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 16. NO one would call England vs. Scotland a major rivalry in swimming. The two nations compete together under the flag of Great Britain at every international competition except for the Commonwealth Games. The men’s 200 breast, however, will pit the two neighbors against each other in the Glasgow spotlight. A pair of Scots, Michael Jamieson and Ross Murdoch, rank first and fifth in the world, respectively. The English counter with Adam Peaty and Andrew Willis, who are sixth and eighth. Aside from this foursome, only four others have broken 2:10 in the event all year, and one of them is Australia’s Christian Sprenger.
Jamieson has swum the only sub-2:08 time this year with a 2:07.79 from British Nationals. His best time stands at 2:07.43 from his silver medal swim at the 2012 Olympics. Willis, meanwhile, finished fourth in the event at last year’s World Championships. Murdoch, 20, and Peaty, 19, will challenge the veterans for spots on the British national team in upcoming years, but in Glasgow the four will face off on the international stage.
Sprenger is the wild card. Sprenger holds the Commonwealth record, a 2:07.31 set at the 2009 World Championships in the semi-finals, a mark that was then the world record. Sprenger has not contested the event internationally since the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but after becoming the best in the world in the 100 breast, he is giving the 200 another try after clocking a 2:08.63 in April that ranks fourth in the world. Potentially, he could win gold in all three breaststroke events, which has not happened at the Commonwealth Games on the men’s side. Also watch out for New Zealand’s Glenn Snyders as an outside medal chance.
Men’s 200 breast medal predictions
Gold: Michael Jamieson, Scotland
Silver: Andrew Willis, England
Bronze: Christian Sprenger, Australia
Though not as enticing as the men’s British battle, the women’s edition of the 200 breast shapes up to be among the more interesting races of the meet as a pair of World Championship finalists attempt to hold off a youth movement. Australia’s Sally Hunter — formally Sally Foster — and Canada’s Martha McCabe finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in Barcelona last year. Neither will enter as the favorite, however, with a trio of teenagers entering ranked in the top ten in the world.
Taylor McKeown, 19, defeated Hunter and Tessa Wallace at Australia’s National Championships in April, clocking a scorching 2:22.10 for the fourth-ranked time in the world. Behind her, English 18-year-olds Molly Renshaw and Sophie Taylor each have clocked 2:24.46, the ninth-best time in the world. Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson has clocked a top-20 time this year; although she has a much better chance at reaching the podium in the 50 and 100 breast, she could set the early pace.
Women’s 200 breast medal predictions
Gold: Taylor McKeown, Australia
Silver: Sally Hunter, Australia
Bronze: Sophie Taylor, England
Check out our previous medal predictions by clicking the links below: