Commonwealth Games 2014: Predictions

Predictions time! Gold in bold, plus podium picks for each event. As per my usual predictions, optimistic patriotism for the home nations and erroneous picks of people who turn out not to be going at all are a given!

WOMEN

50 free: Fran Halsall (ENG), Cate Campbell (AUS), Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH)
100 free: Cate Campbell (AUS), Bronte Campbell (AUS), Emma McKeon (AUS)
200 free: Emma McKeon (AUS), Siobhan Marie O’Connor (ENG), Karin Prinsloo (RSA)
400 free: Jazz Carlin (WAL), Lauren Boyle (NZL), Bronte Barratt (AUS)
800 free: Lauren Boyle (NZL), Jazz Carlin (WAL), Jessica Ashwood (AUS)
50 back: Georgia Davies (WAL), Emily Seebohm (AUS), Lauren Quigley (ENG)
100 back: Emily Seebohm (AUS), Lauren Quigley (ENG), Sinead Russell (CAN)
200 back: Elizabeth Simmonds (ENG), Belinda Hocking (AUS), Lauren Quigley (ENG)
50 fly: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) Fran Halsall (ENG), Siobhan Marie O’Connor (ENG), Ariana Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH)
100 fly: Alicia Coutts (AUS), Katerine Savard (CAN), Ellen Gandy (AUS)
200 fly: Ellen Gandy (AUS), Madeline Groves (AUS), Aimee Willmott (ENG)
50 breast: Leiston Pickett (AUS), Sophie Taylor (ENG), Sally Hunter (AUS)
100 breast: Sophie Taylor (ENG), Aila Atkinson (JAM), Lorna Tonks (AUS)
200 breast: Sally Hunter (AUS), Molly Renshaw (ENG), Sophie Taylor (ENG)
200 IM: Alicia Coutts (AUS), Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (ENG), Sophie Allen (ENG)
400 IM: Aimee Willmott (ENG), Hannah Miley (SCO), ???
4x100 free: Australia, England, Canada
4x200 free: Australia, England, New Zealand
4x100 medley: England, Australia, Canada

Surprises could come from: Corrie Scott (SCO) and Sycerika McMahon (NIR) in the breastroke; Bronte Campbell outsplitting big sister Cate in the relay.

Notes:
- Meagan Nay’s shoulder injury opens up the longer backstroke events for Quiggers (whom I predict will be having a BREAKOUT year) and Simmo (who deserves a decent medal result after a tough few seasons)
- Hopefully SMoC won’t knacker herself in too much. She’s got a similar program to Alicia Coutts, but with the 200 free and 100 fly semis on the same day we’ll see if something gets prioritised
- Speaking of which, the 100 fly medals should be a free-for-all, I could easily have put Rachael Kelly and Jemma Lowe up there too.
- Good to see some Caribbean representation from Aila and Arianna, both have excellent medal chances.
- Extreme wishful thinking for the medley relay, especially considering the Aussies will have Cate C on the anchor leg, HOWEVER a strong back/breast leg from England, SMoC on fly (??) and a few duff takeovers could make it a bit closer than everyone thinks.
- I’d completely forgotten that the Campbell sisters have a PET PIG called Pepper!
- Canada are really missing a world class breaststroker this year, but Tera van Beilen is looking in half-decent form again after a dreadful 2013.
- I really hope the RSA women can step up from a relatively disappointing Delhi (apart from Natalie du Toit’s awesome MC medals, of course).
- Aimee and Hannah are miles ahead of the rest of the 400IM field while the bronze is completely up for grabs. Who else is even entering this? Danielle Lowe??????
- EXTREMELY concerned that the majority of swimmers’ bios I’ve read mention them liking Mumford & Sons. Even SMoC says she likes Ed Sheeran D: D:

