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 6. AT the ripe old age of 22, Emily Seebohm has grown into one of the grizzled veterans of the Australian national team. Seebohm first made a mark on the international stage back in 2007 when she finished fourth in a loaded field at the 2007 World Championships. Since then, she has been a rock for Australia’s ever-evolving 400 medley relay team that has won gold or silver in each of the seven years she has swum the lead-off leg.
When Seebohm finished fourth in 2007, Natalie Coughlin won that race with a then-world record-time of 59.44. That mark seems pedestrian compared to the 58.23 Seebohm clocked in the prelims at the London Olympic Games before taking silver behind Missy Franklin in the finale. That mark still stands as the textile best time and just 0.11 off Gemma Spofforth’s world record. The Aussie has not approached the mark since, but she holds the top time in the world this year at 58.92.
Seebohm’s national final this year featured three women under the 1:00 mark, as both Belinda Hocking (58.83) and Meagan Nay (59.90) dipped under the once-vaunted standard. Canadians Sinead Russell and Brooklynn Snodgrass have threatened the mark, while Britain’s Georgia Davies, Lauren Quigley, and Elizabeth Simmonds should all be contenders for podium spots.
Women’s 100 back medal predictions
Gold: Emily Seebohm, Australia
Silver: Belinda Hocking, Australia
Bronze: Elizabeth Simmonds, England
Whereas the women’s event could produce what ends up as the fastest time in the world this year, the men’s 100 back projects as one of the weaker events of the meet. Australia’s Ashley Delaney enters as the veteran force in the field after finishing sixth at the World Championships a year ago. At 28, Delaney has been a factor internationally for many years as a veteran of the 2008 Olympics and the bronze medal winner in all three backstroke events four years ago in Delhi.
New Zealand’s Gareth Kean joined Delaney as a finalist at the World Championships last summer, as he had a season best of 53.73 a year ago, but he is not listed on New Zealand’s roster for Glasgow. England’s Chris Walker-Hebborn, South Africa’s Darren Murray, and Canada’s Charles Francis swam in the semifinals in Barcelona. Meanwhile, young Aussies Mitch Larkin (53.46) and Ben Treffers (53.55) rank one and two among Commonwealth nations so far this year after beating Delaney into third at Australia’s nationals.
Men’s 100 back medal predictions
Gold: Ben Treffers, Australia
Silver: Ashley Delaney, Australia
Bronze: Chris Walker-Hebborn, England