Each day through July 23, Swimming World’s Jeff Commings and David Rieder will offer medal predictions in the 19 swimming events on tap at the Commonwealth Games, which begins July 24 in Glasgow, Scotland. We invite you to offer your picks in our Reaction Time comments section below!
Commentary by Jeff Commings
PHOENIX, Arizona, July 15. AUSTRALIA is beefing up its arsenal for a run at the United States by 2016 in the 800 freestyle relay, and this year will be a test for the Aussies to see how well their young talent stacks up in the 200 freestyle.
Not since Ian Thorpe has Australia led the world rankings in the 200 free, but Cameron McEvoy has done just that with his 1:45.46 from April’s national championships. That time will not last very long as the fastest in the world once August arrives, and McEvoy will need to be at least a second faster to challenge the rest of the world.
He’ll also need to go faster if he’s to keep countryman Thomas Fraser-Holmes at bay in the 200 free final. Fraser-Holmes was the bronze medalist at the 2010 Commonwealths and finished just 12 hundredths of a second behind McEvoy at nationals, and the two have the ability to run away with this race. No other Commonwealth country has a swimmer in the top 20 in the 200 free, with the next-fastest non-Australian swimmer being Robbie Renwick at 22nd with a 1:47.60. Renwick is the reigning champion in the event, but with his lifetime best standing at 1:45.99 from the polyurethane suit era, he’s going to have a difficult time defending his title.
McEvoy, Fraser-Holmes and Renwick all competed in the final of the 200 free at last summer’s world championships. Renwick was sixth with a 1:46.52, McEvoy was seventh with a 1:46.63 and Fraser-Holmes was eighth with a 1:47.11. All three have different strategies for the event, with Renwick holding off the gas until the final 50, while Fraser-Holmes tries to take the race out hard while McEvoy pushes the middle 100. That makes picking the medalists much more difficult.
Chad Le Clos put up a time that qualified him to swim the 200 free in Glasgow, but with the 200 free final taking place in the same session as the 50 fly, 400 IM and 400 medley relay finals, I expect the 200 free to have been the first individual event to fall off his program. Too bad, because he might have been able to post a time to challenge the Australians. In his place, Myles Brown might be able to give Renwick a run for that bronze medal.
Men’s 200 free medal prediction:
Gold: Cameron McEvoy, Australia
Silver: Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Australia
Bronze: Robbie Renwick, Scotland
The women’s 200 free medal podium will look completely different from 2010. Gold medalist Kylie Palmer failed to make the team, silver medalist Jazz Carlin is opting out of the race and bronze medalist Rebecca Adlington is retired. That leaves the door open for anyone to stand on the top step.
On paper, Emma McKeon has the advantage based on her 1:55.68 from the Australian nationals. But Bronte Barratt is the Olympic bronze medalist and should not be counted out of this race. Another name to watch is England’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, who is making some major improvements in this event. O’Connor’s time is fast approaching in this event, but I feel it will not be in Glasgow. Brittany MacLean is the spoiler, since her 1:57.57 from Canadian nationals came a couple of weeks after the NCAA championships. Expect a faster time from MacLean as she gets a packed racing schedule started with the “short” freestyle.
Women’s 200 free medal prediction:
Gold: Bronte Barratt, Australia
Silver: Emma McKeon, Australia
Bronze: Brittany MacLean, Canada
Check out our previous medal predictions by clicking the links below: