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 8. THE men’s 50 freestyle shaped up as one of the most anticipated events of the Commonwealth Games when former world record holder Eamon Sullivan won the event at Australia’s nationals. The three-time Olympian clocked a 21.65 in the semi-finals at that meet in his return from an injury-induced layoff following the London Olympics. Sullivan would have been among the favorites for the meet, but he found he could not wait to undergo another shoulder surgery, prompting his withdrawal from the team.
In his stead, Cameron McEvoy, James Magussen and Matt Abood will pick up the slack for the Aussies, with 100 free world record holder Magnussen as the biggest name of the bunch. His best time of 21.52 came last year, and while he has certainly found more success internationally in the 100, the 50 falls well within Magnussen’s range.
At last year’s World Championships, South Africa’s Roland Schoeman tied his personal best with a 21.67. Now 34, he could be a contender for the medals in his fourth Commonwealth Games. Schoeman won 50 free gold in 2002 and 2006, and silver in 2010. George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago continues to train in the United States after finishing with the bronze in last summer’s controversial World Championship final, where he clocked 21.51. Don’t count him out, either.
Men’s 50 free medal predictions
Gold: James Magnussen, Australia
Silver: Roland Schoeman, South Africa
Bronze: George Bovell, Trinidad and Tobago
Three of the top five finishers in the women’s 50 free from last summer’s World Championships highlight that event this year at the Commonwealth Games. Cate Campbell finished second in Barcelona with a 24.14, and she has already swum faster this year with a 24.13 from Australia’s Nationals in April, a mark that ranks second in the world behind Sarah Sjostrom’s 23.98. Joining Campbell in Glasgow will be younger sister Bronte, who finished fifth last summer at the Worlds, and 28-year old veteran Melanie Schlanger.
The biggest challenge to Cate Campbell should come from England’s Fran Halsall, who finished just behind the Aussie for bronze at Worlds last year and likewise sits just behind Campbell in the world rankings with a 24.38. Bahamas native Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace sits in the world top ten after clocking a 24.65 at the Charlotte Grand Prix in May, and Canadians Chantal Van Landeghem and Victoria Poon both swam in the semi-finals at last year’s Worlds.
Women’s 50 free medal predictions
Gold: Cate Campbell, Australia
Silver: Fran Halsall, England
Bronze: Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Bahamas