Commonwealth Games: Semifinals Recap – Aussies 1-2-3 in 50 Free

Shayna Jack
Shayna Jack; Photo Courtesy: FINIS

Commonwealth Games: Semifinals Recap – Aussies 1-2-3 in 50 Free

The Australian sprint depth show’s latest tour stop is in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games. And it’s impressive as ever.

Aussies took the top three spots in the semifinals of the women’s 50 freestyle on Saturday, with Shayna Jack leading the sprinters across the line.

Saturday’s Commonwealth Games feature semifinal action in three events, recapped below.

Women’s 50 freestyle

Jack paced the field in the semifinals, winning the second heat of two in 24.33 seconds. She was .08 up on countrywoman Meg Harris in her semifinal. The winner of the first semifinal, Emma McKeon, is the third seed in 24.51.

The trio led the way in prelims in the morning, too. Jack was the top seed there in 24.31, followed by reigning Olypmic champion McKeon and 2022 World Championships bronze medalist Harris.

The best chance to break the Aussie embargo is England’s Anna Hopkin, the fourth seed in 24.66. Emma Chelius is fifth, one of two South Africans in the final. Danielle Hill is also in there for Northern Ireland.

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Men’s 100 breaststroke

Adam Peaty is in fine form in his return to action, blasting a 59.02 to win the second semifinal heat and earn the top seed in the final.

Peaty was the only man under a minute in prelims. He nearly went sub-59 with a 59.02 in the semifinal. He outdistanced reigning Olympic and World 200 breast champ Zac Stubblety-Cook by .78 seconds. ZSC is the second seed in 59.80, ahead of first heat victory James Wilby of England (59.85).

Peaty could have the Games record in his sights, having gone 58.59 in the 2018 Games.

“This is my fourth swim of the year so front end feels a bit more rusty than it normally does in a championship,” Peaty said. “It ain’t about the time, it ain’t about that, it’s about enjoying the crowd, giving the crowd a show, bringing each other up with you. I don’t care about what time I go – I just want to race and win hopefully.”

That first heat was crowded with three sub-minute swims. Aussies Sam Williamson (59.98) and Joshua Yong (59.99) are the fourth and fifth seed, respectively. Scotland gets a pair into the final with Ross Murdoch and Craig Benson.

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Women’s 100 backstroke

Kylie Masse won the second heat of two to set the pace in semifinals with a time of 58.83. The silver medalist at the World Championships this summer, Masse’s time was just .20 off her Commonwealth Games record from the 2018 edition.

The showdown is set for the final: Olympic champ Kaylee McKeown is the second seed in 59.08, a rematch of the top two finishers from the Tokyo Games last summer. Third is Medi Harris, the Welsh swimmer as the only other one under a minute in 59.64.

Only two Aussies made the final, with Minna Atherton fifth. Lauren Cox is the only Englishwoman in the final eight in fourth place.

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