GLASGOW, Scotland, April 12. ROSS Murdoch chased the British record in the 100 breast, while Fran Halsall celebrated her 22nd birthday with a 50 free win.
Murdoch, a week after a great meet at the Scottish nationals, just missed the British record in the men’s 100 breast, but put him in the Commonwealth Games medal conversation with a winning time today of 59.56. It breaks his week-old Scottish record of 59.7x and scared Daniel Sliwinski’s British record of 59.55 from 2009, but most importantly, ranks him third in the world behind two stars he’ll meet at Commonwealths: Christian Sprenger and Cameron van der Burgh. Second in the race was rising star Adam Peaty, who broke 1:00 with a 59.79 and automatically qualified for the British squad by one hundredth of a second. Michael Jamieson, already on the Scottish team in the 100 breast, captured third with a 1:00.53.
Halsall put up a 24.51 to win by nearly a body length, using a strong start to build momentum in the short-and-sweet race. It’s not her fastest time of the year, with a 24.38 to her credit from last month. Halsall had no issues with getting on the Welsh Commonwealth Games team, as her bronze medal from worlds given her immediate selection. Sian Harkin was second with a 25.07, while Amy Smith took third with a 25.09.
Halsall returned to post the fastest time in the 50 fly semifinals with a 25.88, putting her third in the world behind Sarah Sjostrom and Jeanette Ottesen. Neither of them will compete at the Commonwealth Games, so Halsall stands in good position to take the gold in that event later this summer. As a side note, Halsall could meet Sjostrom and Ottesen at the European championships, if Halsall elects to attend that meet.
Joe Roebuck was leading for 199 meters of the men’s 200 fly final, until 400 IM winner Roberto Pavoni took the final stroke to get to the wall first with a 1:57.20 to Roebuck’s 1:57.28. Neither swam fast enough to get automatically selected to the English squad for the Commonwealth Games, but put them 13th and 14th respectively in the world standings. Cameron Brodie was third with a 1:57.96.
Sophie Taylor took the race out hard in the 200 breast final, and held on to shatter the English record of 2:26.38 held by Molly Renshaw with a 2:24.37. That’ll put Taylor fourth in the world, a place not seen in a long time for a British breaststroker and shows promise for Taylor in the two years leading to the Olympics. Renshaw was in the running for the British title, but settled for second with a 2:25.10, also under her old record. Danielle Lowe captured third with a 2:28.28.
Georgia Davies, already selected to swim at Commonwealths for Wales, got under the 1:00 barrier with a 59.78 to win the women’s 100 back final. She became the sixth person under 1:00 so far in the world in 2014, leapfrogging up to second in the world well behind the 58.92 of Emily Seebohm. Lauren Quigley was second with a 1:00.16 for 10th in the world, while Lizzie Simmonds placed third with a 1:00.60.
Chris Walker-Hebborn looks in good shape to take the 50 back final tomorrow after a 25.20 to put her three tenths ahead of world record holder Liam Tancock and his 25.59. Joe Patching, who just wrapped up his freshman season at Auburn University in the United States, qualified third with a 25.84.
Two other Auburn-based British swimmers will be chasing Calum Jarvis in tomorrow’s 100 free final. Adam Brown and James Disney-May put up times of 49.73 and 49.74, respectively, to qualify third and fourth for the final. Jarvis posted a 49.54 to break his own Welsh record of 50.09, while Ben Proud was second overall with a 49.69. Proud, Brown and Disney-May will be looking for a time faster than 48.37 to get automatically picked for the English team going to the Commonwealth Games.
In junior competition, Benjamin Kerry won the men’s 200 fly with a 2:02.88, while Magdalena Cygan won the women’s 50 free in 26.26. Emma Chittleburgh won the women’s 200 breast with a 2:33.22, and Brittany Horton won the women’s 100 back with a 1:02.95. Harry Ackland rounded out the session with a 1:03.79 to win the junior competition in the men’s 100 breast.