As eventful as yesterdays prelim session was at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, the prelims this morning might rival them as four Commonwealth Games records fell as swimmers continued to push the pace early in the morning.
MENS 200 FREE
One of the only events that did not see its record fall this morning was the men’s 200m freestyle, as it’s held by Ian Thorpe and his legendary 1:44.71 from 2002. The fastest qualifier, Cameron McEvoy, was well off that mark but did set himself up perfectly for finals. McEvoy was a 1:46.39 this morning, and didn’t look as though he went to his legs too much, which is a great sign for tonight. The young Aussie has shown amazing speed in the pool – mix that with some endurance and McEvoy could be deadly on that front half tonight.
McEvoy took out the first 100 in 51.93, faltering a bit during the back half of his race but otherwise looking good. If he can show a little speed coming home the race should be his tonight.
Thomas Fraser-Holmes from Australia qualified second in the event with a 1:47.01. Fraser-Holmes will have a ridiculously tough double tonight as he also qualified second in the 400m IM giving him a middle lane in the final. The 200m freestyle does come first which might be a little bit of a saving grace, however Fraser-Holmes is better in the IM so he might hold back to focus on that.
Calum Jarvis from Wales and Robbie Renwick from Scotland complete the top four qualifiers with times of 1:47.10 and 1:47.15. Renwick has shown great speed and will be in the mix tonight, but he’ll have to try to stay with McEvoy on that front half and chase him home.
Qualifying seventh was last night’s 400m freestyle silver medalist David McKeon from Australia. McKeon took out the first half of that race hard last night and looked absolutely exhausted towards the end, ultimately giving up a huge lead to Canada’s Ryan Cochrane. McKeon was fast last night which is a good sign, but he’ll need to be able to maintain a higher speed and find a more consistent race strategy if he wants to stick with his countrymen tonight.
Amazingly there was a three-way tie for eighth place today. Ryan Cochrane of Canada, Nick Grainger of England and Levan Lloyd from Wales all swam a 1:48.98. Grainger ended up taking the finals spot after swimming a 1:48.29 in the swim-off between the three swimmers.
WOMENS 50 FREE
The women’s 50m freestyle saw its first record fall today at the hand of Bronte Campbell, who swam a leadoff split of 53.15 in yesterdays 4x100m freestyle relay to break the existing Commonwealth Games record in the 100m freestyle. Campbell was a 24.52 in heat six to break the record.
Coming along in heat seven was England’s Francesca Halsall who broke Campbell’s shortly-owned record with a time of 24.32. Shortly after, Cate Campbell came along and edged very close to Halsall’s new record with a 24.33, but was unable to crack that mark. The three go into tonight’s semifinal as the top three qualifiers.
Also in tonight’s semis will be Arianna Vanderpool Wallace representing the Bahamas. Wallace qualified fourth behind the three leaders in 24.61. She wasn’t that far off of Bronte Campbell which means she could be in the mix for a podium position if she’s able to qualify for the finals tonight.
That record should fall again as Cate Campbell has been on fire as of late demonstrating unbelievable speed on the anchor leg of last night’s world record setting relay. Campbell should be able to throw something together tonight in semis and come out with a win in finals on Saturday.
MENS 100 BREASTSTROKE
Adam Peaty pulled way out in front of the rest of the field today, setting a new Commonwealth Games record in the men’s 100m breaststroke. The English swimmer was the only one to break the one-minute barrier this morning throwing down a time of 59.47. He’ll have a tough job keeping that top speed as the depth of talent in this field is quite large.
Qualifying second was Ross Murdoch of Scotland. After the 200m breaststroke upset last night, it’s hard to imagine him not winning the 100. Murdoch came out of nowhere to post a new games record of 2:07.30 and come within striking distance of the current world record. Murdoch is young and clearly has some fire in his tank. He should make it through in the semifinals tonight no problem, he’s just a wild card as his result is fairly unpredictable considering his massive improvement in the 200.
Glenn Snyders from New Zealand swam a 1:00.75 to qualify in third. Behind him was defending Commonwealth Games champion Cameron Van Der Burgh in 1:00.99. These two could be factors as well assuming they make it past the semifinal round tonight. Both have plenty of international experience in this race and Van Der Burgh’s speed is roughly unmatched unless thrown up against Australian Christian Sprenger.
Sprenger is definitely not in his top form as of recently considering the 200 that he swam last night. That being said, he could have just put all his eggs into the 100m breaststroke basket which is all together quite possible. Sprenger qualified 11th this morning with a time of 1:02.30. Sprenger needs to be a lot faster in semis tonight if he wants to make that final. He’s got the speed to win it and is currently the fastest swimmer in the world this year in the 100m breaststroke with the 58.87 he swam earlier this season.
Also making the semifinal in 10th place was Michael Jamieson who came off a disappointing 200m breaststroke last night, finishing second despite being the favorite to win. Semis will be tonight and the 100m breaststroke final will start on Saturday evening.
WOMENS 100 BACK
Emily Seebohm of Australia broke her own Commonwealth Games record this morning by an extremely small margin to take the top qualifying spot heading into the semifinals with a 59.51. The swimmer was one of two under one-minute this morning as teammate Belinda Hocking was a 59.78.
Seebohm should be the favorite in this event, but she’ll have some angry Canadians and English swimmers nipping at her feet the whole way along who won’t make it easy for her. Qualifying third was Sinead Russell of Canada in 1:00.15. Behind her was Laura Quigley from England in 1:00.67. Following that was Canada’s Brooklynn Snodgrass in 1:00.70 and Elizabeth Simmonds from England in 1:00.79.
All those swimmers mentioned above will make it an extremely tight race. Seebohm will have to emerge as the clear leader and favorite in semifinals tonight if she wants to try and shake off the English and Canadian swimmers a bit. They’re all in the mix at the moment and they know it. This race could be anybody’s although Seebohm would be the slight favorite.
MENS 400 IM
Scotland’s Dan Wallace is seeded first for tonight’s final after breaking the previous Commonwealth Games record held by South Africa’s Chad Le Clos with a time of 4:11.04. Wallace won his heat and was well ahead of the rest of the field as Thomas Fraser-Holmes from Australia was the fourth fastest qualifier and only managed to swim a 4:14.99 despite being one of the favorites.
Fraser-Holmes was most likely conserving himself as tonight he’s got an extremely tough double. He’ll be swimming the final of the 200m freestyle before the 400m IM. He’s seeded second in both so both give him a great opportunity to medal. If he’s able to pace both races properly and conserve as much energy as he can without holding back tonight he could be the winner of the 400m IM.
Thomas Malhoney of Australia and Roberto Pavoni of England qualified second and third respectively. They were both around the same time in the heats, Malhoney a bit faster in 4:14.99 to take a higher position over Pavoni’s 4:15.26.
Lewis Smith from Scotland and Luke Reilly from Canada will also be in the final. They’re most likely not contenders for the gold medal, but could but up a fight for a podium position.
MENS 4x100m FREESTYLE RELAY
Australia is seeded first in the relay tonight, and will not have a problem taking home a huge win. With the likes of James ‘The Missile’ Magnussen and Cameron McEvoy the team should have no trouble going around 3:10 to take home the win tonight.