Commonwealth Games Swimming Medal Predictions: Two Florida Gators Eyeing 400 IM Podium Spots

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 19. OUTSIDE of the breaststroke events, the men’s 400 IM could be one of the most thrilling races on the men’s side at the Commonwealth Games. There’s no clear-cut favorite, though many might believe — and rightfully so — that Thomas Fraser-Holmes of Australia has such a clear advantage over the rest of the field after his 4:10.68 swum in April.

But Chad Le Clos is not to be counted out. The South African superstar sat out the 400 IM in 2013 after placing fifth in the event at the 2012 Olympics with a 4:12.42. Like Michael Phelps, something didn’t seem right with Le Clos in that 400 IM final, and I believe a sub-4:10 is well within Le Clos’ reach. Will it happen at the Commonwealth Games?

Until the heat sheets are released, we’ll keep Le Clos in the 400 IM, though the finals of that event also come on the same day as the 50 fly and 400 free relay. Would Le Clos drop the 400 IM in favor of a day of sprinting?

Fraser-Holmes also has a conundrum on his hands. He’s the top Australian in the 200 free, and nothing has suggested that he’s skipping the 400 IM. If he manages to get on top of the podium in both events, it would be an amazing feat. Fraser-Holmes will have an hour to recover from the 200 free before tackling the 400 IM final. How will swimming two 200 freestyles and a prelim 400 IM affect him?

The spoilers look to be two swimmers who train together daily at the University of Florida, and a rising British IM star. South African Sebastien Rousseau didn’t have a great NCAA championships, getting over a sudden illness that kept him out of contention for individual titles in his final year. He showed promise at the Arena Grand Prix in Santa Clara with a respectable 4:17.49, but will need to be six seconds faster in taper to be competitive. Dan Wallace of Scotland was a finalist in this event at the world championships, and has more momentum to carry onto a podium spot than Rousseau after a superb NCAA meet.

England’s Roberto Pavoni might be able to get on the medal stand if he can replicate or improve on his 4:12.24 from British nationals. The physical state of Le Clos and Fraser-Homes will decide the medals.

Men’s 400 individual medley medal predictions:
Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Australia
Silver: Dan Wallace, Scotland
Bronze: Chad Le Clos, South Africa

Hannah Miley has been the undisputed queen of the 400 IM in Great Britain for nearly a decade, but Aimee Willmott has her eyes on the throne. It appears to be between those two for the gold medal, but Miley has not needed to put in a fast rested swim in 2014, as she was preselected for Scotland’s team. I predict Miley will surpass the 4:33.25 she swam in the Mare Nostrum series and approach her lifetime best of 4:31.33. Miley had been stuck at 4:34 for a few years after the polyurethane techsuit era, and a 4:33 in the middle of the season portends something special in Glasgow. Miley is the defending champion in this event, and she could be one of the few to repeat as gold medalist.

Now that Stephanie Rice has retired, Australia needs stronger firepower to contend in the 400 IM. A 4:39.69 from Keryn McMaster is good, but light years away from what Miley and Willmott will do in Glasgow. Canada’s Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson is on the verge of breaking 4:40, which might be all she needs to do for a podium place.

Women’s 400 individual medley predictions:
Hannah Miley, Scotland
Silver: Aimee Willmott, England
Bronze: Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson, Canada

Check out our previous medal predictions by clicking the links below:

400 freestyle relay

200 backstroke

200 breaststroke

200 freestyle

400 medley relay

100 breaststroke

50 butterfly

50 backstroke

800/1500 freestyle

200 individual medley

50 freestyle

50 breaststroke

100 backstroke

200 butterfly