhi, India, with the first swimming competition getting underway tomorrow evening. Throughout the games, we will be posting many Commonwealth Games-related articles, so stay tuned for that.
Live results are available through the official Commonwealth Games website at results.cwgdelhi2010.org.
Some of the races to watch over the next week include:
- Rebecca Addlington vs. the Australians in the 200 free – The meet will kick off with a bang as England’s Rebecca Addlington will be chasing a trio of talented Aussies in the 200 free: Blair Evans, Bronte Barratt, and Kylie Palmer. The Brit is better in the longer events, but she will likely go unchallenged in the 400 and 800. Addlington will also be chasing Federica Pelligrini’s world leading time of 4:03.12 in the 400 free.
- Sullivan-Hayden 2 – Aussie Eamon Sullivan and Canadian Brent Hayden are two of the best 100m freestylers in the world. Hayden doesn’t get nearly enough pub, considering he has the third best time in the world this season. The Canadian got the best of this matchup at Pan Pacs, but Sullivan wasn’t quite on top of his game there. I expect him to rebound and make this a much more exciting dual at the CG’s.
- Women’s 100 back record watch – Australian Emily Seebohm currently has the second best time in the world (59.21), with Engalnd’s Elizabeth Simmonds and Gemma Spofforth sitting third and fourth with matching 59.4’s. Even more exciting is that all three of those times were swum in March, meaning all three swimmers should be hitting their tapers again. There’s an outside chance that they push each other towards a run at Spofforth’s World Record of 58.12.
- Men’s 100 back record watch – At Euro’s, Camille LaCourte of France came within a hair of breaking both the 50 and 100 meter backstroke World Records, which would have been the first since the high-tech polyurethane suits were outlawed. England’s Liam Tancock was just behind in both of those races, and it’s his turn to take a shot at the records. Both of his season bests were swum in March, meaning that Tancock might not have been at his best at Euro’s and saving himself for these Games. He’s about half a second off of his own record in the 50, where he’s always been good, but over the past few years he has hugely improved his 100, where he’s a second away from Aaron Peirsol’s time.
- Ryan Cochrane Swims Alone – Watching Ryan Cochrane swim won’t be exciting because of a tight race or heated competition. In fact, Cochrane will likely be swimming alone, well ahead of the field, in most of his races. But Cochrane makes distance swimming exciting. He swims without a cap, in true Canadian spirit, and should achieve the world’s best times in the 1500 (there is no men’s 800 at the CG’s, though he would run away with that race too), even without a serious challenger.
- Jones chasing the Virtual World Title in the 100 breast – This year, American Rebecca Soni has seemed untouchable in the 100 and 200 meter breaststrokes. Australia’s Leisel Jones, however, has a chance at taking a run for David Rieder’s virtual World Championship in the 100, where she was only .7 back at Pan Pacs.
- Intrasquad shootout – Any time the Australian women’s national team is involved, the 50 fly is my favorite race to watch. At Pan Pacs, Marieke Guehrer, Yolane Kukla, and Emily Seebohm were within a tenth of a second of each other. This is going to be a wire-to-wire nail biter, and a can’t-miss race if there is one at this meet.
- Men’s Relays – All three relays will be a great showdown between Australia and England. Both relays underachieved at their continental championship meets, and I look for both to do much better here. Canada, though they have some superstars at the top of their roster, doesn’t seem to have the depth to compete in the relays, but don’t entirely count them out.
- Women’s 400 free relay – At Pan Pacs, Australia nipped Canada in this relay by .06 seconds. Great Britain’s Euros time was about four tenths back. This is Canada’s best chance at a gold medal on the women’s side, and they will be gunning hard for the title, but Australia and England undoubtedly have more star power in the race.
There aren’t many threats for winners outside of the big 4 nations of Australia, South Africa, Canada, and England, so this essentially becomes a quad-meet between those four nations (with rare exceptions, such as Hannah Miley who swims for Scotland in CG competition, and is a lock to win the 400 IM). The schedule will be jam-packed full of action, with the full Olympic schedule plus the 50 meter races being contested over 5 days.
Non-Olympic even-numbered years always produce interesting results, because there are so many different championship meets available that it’s never quite certain how everyone’s taper will shake out until all is said-and-done in November.