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 7. THOUGH not an Olympic event, the 50 breaststroke is going to be a highlight of the Commonwealth Games. It features a rematch between an Aussie and South African on the men’s side, as well as a chance for Australia to continue its Commonwealth dominance on the women’s side.
Alia Atkinson looks to be the major player in the women’s breaststroke this year, and could find herself a multiple gold medalist if she can block out Australia’s incredible breaststroke history. Leisel Jones and Leiston Pickett won the last two Commonwealth Games races for Australia, but the Aussies could struggle to find a worthy vanquisher to Atkinson. The Jamaican was eighth in the 50 breast at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but has been making big gains in her postgrad career.
The heats and semifinals of the women’s 50 breast take place on the first day of competition, a great way for the breaststrokers to start the meet before the “higher priority” distances.
Women’s 50 breast medal prediction:
Gold: Alia Atkinson, Jamaica
Silver: Leiston Pickett, Australia
Bronze: Sophie Taylor, England
All three of the men’s breaststroke races are tough to call, but this one is the toughest. Cameron Van der Burgh is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, but Sprenger is closing in on him. The two were separated by just one hundredth of a second at last year’s world championships, with Van der Burgh winning the gold and Sprenger settling for silver. This sets up for a great battle this year.
A wealth of talented swimmers have a chance to take the bronze medal, but no one is there yet to take down Van der Burgh and/or Sprenger. Glenn Snyders of New Zealand tied for silver in 2010, but I don’t think he’ll be able to replicate that finish in Glasgow. Adam Peaty of England and Ross Murdoch of Scotland will be tough as they continue a remarkable breakout year.
Men’s 50 breast medal prediction:
Gold: Cameron Van der Burgh, South Africa
Silver: Christian Sprenger, Australia
Bronze: Ross Murdoch, Scotland