2022 Commonwealth Games: Day 1 Finals Preview


  • Friday, July 29 – Wednesday, August 3, 2022
  • Birmingham, England
  • Sandwell Aquatic Center
  • Start Times
    • Prelims: 10:30 am local / 5:30 am ET
    • Finals: 7:00 pm local / 2:00 pm ET
  • LCM (50m)
  • Meet Central
  • Event Schedule
  • Entry List
  • Entries (in seed order) – h/t to Troyy
  • Live Results

It’s night one of finals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and we’ve got a packed schedule. There are seven medal events tonight, with finals of the men’s 400 free, women’s 400 IM, women’s 200 free, men’s 100 back S9, women’s 100 free S9, men’s 200 breast, and the mixed 400 freestyle relay. There are also four semifinals on tap: the men’s 50 fly, women’s 50 breast, men’s 100 back, and women’s 100 fly.

Day 1 Finals Schedule

  • Men’s 400 Free Final
  • Women’s 400 IM Final
  • Women’s 200 Free Final
  • Men’s 100 Back S9 Final
  • Women’s 100 Free S9 Final
  • Men’s 50 Fly Semifinal
  • Women’s 50 Breast Semifinal
  • Men’s 100 Back Semifinal
  • Women’s 100 Fly Semifinal
  • Men’s 200 Breast Final
  • Mixed 4×100 Free Relay Final

Men’s 400 Free

Elijah Winnington, 2022 FINA Swimming Championship, Budapest, 2022 courtesy of Delly Carr, Swimming Australia

Elijah Winnington, 2022 FINA Swimming Championship, Budapest, 2022 courtesy of Delly Carr, Swimming Australia

Daniel Wiffen cracked a new Irish record of 3:47.43 to lead the way into tonight’s final. However, he’ll have to deal with Elijah Winnington, the new World Champion and fifth-fastest performer of all-time. Even if Winnington doesn’t get close to his 3:41.22, he still should have a lot more in the tank after qualifying fourth here in 3:48.32.

Australia got all three of their swimmers in the final, with Mack Horton and Sam Short joining Winnington. Both Horton and Short were also off their personal bests in prelims. Wiffen will have his work cut out for him trying to fend off the the three Australians, who will be eager to start the meet off with a podium sweep.

Lurking further back is South Africa’s Matt Sates. Sates said earlier this summer that Commonwealth Games is his focus meet–after fighting an illness at Worlds, does he have a big swim in store here? Wales’ Daniel Jervis snuck into the final in eighth–look for him to make a move tonight.

Women’s 400 IM

courtesy of Fabio Cetti

It’s all Summer McIntosh in the women’s 400 IM. She added three seconds from her gold-medal-winning and “world junior record” setting swim from Worlds, but she’s still almost five seconds clear of the rest of the field. The 15-year-old phenom is the clear favorite heading into tonight, and it’s less about if she’ll win gold than what time she’ll do it in.

Behind her though, there’s a four women battle shaping up for the silver and bronze medal. Kiah Melverton sits second in 4:41.44, ahead of Ella JansenFreya Colbert, and Tess CiepluchaJust over a second and a half separates these four, so each will have to be at her best if she wants to claim a step on the podium. If New Zealand’s Mya Rae Rasmussen can join in the fray, it’ll be an exciting final–even if there are two separate races happening.

Women’s 200 Free

Mollie O’Callaghan courtesy of Fabio Cetti

If the Australian men don’t sweep the podium in the 400 free, look for Australia’s first podium sweep to come in the women’s 200 free. The trio of Ariarne Titmus, Mollie O’Callaghan, and Madi Wilson will be hard to break up, as they hold an iron grip of the first three seeds. Titmus qualified almost a second ahead her teammate O’Callaghan, in 1:55.68. That’s a few seconds off her best, but she no doubt will be faster in the final–will she break the world record? She got within .11 seconds of it last year, and having the race on day 1 of the meet is a huge advantage.

Freya Anderson and Erika Fairweather likely have the best chance of breaking up the Australian party. Anderson set a lifetime best and finished sixth at Worlds, so we’ll see if she can improve on that place tonight. Fairweather was diagnosed with COVID-19 halfway through Worlds, but if she’s recovered fully she should be a factor in the final.

Men’s 100 Back S9

Jesse Reynolds Photo: Simon Watts/bwp.co.nz/Swimming New Zealand

Our first para swimming final of the night is the men’s s9 100 back. They didn’t race heats of this event during prelims, so this final will be our first look at the field.

Australia’s Timothy Hodge holds the top seed by over three seconds in 1:01.53. This seed time is actually under the world record of 1:01.65 set by Bogdan Mozgovoi at the Tokyo Games. In June, Hodge broke the 200 IM world record at the World Para Swimming Championships, finally breaking through and winning on the international scene. After being on the verge of breaking out for years, it seems like the floodgates have opened for Hodge–could we see him set another world record here?

