Commonwealth Games Swimming Medal Predictions: Australia Rebuilding 800 Free Relays

Photo Courtesy: Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

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 David Rieder

CHARLESTON, South Carolina, July 22. AS with the other relay events we previewed for the Commonwealth Games, I’m not expecting much competition in the women’s 800 free relay. Emma McKeon enters with the second-ranked time in the world at 1:55.68, with Bronte Barratt (1:56.71) just outside of the top ten. Some combination of Brittany Elmslie, Melanie Schlanger, and Alicia Coutts should provide the other two legs for the team that finished second at the World Championships last year and led in the final until Missy Franklin’s monstrous anchor leg.

Canada will be a big factor in this race as two-time NCAA Champion Brittany MacLean leads the squad that finished seventh at the World Championships last year. New Zealand has typically fielded a team for Commonwealth Games, but they will have trouble contending with very little depth behind distance ace Lauren Boyle. England has traditionally had significant success in this relay, but although Siobhan-Marie O’Connor has emerged as a legitimate international contender in the 200 free, they lack the depth needed to make a run at the Aussies.

Women’s 800 free relay medal predictions
Gold:
Australia
Silver: Canada
Bronze: England

The Australian men, meanwhile, have an illustrious tradition in the 800 free relay, going back to the days when Ian Thorpe, Michael Klim, Grant Hackett and William Kirby smashed the world record on a yearly basis. Last summer, though, they hit a big-time low, missing out on the World Championship final by 0.15 to China. Suddenly, Australia has the two of the top three times in the world for 2014 in Cameron McEvoy (1:45.46) and Thomas Fraser-Holmes (1:45.58), with David McKeon (1:46.37) not far off. Ned McKendry should be the fourth man on the team. This squad has a legitimate chance to post a time that ranks in the top three in the world for 2014, with the Pan Pacific championships battle with Team USA looming.

There could be a large gulf from Australia to whatever team finishes second. Several countries have stars, such as Scotland with Robbie Renwick and South Africa with Chad Le Clos. Canada could use Ryan Cochrane on its team to go along with veteran Alec Page. However, none of these teams have much depth, while England doesn’t have much star power to stay in the race. The silver and bronze positions here look wide open, but Australia should not have much trouble wrapping up a six-event sweep of the relays in Glasgow.

Men’s 800 free relay medal predictions
Gold:
Australia
Silver: Canada
Bronze: England

Check out our previous medal predictions by clicking the links below:

100 butterfly

100 freestyle

400 IM

400 freestyle relay

200 backstroke

200 breaststroke

200 freestyle

400 medley relay

100 breaststroke

50 butterfly

50 backstroke

800/1500 freestyle

200 individual medley

50 freestyle

50 breaststroke

100 backstroke

200 butterfly

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Author: Jeff Commings

Jeff Commings is the host of several shows on SwimmingWorld.TV, including "The Morning Swim Show," which features interviews with people making headlines in aquatic sports. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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