2022 Commonwealth Games, Day 1 Prelims Preview: Titmus Highlights Opening Session

2022 COMMONWEALTH GAMES

  • 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

Ten events are on tap for the first swimming session of the 2022 Commonwealth Games on Friday. 

Six of the morning prelims — the men’s 400-meter freestyle, women’s 400 IM, women’s 200 free, women’s 100 free S9, men’s 200 breaststroke, and mixed 4×100 free relay — will go straight to finals later on Friday. The other four events — the men’s 50 butterfly, women’s 50 breast, men’s 100 backstroke, and women’s 100 fly — will feature a semifinal round first before finals on Saturday night. 

A packed summer schedule prevented some big names from making the trip to Birmingham, but there won’t be any shortage of stars with seven reigning world champions and eight current Olympic champions competing. 

Ariarne Titmus could steal the show on Day 1. After sitting out last month’s World Championships, the 21-year-old Aussie is slated to begin her return with the women’s 200 free. Titmus clocked a 1:53.31 at Australian Trials, just off her personal-best 1:53.09 from last June that ranks second all-time behind Frederica Pelligrini’s 1:52.98 from 2009. That world record is one of only two remaining from the super suit era, and Titmus could have her sights set on breaking it after lowering Katie Ledecky’s 400 free standard in May. She’ll be the heavy favorite in a 200 free field without defending champion Taylor Ruck, who opted to skip the meet along with fellow Canadien Penny Oleksiak after edging Titmus by .04 seconds in 2018. 

“I am feeling really good for Comm Games,” said Titmus, who will also contest the 800 free and 400 free on Monday and Wednesday, respectively. “I have improved in some areas since trials so I am looking forward to seeing how fast I can go at the Games.”

An Australian showdown is brewing in the men’s 400 freestyle, the first event on Friday’s schedule. Elijah Winnington owns the top-seeded time of 3:41.22, followed by fellow Aussies Mack Horton (3:43.92) and Sam Short (3:44.34). Ian Thorpe’s Commonwealth Games record of 3:40.08 has stood untouched for 20 years.  

Summer McIntosh was 11 years old the last time the Commonwealth Games were held. Now the rising Canadien star is the overwhelming favorite to take home the women’s 400 IM title in Birmingham after bringing home a world championship from Budapest — especially following the withdrawal of Kaylee McKeown, who owned the second-fastest time this season. Can McIntosh improve upon her world junior record of 4:32.04 from last month? She’s been as fast as 4:29.12 at a domestic meet in March, but it doesn’t appear that will be recognized as the world junior mark. Australia’s Kiah Melverton (4:39.78) and Jenna Forrester (4:36.77) figure to be McIntosh’s closest competition here. 

After the women’s 200 free heats, the women’s 100 free S9 is set to take place. It could be a tight battle between top-seeded 29-year-old Sophie Pascoe of New Zealand (1:02.37), 18-year-old Toni Shaw of Scotland (1:03.42), and 30-year-old Aussie Ellie Cole (1:03.49). Cole and Shaw placed third and fifth, respectively, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. 

There’s a deep field in the men’s 50 butterfly featuring 27-year-old Englishman Ben Proud, owner of the Commonwealth Games record (22.93). His 22.76 from semifinals at Worlds ranks fourth this year, but he’ll have to fend off a trio of Australians — Kyle Chalmers (23.21), Cody Simpson (23.68), and Matthew Temple (23.74) — along with Trinidad’s Dylan Carter (21.98) and defending champion Chad le Clos (23.86) of South Africa.

South Africa’s Lara van Niekerk boasts the only sub-30 entry time in the women’s 50 breaststroke field, her 29.72 ranking third in the world this year, but several swimmers should be in close pursuit. Compatriate Tatjana Schoenmaker (30.21), Australians Chelsea Hodges (30.15) and Jenna Strauch (30.82), and England’s Imogen Clark (30.10) and Sarah Vasey (30.23) are likely contenders to vie for the podium on Saturday night. 

