Mens 200 And 400 IMs – Commonwealth Games Preview – Australians Seeded First In Both

MEN’S 50M & 100M FREESTYLES – PREVIEW

  • Commonwealth Games 2014. Glasgow, Scotland. July 24-August 2
  • 200m IM- Friday July 25th
  • 400m IM –  Tuesday July 29th
  • Defending Commonwealth 200m IM champion- James Goddard (England) 1:58.10
  • Defending Commonwealth 400m IM champion- Chad Le Clos (South Africa) 4:13.25
  • 200m IM Commonwealth Games record- James Goddard (England) 1:58.10
  • 400m IM Commonwealth Games record- Chad Le Clos (South Africa) 4:13.25
  • Time needed to final in 2010 (200 IM)- 2:03.32
  • Time needed to final in 2010 (400 IM)- 4:23.64

200m IM

The men’s 200m IM is shaping up to be a showdown between Australian, English, and South African swimmers as each country could potentially put two swimmers in the final; Australia maybe even three.

Going in as the fastest Commonwealth swimmer this year in the 200m IM and the third fastest overall in the world is Australia’s Daniel Tranter. Tranter just won his third straight national title in the 200m IM to qualify for the games with a time of 1:57.66. Tranter is probably the favorite going into this race. He was the only Commonwealth swimmer to qualify for the 200m IM finals at last year’s World Championships and ended up finishing sixth with a time of 1:57.88. Tranter has been dancing around that mark since 2013 where he swam a 1:57.55 to qualify for the World Championship team and ended up finishing sixth at world in 1:57.88. Tranter is a young swimmer so should have plenty of room to improve on that time this summer.

The second fastest Commonwealth swimmer this year is also an Australian swimmer: Thomas Fraser-Holmes. Fraser-Holmes has lots of international experience and should be a potential threat for the gold medal. Fraser-Holmes swam a 1:57.88 at Australian nationals, identical to the time Tranter swam last year to finish sixth in this event at worlds. Fraser-Holmes is more well known for the 400m IM, but the fact that he was able to stay so close to Tranter and post a time like that makes me believe that he’s been working on his speed a lot and that it’s working.

Chad Le Clos is the wild card going into this race. Known for his fly, Le Clos isn’t always thought of to be an IM swimmer but with the 1:57.94 that he posted at the South African nationals it’s clear that he might be following the likes of another famous flyer: Michael Phelps. Phelps was a flyer, added the IM’s to his schedule, and then later the 200m freestyle. At this competition, Le Clos will be swimming almost an identical schedule to what Phelps’ Olympic schedule looked like. He’ll be competing in the 100m fly, 200m fly, 200m IM, 400m IM, and the 200m backstroke. Le Clos will also be a member of all three South African relays. It’s no question that Le Clos has the speed and tenacity to compete with the best in the world in the fly, but the question remains whether or not he’ll be able to transfer his success over to IM swimming. If he’s able to, I’d say he’s going to be competing for the gold medal.

If the battle comes down to those three, and I think it will, Le Clos and Fraser-Holmes are the front-half swimmers, while Tranter is great on the back-half. Tranter’s front-half, however, has been rapidly improving, as demonstrated with some recent head-to-head battles against Fraser-Holmes, and that’s going to be the key to this race.

Roberto Pavoni was the only other Commonwealth swimmer besides Tranter to qualify for the semifinals in the mens 200m IM at last year’s World Championships. Pavoni swam a 1:59.44 in the first semi-final which did not qualify him for the finals. Pavoni will be representing England this summer after posting a 1:59.08 at British nationals. It’s a good sign that he was faster than last summer, but as it’s turning out a lot of the Commonwealth swimmers are showing improvements in similar fashion. Look for Pavoni to try and get his hand on the wall in order to knock out either Le Clos, Tranter, or Fraser-Holmes for a medal position.

Dylan Bosch will be the second South African swimmer to compete in the men’s 200m IM. Bosch was a 1:59.23 at South African nationals behind Le Clos. Bosch has proven that he has speed in short course, especially with the 200 yard fly US Open record that he swam at NCAA’s to become the fastest ever in that particular race. The question will be whether or not the Michigan swimmer will be able to take his short-course speed and transfer it to the long-course pool. If he can do that he should be very successful.

Evan White from Canada will be competing in his first major international final should he qualify for the finals at this year’s Commonwealth Games. White has had a great season so far which has included Canadian national age-group records as well as a national title in the 200m IM with a time of 1:59.84. White is currently ranked 22nd in the world this year and seventh out of all Commonwealth swimmers. White is just starting his journey into international swimming and will be competing next year of the University of Michigan. Look for White to try and challenge some of the top names in the field and gain some great experience.

Dan Wallace from Scotland and defending commonwealth champion Joseph Roebuck from England could be the two to round out the top 6. Wallace will want to impress the field in front of a home crowd, but has had some out-of-the-pool issues to contend with that may prove a distraction.