With New Zealand’s Jesse Reynolds and Australia’s Harrison Vig and Brenden Hall taking up the next three seeds, it looks like we’re set for another all-Oceania podium. However, because these men didn’t race in the morning, it’s certainly possible that we’ll be surprised by one of the swimmers in the outside lanes. That kind of breakthrough would most likely come from Northern Ireland’s Barry McClements, as he’s the closest to the seed times of the favorites.

Women’s 100 Free S9

Sophie Pascoe Photo: Simon Watts/www.bwmedia.co.nz

Sophie Pascoe leads the field by .90 seconds in the women’s S9 100 free, setting her up well to claim New Zealand’s first gold medal of the the meet. The 2018 silver and bronze medalists, Alice Tai and Ellie Cole qualified safely into the final in third and seventh, so look for them to defend their podium places.

The Australians once again qualified all three of their athletes into the final, highlighting again Australia’s dominance through the first day of the meet. But with Scotland’s Toni Shaw sitting comfortably in second behind Pascoe, the Aussies have their work cut out for them if they want to have another event with multiple swimmers standing on the podium.

Men’s 200 Breast

Zac Stubblety-Cook courtesy of Fabio Cetti

The men’s 200 breast is another event where there are two separate races happening. In this case, it’s Zac Stubblety-Cook versus his own world record, then the rest of the field fighting it out for silver and bronze. Stubblety-Cook has been on a roll in this event, following up his Olympic gold with a world record at Australian Trials, then winning at Worlds. Barring disaster, he’s a lock for gold here as well, and could reset his world record.

Scotland’s Ross Murdoch qualified in second with 2:11.35. Though he’ll likely see his Commonwealth Games record go down tonight, he’s put himself in a strong position to defend his silver medal from 2018. He’ll be trying to hold off James Wilby, Matt Wilson, and Maximillian Ang, who all posted times within a second of him. Ang’s Singapore teammate Nick Mahabir got close to Ang’s national record in the 200 breast at U.S Nationals, so we’ll see if Ang can respond from across the Atlantic.

Mixed 4×100 Free Relay

Australian relay

Kyle Chalmers, Madi Wilson, Mollie O’Callaghan, Jack Catwright
courtesy of Fabio Cetti

In Budapest, the Australian quartet of Jack Cartwright, Kyle ChalmersWilson, and O’Callaghan set a world record of 3:19.38 to win gold. The Australians looked in full control of this race in prelims, even without their world-record setting squad. They swam 3:22.14, almost six seconds clear of England, the next fastest team at 3:28.03. The Aussies have a multitude of options for who they could use on the relay tonight, and are not only the gold-medal favorites, but are a serious threat to reestablish the world record.

England and Canada seem like a lock for the silver and bronze medals, but Wales and Scotland will try and make it close. This will be our first look at Duncan Scott in an international final this season, as he withdrew from Worlds because of post-COVID training struggles. Scott has a loaded schedule for this meet, and this will be our first indication about his form.

Day 1 Semifinal Quick Hits

  • In prelims, Kyle Chalmers edged Ben Proud by .01 for the top seed heading into tonight’s 50 fly semifinal. That swim teased a tantalizing final tomorrow night, as Australia’s sprint fly group is suddenly surging. Both should have no problem qualifying for the final, but Dylan Carter, the 2018 silver medalist, will also be in the hunt for the top seed. 2018 champion Chad Le Clos is sitting eighth, and he’ll have to work hard to hold that spot against rising stars like Josh Liendo and Cody Simpson.
  • Lara Van Niekerk set a new 50 Breast Commonwealth Games record of 29.82 this morning. As the only woman under 30 seconds through the heats, she’s the clear favorite here. Her new record is about a tenth off her lifetime best, so we know she’s capable of undercutting the record again. After skipping Worlds, her country-mate Tatjana Schoenmaker is sitting fourth.
  • South Africa also leads the way in the men’s 100 back, with Pieter Coetze touching in 53.91, more than half a second clear of the rest of the field. Look for England’s duo of Brodie Williams and Luke Greenbank to make a move tonight. Defending champion Mitch Larkin qualified in seventh, with a 54.85. Larkin hasn’t on form so far this season, but it would still be a big surprise if he was shut out of tomorrow night’s final.
  • The only women under 58 seconds in the morning, Emma McKeon and Maggie MacNeil established themselves as the clear favorites in the 100 fly. Those were promising swims for the two after skipping international competition in this event: McKeon forwent Worlds and MacNeil didn’t swim any individual events there. We’ll see if they can improve those times tonight.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

Read More »