South African teen Pieter Coetze will be looking to unseat defending champion Mitch Larkin in the men’s 100 backstroke. Last week’s scratch of 18-year-old Isaac Cooper leaves the race wide open between a trio of swimmers who have been sub-54 this year in Coetze (53.72), Larkin (53.73), Luke Greenbank (53.81), and Andrew Jeffcoat (53.72).

During an opening day that could feature several blowouts, the women’s 100 fly projects to be a heavyweight showdown. Twenty-two-year-old Canadien Maggie MacNeil got the better of Emma McKeon last summer in Tokyo, but the defending champion from Australia could be eyeing a statement swim after sitting out last month’s World Championships. MacNeil’s Olympic gold medal-winning time of 55.59 ranks No. 3 all-time while McKeon’s bronze performance ranks 10th.

In the men’s 200 breaststroke, it’s Zac Stubblety-Cook and everyone else. The world record holder and reigning Olympic champion is nearly three seconds ahead of the field on the entry list. Can the Aussie break his own standard of 2:05.95 set back in May? 

Australia’s mixed 4×100 free relay team will attempt to take down its world record of 3:19.38 from last month as the nation returns three of four members (minus Jack Cartwright) while also potentially adding reigning 100 free Olympic champion Emma McKeon. We may not see any of the big names in prelims, though. With an entry time of 3:21.81, England will be on the Aussies’ tail if they slip up at all.

In This Story

35
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

35 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David
2 months ago

The times at the commonwealth will be faster than worlds

CWG
2 months ago

Mixed 100 free relay should be exciting tonight for the minor medals… WR watch for Aus?

Petriasfan
2 months ago

Meg Harris and Madi Wilson in the the heats of the mixed 4x100m free relay surely is a heats swim to see who will make women’s 4x100m free alongside McKeon, O’Callaghan and Jack. Poor Wilson who had already swam a 1:56 200m free heat.

Troyy
Reply to  Petriasfan
2 months ago

I’m not sure Jack is a sure thing on the women’s 4×100 free because she shared her program for the week in IG stories and the relay had TBC next to it.

Negative Nora (they/them)
2 months ago

Strauch looked great especially given that the 50 isn’t her thing, continuing her momentum from worlds with a great heat swim

Gregory
2 months ago

Is no one watching these games? Barely any comments in the live thread

Troyy
Reply to  Gregory
2 months ago

There is no live thread.

Miss M
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

Yes there is!

Troyy
Reply to  Miss M
2 months ago

Ah, it’s hiding halfway down the front page!

Sub13
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

There is but it’s like halfway down the page. The formatting screwed up or something

Troyy
2 months ago

Slow 50 fly heats.

Edit: Just remembered there’s semis but Chalmers looked like he was working hard for that 23.4.

Last edited 2 months ago by Troyy
Troyy
2 months ago

Aussie MFR lineup is Southam Incerti Harris Wilson

Joel
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

Heat or straight final? Heat I assume

Troyy
Reply to  Joel
2 months ago

Only the women’s relays are straight to final.

Last edited 2 months ago by Troyy
Nono
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

This means one of Mckeon, Jack and MOC will skip MFR finals

Troyy
Reply to  Nono
2 months ago

Jack posted her program in stories on IG and it didn’t include the MFR.

Last edited 2 months ago by Troyy
commonwombat
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

Pfftt, don’t think she warrants a free pass onto the 4X100 finals line-up. This made even more stark by Harris splitting 52.59 & Wilson 52.32. USA & CAN, let alone any other country, are crying out for splits of that speed ! At least one of those HAS to be on the 4X100.

Gymswim
2 months ago

The livestream is really far behind, just starting the second heat on the stream but 2 minutes in on the TV.

torchbearer
Reply to  Gymswim
2 months ago

Livestream is jumping all over the place- forward and back!

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

Read More »