GLASGOW, Scotland, April 8. GREAT Britain’s long course nationals, which begins Thursday in Glasgow, will feature hundreds of swimmers racing for the privilege of returning to the Tollcross International Swimming Center this August for the Commonwealth Games.
This week’s meet will act as part of the selection process for the English, Scottish and Welsh squads that will race at the Commonwealth Games. That internationally-prominent meet is the only time Great Britain’s swimmers race for their home nations instead of the all-encompassing British team, so we might see lots of swimmers placing as low as fourth or fifth still celebrating as they gain selection to race against the best in the Commonwealth.
English swimmers will have the toughest time earning selection to the Commonwealth team, as qualifying times for the English team are equivalent to the time posted by the third-fastest swimmer from a Commonwealth nation last summer. That’s a 21.67 in the men’s 50 free, 59.97 in the women’s 100 back and 2:10.53 in the women’s 200 IM. None of the swimmers are required to beat the standard in order to gain selection, but those who get within a certain percentage of each event’s time will have a good chance of making the team.
One of the top British swimmers to watch this week is Andrew Willis, one of few Englishmen likely to surpass the qualifying times. Willis is making sub-2:10 efforts in the 200 breast routine, so he should have no problem beating the 2:10.61 set by England to earn a return trip to Scotland. Liam Tancock, who sat out 2013 to repair a shoulder injury, will be looking to defend his Commonwealth titles in the 50 and 100 distances, but will need to approach the 53.73 qualifying standard in the 100 back to get that chance. Fran Halsall is another English medalist from the 2010 meet who should get picked for the team. Halsall won silver in the 50 free in 2010 and bronze in the 100.
Standards for the Welsh and Scottish teams are considerably slower, but also not extremely easy to obtain. Hannah Miley will likely cruise through this meet and gain selection for Scotland in the individual medley events. Ross Murdoch and Michael Jamieson will also be primed to get on the Scottish team, and their times from last week’s Scottish nationals suggest the two are in good form to give Scotland strong medal hopes in the breaststroke this summer. As for the Welsh team, Jazz Carlin will look for the opportunity to continue her reign in the distance freestyles, and rebound from a disappointing world championships.
The meet is open to international swimmers, and England-based Ruta Meilutyte could steal the show. She’s entered in the 50 and 100 breaststrokes, among several other events, with the end game being the European championships this summer. The Lithuanian native could easily post some of the fastest times in the world this week.
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