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
After the mixed medley relay made its Olympic debut last summer, both mixed events will take place for the first time at the Commonwealth Games beginning Friday in Birmingham.
The Australians are the clear favorites to sweep the women’s relays, while the men’s events figure to be an intriguing battle between the Aussies and England.
The mixed relays fall somewhere in the middle. Australia, led by their strong female contingent, are the quickest on paper, but the English can put together some fast teams that could challenge for gold.
MIXED 4X100 FREESTYLE RELAY
- Commonwealth Record: 3:19.38, Australia, 2022 World Championships
- Commonwealth Games Record: N/A
- 2018 Commonwealth Champion: N/A
The Australians blasted a new world record in the mixed 400 free relay at the 2022 World Championships in June, producing a time of 3:19.38.
McKeon is the reigning Olympic champion in the women’s 100 free, and opted to sit out of Worlds. If we simply take the fastest splits produced by the Aussies in Budapest, not even factoring in McKeon, the team theoretically can get under the world record.
|Australia, World Record (2022 Worlds)||Australia, Fastest Splits (2022 Worlds)|
|Jack Cartwright – 48.12||William Yang – 48.41|
|Kyle Chalmers – 46.96||Kyle Chalmers – 46.60|
|Madi Wilson – 52.25||Mollie O’Callaghan – 52.03|
|Mollie O’Callaghan – 52.03||Madi Wilson – 52.25|
If McKeon is on form, watch out. She split as fast as 51.35 at the Tokyo Olympics, and subbing that in for Wilson would put Australia well into the 3:18s.
But this race isn’t a sure thing, given the strength of Team England.
However, using each of their fastest splits from the meet, they theoretically could be up to two seconds faster, with the majority of that difference coming from Dean, who split 46.95 on the men’s free relay but only led off in 48.25 here. Along with that, Burras was slower with an exchange (47.86) than he was individually (47.63).
|Great Britain, 2022 Worlds||England, Fastest Splits (2022 Worlds)|
|Tom Dean – 48.25||Lewis Burras – 47.63|
|Lewis Burras – 47.86||Tom Dean – 46.95|
|Anna Hopkin – 53.27||Freya Anderson – 52.70|
|Freya Anderson – 53.06||Anna Hopkin – 53.03|
All this says is that while Australia is a huge favorite, England could make it a fight if everything fires perfectly. But if everything fires for Australia, it won’t be close.
Like they’ve been in all of the male relays, the Canadians appear to be entrenched in third, with Josh Liendo, Ruslan Gaziev/Javier Acevedo, Maggie MacNeil and Rebecca Smith/Katerine Savard falling somewhere in the 3:23-range (optimal add-up from Budapest = 3:22.84).
South Africa and Scotland figure to be in a battle for fourth, with the South Africans potentially looking at having two 48s (Matt Sates, Chad Le Clos) and two 54s (Aimee Canny, Erin Gallagher). We have seen Le Clos sit out of relays in major championships before, but this race comes on the first day, so it’s possible he’s in the finals lineup (though he would have had the 50 fly semis earlier in the session).
Wales may be a second and a half or so back of them, with no top-tier female freestylers in their arsenal. They’ve got Matt Richards, who split 47.99 in Budapest, but that’s their only real ace.
MIXED 4X100 MEDLEY RELAY
- Commonwealth Record: 3:37.60, Great Britain, 2021 Olympic Games
- Commonwealth Games Record: N/A
- 2018 Commonwealth Champion: N/A
Always an intriguing event, the mixed medley relay in Birmingham should provide plenty of excitement given that we’ll likely see teams take on a few different strategies to try and get to the wall in the shortest amount of time possible.
In the World Championship final last month, three of the top four teams went with a non-traditional strategy and opted to use a woman on backstroke—including the runner-up Aussies and fourth-place Great Britain.
Given the strength of Kaylee McKeown on backstroke and the several options they have on freestyle, the Aussies went WMMW in the event, finishing in a time of 3:41.34.
There’s a good chance, then, that they’ll go with the same lineup in Birmingham, with McKeown, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Matt Temple and then whoever has been fastest in the meet among Emma McKeon, Mollie O’Callaghan, Madi Wilson and Shayna Jack (Jack swam the Budapest final).
They could also throw Kyle Chalmers onto the freestyle leg and use one of their female breaststrokers, likely Jenna Strauch, but the numbers show using a male breaststroker is clearly the faster option:
Split Comparison (Using fastest relay splits in 2022):
|Australia, Option A||Australia, Option B|
|Kaylee McKeown – 58.31||Kaylee McKeown – 58.31|
|Zac Stubblety-Cook – 58.92||Jenna Strauch – 1:05.99|
|Matt Temple – 50.75||Matt Temple – 50.75|
|Mollie O’Callaghan – 52.03||Kyle Chalmers – 46.60|
And while Stubblety-Cook was nearly a full second slower on the men’s medley relay (59.88), he would still have a bigger gap to Strauch than Chalmers would to O’Callaghan.
For Great Britain, Medi Harris was used on the lead-off leg in Budapest, but at the Commonwealth Games, she’ll be competing for Wales and thus not an option for England.
It seems likely then that we’ll see England go with the traditional MMWW order, with Luke Greenbank and Adam Peaty joining the mix and Laura Stephens and Freya Anderson/Anna Hopkin closing things off.
Were not exactly sure what Team Canada was going to do in the World Championship final, since they missed it.
But given the swimmers they’re missing in Birmingham, it seems obvious that they’ll go with Kylie Masse and Maggie MacNeil on back and fly, and then have James Dergousoff and Josh Liendo take breast and free duties.
If we compare England and Canada using flat-start times this year (since Peaty hasn’t done any relays), they come within a tenth of one another. We fully expect both Peaty and MacNeil to be much faster than their listed times, so we’ll call it a wash.
|England Add-Up (2022 flat-starts)||Canada Add-Up (2022 flat-starts)|
|Luke Greenbank – 53.81||Kylie Masse – 58.39|
|Adam Peaty – 58.58||James Dergousoff – 1:01.30|
|Laura Stephens – 58.43||Maggie MacNeil – 57.13|
|Anna Hopkin – 53.45||Josh Liendo – 47.55|
Everything here points to the Canadians needing an epic comeback to overcome England for silver. However, it is something we’ve seen Canada do before—at the 2017 World Championships, Yuri Kisil erased a five-plus-second deficit in the mixed medley relay and brought Canada to the podium in third after sitting seventh at the final exchange.
South Africa could put out a solid lineup that consists of Pieter Coetze, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Chad Le Clos and Aimee Canny, with names like Matt Sates and Erin Gallagher able to sub-in on fly or free depending on who’s fresh.
That likely puts them fourth, though if Schoenmaker is on 1:04 form we could possibly see them catch England or Canada sleeping.
Scotland can put together a decent lineup consisting of Cassie Wild, Ross Murdoch, Keanna MacInnes and Duncan Scott, while Wales could put together a roster of Medi Harris, Bradley Newman, Harriet Jones/Alys Thomas and Matt Richards.
Both have the potential to be solid and challenge South Africa, though all of the pieces will have to fall into place for either to be sub-3:47.
It should also be acknowledged that this event comes at the tail-end of the penultimate finals session, meaning it’s possible we’ll see multiple nations sit out top names, particularly those with busy schedules.