England, Scotland, Wales Post Varying Qualifying Criteria for Commonwealth Games

LOUGHBOROUGH, England, October 23. THOUGH they compete under Great Britain’s flag at all other major international competitions, British swimmers compete under three different flags during the Commonwealth Games, each of which have published their procedures for selecting the swimmers who will compete in Scotland next year.

As has always been the case, Great Britain’s swimmers will race for either the England, Scotland or Wales team at next summer’s Commonwealth Games, creating a sort of intrasquad meet every four years. English swimmers make up most of the squads at the Olympics and world championships, which is why it is not surprising that England has the toughest qualifying criteria for the Commonwealth Games.

England’s team of 36 total swimmers will be primarily selected at the British long course trials in Glasgow, the site of the Commonwealth Games, in mid-April. Times swum only in the championship final will be considered for selection to the meet, and up to three swimmers per Olympic event can make the team, provided they beat the tough qualifying times set forth.

Any athlete looking to compete for England next summer will have to be faster than the third-fastest time posted by a Commonwealth swimmer last summer. That includes swims done by Australians, Canadians and South Africans. For instance, an Englishman wishing to race in the 1500 freestyle in Scotland would have to beat the 14:56.60 posted by Mack Horton at the junior world championships. (Canada’s Ryan Cochrane and Australia’s Ryan Harrison were first and second among Commonwealth swimmers in 2013.) No British swimmer broke 15 minutes in the mile this year, though Daniel Fogg got close with a 15:00.48.

Many British men will have to post lifetime bests in order to make the team. One swimmer who won’t have to do so is Andrew Willis, who should be able to post a time faster than 2:10.61 in the 200 breast. Chris Walker-Hebborn also falls inside the cut of the 100 back, and Roberto Pavoni could sneak in for the individual medleys if he swims his best times.

For the women, Fran Halsall is pretty much a lock for qualifying in the sprint freestyles, and possibly the 100 butterfly. With the retirements of Gemma Spofforth and Rebecca Adlington since the last Commonweath Games, as well as Ellen Gandy’s switch to Australian sports citizenship, England will have a hard time filling its women’s roster.

Some of the roster spots may be filled by swimmers who don’t beat the qualifying times, but come within a certain percentage of the cuts. The selection guidelines do not specify how close a swimmer would have to be in order to garner consideration onto the roster. Non-Olympic events will be filled by those already on the roster.

British qualifying times:

24.59 50 Free 21.67
54.09 100 Free 48.37
1:56.77 200 Free 1:46.52
4:04.03 400 Free 3:45.85
8:24.63 800 Free –
– 1500 Free 14:56.60
59.97 100 Back 53.73
2:07.96 200 Back 1:56.79
1:07.36 100 Breast 59.80
2:24.92 200 Breast 2:10.61
57.96 100 Fly 51.91
2:08.53 200 Fly 1:55.64
2:10.53 200 IM 1:58.35
4:39.37 400 IM 4:13.67

Scotland has decidedly easier qualifying times, about a second slower than England’s per 100 meters. Michael Jamieson, Robbie Renwick and Hannah Miley will give the home crowd plenty to cheer for in their respective events, with Renwick and Miley looking to defend their wins from 2010. Scotland is using three meets to fill its roster, starting with the British Open and the Scottish nationals, both in March. Any open spots will be filled with another selection meet in May. Scotland’s being a little looser in what times will be considered for selection. A faster swim in semifinals or heats could count, though priority will be given to all swims in the championship finals.

Another difference with the Scottish selection times is allowing swimmers to qualify in non-Olympic events.

Scottish qualifying times:

Male Event Female
22.58 50 Free 25.83
49.34 100 Free 55.53
1:48.48 200 Free 1:59.09
3:51.96 400 Free 4:10.38
800 Free 8:38.58
15:27.28 1500 Free
25.97 50 Back 29.27
55.09 100 Back 1:01.62
1:59.80 200 Back 2:12.08
28.50 50 Breast 32.21
1:01.57 100 Breast 1:09.69
2:14.09 200 Breast 2:30.08
24.31 50 Fly 27.19
53.09 100m Fly 59.53
1:59.23 200m Fly 2:11.81
2:01.36 200m I.M. 2:14.95
4:20.10 400m I.M. 4:45.44
3:27.14 400 Free Relay 3:54.83
7:43.53 800 Free Relay 8:08.50
3:47.23 400 Medley Relay 4:18.47

Wales’ Commonwealth Games team might not be filled with lots of notable names, which appears to be fine for the administration at Swim Wales. With the exception of butterflyer Jemma Lowe and distance ace Jazz Carlin, Wales has had a tough time fielding international stars. To that end, Wales is making a few spots on the roster available for “developmental swimmers” to get some prime racing experience. These swimmers would be under 20 years old for the males and under 19 years old for the females, and have slightly slower qualification times than the “senior” Welsh athletes.

Wales is allowing all of its world championship swimmers to sail through any stress of qualifying for the meet by using the times they swam in Barcelona for selection. That includes Carlin and Lowe, as well as Ieuan Lloyd.

Welsh qualifying times:

25.87 25.49 50 Free 22.51 22.85
56.07 55.24 100 Free 49.09 49.83
1:59.84 1:58.66 200 Free 1:48.17 1:49.25
4:12.77 4:10.27 400 Free 3:50.87 3:53.18
8:41.37 8:36.21 800 Free
1500 Free 15:19.39 15:28.58
28.75 28.33 50 Back 25.06 25.44
1:01.83 1:00.92 100 Back 54.76 55.58
2:12.24 2:10.93 200 Back 1:58.86 2:00.05
31.59 31.12 50 Breast 27.63 28.04
1:09.57 1:08.51 100 Breast 1:01.22 1:02.14
2:31.70 2:30.20 200 Breast 2:12.61 2:13.94
26.63 26.24 50 Fly 23.35 23.70
59.72 58.84 100 Fly 52.50 53.29
2:11.70 2:10.40 200 Fly 1:57.45 1:58.62
2:15.14 2:13.80 200 Ind Med 2:00.84 2:02.05
4:45.54 4:42.71 400 Ind Med 4:16.81 4:19.38

* = developmental swimmers qualifying times