MEN

50 free: Cameron McEvoy (AUS), Ben Proud (ENG), Roland Schoeman (RSA)
100 free: James Magnussen (AUS), Cameron McEvoy (AUS), Ben Proud (ENG)
200 free: Cameron McEvoy (AUS), Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS), James Guy (ENG)
400 free: David McKeon (AUS), James Guy (ENG), Robbie Renwick (SCO)
1500 free: Mack Horton (AUS), Ryan Cochrane (CAN), Jordan Harrison (AUS)
50 back: Ben Treffers (AUS), Bobby Hurley (AUS), Marco Loughran (WAL)
100 back: Mitch Larkin (AUS), Ben Treffers (AUS), Chris Walker-Hebborn (ENG)
200 back: Mitch Larkin (AUS), Ashley Delany (AUS), Craig McNally (SCO)
50 fly: Roland Schoeman (RSA), Ben Proud (ENG)… is Jason Dunford (KEN) still going?
100 fly: Chad Le Clos (RSA), Tommaso d’Orsogna (AUS), James Guy (ENG)
200 fly: Chad Le Clos (RSA), Roberto Pavoni (ENG), Mitch Pratt (AUS)
50 breast: Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), Christian Sprenger (AUS), Adam Peaty (ENG)
100 breast: Adam Peaty (ENG), Ross Murdoch (SCO), Cameron van der Burgh (RSA)
200 breast: Michael Jamieson (SCO), Adam Willis (ENG), Christian Sprenger (AUS)
200 IM: Chad Le Clos (RSA), Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS), Dan Wallace (SCO)
400 IM: Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS), Chad Le Clos (RSA), Roberto Pavoni (ENG),
4x100 free: Australia, South Africa, England
4x200 free: Australia, Scotland, England
4x100 medley: Australia, South Africa, England

Surprises could come from: teenage Aussie distance freestylers spoiling the 400 free party; Adam Barrett (ENG) in the butterfly.

Notes:
- The men’s individual events will be all about Chad this year. And hopefully his dad, too! 5 medals? 6? 7?
- The Aussie squad will have something to prove after their shit Olympics and underwhelming 2013 Worlds. I would be surprised if they didn’t grab at least one medal in every single event.
- The breaststroke events should be cracking, with the best guys in the world over all the distances. I picked names at random up there but MJ is definitely one to make the most of home pressure/advantage.
- Best chance of a Caribbean medal is Trinidad’s George Bovell. Amazingly this is his first Commies (thanks to injury) and he could cause an upset to the Aussies in the sprints.
- Ohhhhh Canada :/ It looks like Ryan Cochrane is their best bet for a medal. I have barely heard of the other Canadian dudes, apart from Richard Funk (I will make sure everyone has heard of Richard Funk).
- Hannah Miley’s little brother is swimming for Scotland! Awww!
- This has to be a last home-crowd-hurrah for Robbie Renwick…
- … but as fond as I am of Liam Tancock, I doubt his shoulder is going to be up to defending even one of those backstroke titles, let alone two :(
- I wonder if Moorhouse and Jameson will manage not to mention Dan Wallace’s ‘indiscretion’ with the police car during the commentary?
- There is apparently still beef about CvdB’s fly-kick cheating at the Olympics, I’m sure this will become interminable over on the Sw1mV0rt3x comment sectionzzzzzz
- James Guy could make a bit of a name for himself in Glasgow, with a couple of nailed-on swims and a dose of luck. He’s also my new favourite because he likes Wiz Khalifa and lists his hobbies as ‘eating for the sake of it’. GO JIMBOB!

I’m going to be up in Scotland for most of the swimming (seeing other sports - didn’t get any pool tickets, unfortunately) so there won’t be many updates here, but I’ll do a proper round-up when I get home.

posted 2 days ago

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Part 2 of Steve’s preview, featuring chats with Aimee Willmott (ENG) and Lewis Smith (SCO).

posted 6 days ago

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I was going to save the Pullbuoy podcasts for my train journey up to Glasgow but I have zero willpower. Great interview with Georgia Davies, as well as a very laid back Thomas ‘not even sure what events I’m swimming’ Haffield.

posted 1 week ago

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Still can’t believe Camille Muffat has thrown in the towel. I hope it’s only a temporary retirement and she’ll come back in time for a shot at defending her 400m title in Rio. The French relay team must be kicking itself.

In the meantime, here’s an excellent view of her awesomely smooth stroke technique, from the 400 at the 2012 Berlin World Cup. Look how slow her turnover is compared to Lotte Friis windmilling over in lane 6. Muffat takes around 15-16 strokes per length to Friis’ 17-18. Near the end of the clip you get a good shot of her lovely long catch. Now who does that remind me of?

Unlike a certain Aussie however her turns are proper snappy, but you can see she doesn’t bother too much with underwaters when she might as well get up and into that stroke asap. Great stuff.

posted 1 week ago

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Cracking 1.58 200m back for Luke Greenbank at European Juniors, beating his own 16yo NAG record by a over a second.