My Picks:

  1. Chad Le Clos (South Africa)
  2. Thomas Fraser-Holmes (Australia)
  3. Daniel Tranter (Australia)
  4. Roberto Pavoni (England)
  5. Evan White (Canada)
  6. Dan Wallace (Scotland)

400m IM

Many of the same swimmers will be representing their countries in the 400m IM as well.

Thomas Fraser-Holmes, the second fast Australian at the moment in the 200m IM will be the top seed heading into the Games with a 4:10.68 in the 400m IM. Fraser-Holmes swam that time at Australian nationals and absolutely blew away the rest of the field. Fraser-Holmes is currently the Commonwealth record holder in the 400m IM with the 4:10.14 he swam at Australian nationals in 2013.  If he’s able to swim a time like that at Commonwealths he’ll break Chad Le Clos’ games record of 4:13.25 and definitely be in contention for the gold.

Roberto Pavoni from England will be one of Fraser-Holmes top challengers if he’s able to repeat his swim for British nationals. Pavoni posted a 4:12.24 to qualify for the team, which is also under the current Commonwealth Games record. He’ll have to swim a 4:10 or under if he wants to be competitive for the gold medal, but with a time like what he posted at nationals, it puts him in a good position to get on the podium.

Next up is the current Commonwealth Games record holder Chad Le Clos. Le Clos has undergone huge improvements since he set that record back in 2010 so expect him to be a lot faster this summer. Le Clos swam a time of 4:14.81 at trials which doesn’t raise any eyebrows but isn’t a bad time either. He’s ranked 11th in the world right now, third amongst Commonwealth swimmers. Considering that his fly times weren’t outstanding at trials and we know what he can produce I’m putting Le Clos as the wild card in this event too. The defending champion will have to be a lot faster at Commonwealths if he wants to get on the podium or even get his hands on the wall first, but the fact that he doesn’t swim this event all too often and seems to have a lot left in the tank based on his fly times makes me believe he will be significantly faster in Glasgow.

Lewis Smith is one of Scotland’s best chances to medal on the men’s side. Smith swam a 4:15.76 at British nationals which currently ranks him 15th in the world and fourth amongst Commonwealth swimmers. If Smith is able to improve on his time he might be up there in the top three. With the unique chance to compete for Scotland (Scotland competes under Great Britain during most major international competitions) in Scotland, you can bet Smith will want to improve on that time and stand on the podium in front of a home crowd.

Following Smith in the world rankings this year is Canada’s two 400m IM swimmers Alec Page and Luke Reilly. The two faced off in a very intense race at Canadian trials back in April, ultimately Page took the win just out-touching Reilly. Unfortunately due to a doping violation Page was removed from the team leaving Reilly to be the only Canadian in the race. Reilly’s ability to compete is going to be crucial to his placement at the games. If he’s able to get competitive and try to race some of the big names like Fraser-Holmes you could well see him on the podium. Reilly’s time of 4:15.86 currently ranks  the Canuck 17th in the world respectively. Third through sixth ranked Commonwealth swimmers are very close to each other so it’s very possible that Reilly could end up on the podium depending on how the race goes.

Dan Wallace will be a name to look for representing Scotland. The Scottish swimmer was the top finishing Commonwealth swimmer in this event at last year’s World Championships with a seventh place finish. Wallace swam a 4:13.72 for that time, a time which might not even get him on the podium this summer in Glasgow. Wallace swam a 4:16.40 earlier this year and will have a lot of work to do if he wants to compete with some of the other swimmers.

My Picks:

  1. Thomas Fraser-Holmes (Australia)
  2. Chad Le Clos (South Africa)
  3. Roberto Pavoni (England)
  4. Lewis Smith (Scotland)
  5. Dan Wallace (Scotland)
  6. Luke Reilly (Canada)

 

 

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Josh

I’d look for Sebastien Rousseau to be in the mix in that 400 IM. 4:11.1 last year at the US Open and currently swimming his fastest-ever in season times. His 400 IM at Santa Clara was nearly a second faster than he swam it at South African Commonwealth Trials in April.

aswimfan

Are you sure Le Clos will be swimming 200 back?
This is the first time I’ve heard such thing.

I always heard he will be swimming 100/200 fly 200/400 IM and 200 free along with three relays, thus swimming identical schedule to Phelps in 2007/2008

HKSWIMMER

Aswimfan – Le Clos swam the 200m backstroke at the South African trials and won, so I think he has the option to swim it if he wants. I have to say that my picks for gold are going to be Le Clos in both event. Graham Hill’s kept him in very heavy training all the way through, simply racing through the training at the Mare Nostrum tour and trials etc. I’m pretty sure we’ll see some big drops in both IMs over the summer, as this was his stated focus on the road to Rio. I’d say we’re looking at a 4:08-09 for the 400IM and definitely a 1:56 200IM when he’s fully rested and tapered. I just hope… Read more »

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile is a former Canadian age group swimmer who was forced to end his career early due to a labrum tear in his hip and a torn rotator cuff after being recognized as one of the top 50 breaststrokers his age in Canada. He competed successfully at both age …

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