To give a bit of context, here are the best times for GB’s all-time top ranked backstrokers when they were 16 (or thereabouts - I didn’t check exact dates):

James Goddard 19992.08.82
Craig McNally20092.03.96 
Chris Walker-Hebborn 20072.04.61 
Joe Patching 2010 2.02.08 
Xavier Mohammed 2006 2.03.13

Walker-Hebborn managed to get under 2 minutes soon after turning 18, at the 2007 European Juniors. Goddard, Patching and McNally also made the breakthrough at 18/19. Late-starter Gregor Tait was 24 before he managed it!

Meanwhile, Greenbank’s future competition is taking shape across the Atlantic: 18yo American Ryan Murphy has backstroke best of 1.55.87 from last year, and was on 1.57.39 at 16, which even then would have put him 3rd and 5th on the GB all-time list - yikes! Backstroke is progressing! And they haven’t even introduced the new starting blocks properly yet…

posted 1 week ago

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Sarah Sjostrom’s just swum a 24.43 - ON BUTTERFLY. That qualifies her for the men’s event at next year’s world champs!

- No breathing
- Glide finish
- Outdoors!

I think the pool will have to be re-measured…

posted 2 weeks ago

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Well, it’s been a fast weekend all round really, hasn’t it? An English s/c record for Andrew Weatheritt in the 50br (26.70, hilariously at time of blogging this still hasn’t been updated on the British Swimming site, which is instead showing an 8-year-old kid ranked top with a 12.93!), Yasuhiro Kosei knocking out a 2.08 200br from seemingly nowhere and Molly Renshaw equalling Sophie Taylor’s English 200br record from March (2:24.46, both of them now in the world top 10).

But of course Katie Ledecky outshines them all by cracking out a new 1500fr WR and then three days later, SIX BEAT KICKING all the way through a sodding 800fr and hitting an incredible 8.11 flat. EIGHT ELEVEN. I remember wondering back in 2008 how fast Becky Adlington could have gone if she’d been able to kick all the way through (rather than just the last 150, helped by the LZR of course) and nail every turn (or, well, any turn). This is the answer! And of course it’s spawned a 60+ comment thread on SwimVortex about doping….

posted 1 month ago

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17-year-old Kanako Watanabe has just knocked half a second off the Japanese  Record in the 100m breaststroke, with a 1:05.88 at the Japan Open in Tatsumi. Until now Kanako has been a rising star in the 200m, but she seems to have found some front-end speed, matching (Olympic bronze medallist) Satomi Suzuki’s opening pace, for a 31.41 opening split.

I assume she’s going to the Youth Olympics in Nanjing - that would set up a great race between her and world-record-holder Ruta Meilutyte (currently on an unrested SB of 1.05.63 this year). TASTY.

17-year-old Kanako Watanabe has just knocked half a second off the Japanese Record in the 100m breaststroke, with a 1:05.88 at the Japan Open in Tatsumi. Until now Kanako has been a rising star in the 200m, but she seems to have found some front-end speed, matching (Olympic bronze medallist) Satomi Suzuki’s opening pace, for a 31.41 opening split.

I assume she’s going to the Youth Olympics in Nanjing - that would set up a great race between her and world-record-holder Ruta Meilutyte (currently on an unrested SB of 1.05.63 this year). TASTY.

posted 1 month ago

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I think we all wish a speedy recovery for Amy Van Dyken from her horrendous accident the other day. Here’s a good round-up of her career highlights, including four golds at Atlanta ‘96, the best of which I think is the 100 fly above. Amy qualified third behind Angel Martino and Liu Lumin who definitely wasn’t on drugs - this was her least likely win.

ITEM! Omg those old ‘96 Speedo Aquablades, I had one of the high neck ones and it cost a fortune even without the legs, and the zip broke after a bad race and I couldn’t breathe and someone had to cut me out of it with scissors and basically I am now traumatised for ever whenever I see one. WHY would anyone wear high neck racing suits. WHYYY.

ITEM! I’d forgotten that on fly you used to be able to go underwater as long as you liked, even after they stopped it for backstroke. Look at Liu go in lane 6! OXYGEN WHAT OXYGEN.

ITEM! Angel should have won it really but she failed to spot her finish. You can’t fuck up the finish in the Olympics, Angel. Don’t feel too bad for her, she still obtained MANY gold medals in relays and so on. Stop feeling bad! Practice your finishes instead!

Of course my top Amy moment is her GOBBING in Inky de Bruijn’s lane in Sydney = HANDBAGS etc. It was totally out of order (plenty of swimmers *were* on drugs but it’s unlikely that de Bruijn was, given her consistency and longevity) but I am a ho for swimming gossip, what can I say. Get well soon, Amy!

posted 1 month ago

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Craig Lord continues amazing.

posted 2 months ago

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