Commonwealth Catch-Up

It's a wrap (clockwise): Aussie 4x100m free world-record setters Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon, Mel Schlanger, Bronte Campbell; Ross Murdoch (SCO); Fran Halsall (ENG); England men's medley quartet Chris Walker-Hebborn, Adam Peaty, Adam Barrett, Adam Brown [Images: Ian MacNicol]

The XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow drew to an end on Sunday evening with Australia winning the meet; here are the top 12 performance son points and a link to every event day-by-day as covered by SwimVortex

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Comments

Robert Traynor

Thank you, Swim Vortex, for the exhaustive coverage of the swimming events. A job very well done.

For me, the highlights of these games swimming wise was the ascendancy of the Campbell sisters, Bronte in particular. What fine ambassadors for the sport these young ladies are in and out of the pool.

I must give kudos to Australia’s Channel Ten for its outstanding televised coverage of the swimming events. Newbie commentator Leisel Jones was excellent. What is it about retired Aussie female swimmers that makes them such great commentators? Nicole Williamson, Giaan Rooney, and now Leisel have all been exceptional.

Craig Lord

Thanks Robert. On your last note, I think it may have much to do with them knowing their sport and being folk who had their feet on the ground and knew what was worth what. It helps that they’re pleasant people, too. Goes for the majority of swimmers, too, in my experience.

commonwombat

May I add an extra dimension to Craig’s comments re these commentators. They also try and avoid the temptation to descend into “cheerleaders”. Whilst you know where their loyalties lie, they give full justice to performances by other nations and try to call it as they see it.

Craig Lord

Yes, an important point the commentator one commonwwombat

Jaki

Great coverage from Swimvortex, and a good idea to link to all the Commonwealth articles.

For me the global highlight: awesome British team! After the home Olympics quite difficult, the home Commonwealth saw new world-class talents emerged!

Can’t wait to see the next round in the European championship!

NB: since some talked about tv commentators: Thorpe made some interventions on BBC, seemed fine and in good shape! Happy to see that after the last tough months he had!

Robert Traynor

I like it when they “descend into cheerleaders”, but then I’m hopelessly parochial and make no apologies for it. Most sports fans are the same. That said, I would never criticise anyone, even implicitly, for having a keen and impartial interest in every swimming nation, just as I would like to think that no one would criticise me for being primarily interested in my country’s achievements in the pool.

commonwombat

Maybe it’s because I’m a “half-breed” (dual AUS/RSA citizen) but commentators as cheerleaders CAN cross a line with me. Don’t mind enthusiasm and cheering your team across the line as long as it doesn’t descend into blind nationalistic parochialism. Credit top performances whoever it’s from and where your team is not up to scratch, call it as it is.

Jaki; some fair points re GBR swimming actually moving further forward post the targeted event, London. AUS actually had a similar experience post Sydney, albeit off a stronger base. Will be interesting how a Yes vote at the SCO Referendum will impact things; esp w men’s BRS where there are a number of strong contenders from both. Still some gaps in both men’s & women’s sides but overall depth looks on the improve.

felixdangerpants

Nicole is a truly horrible commentator. Possibly the worst Australian commentator I’ve ever heard. The next time I hear her say “it’s all about racing the race” I’m going to watch it on some foreign channel so I can’t understand what they’re saying. Other than her I agree that the coverage was excellent on ten. I’ve always found Liesel boring, I enjoyed it when Thorpe was on, like to see some more of him (swimming commentary that is.)

Northeast Swim Fan

Great article. I do take issue, however, with not including the 200 IM swim by O’Connor in your top 12 performances. She now ranks #1 in the world.

Craig Lord

I take issue with it too 🙂 NE swim fan … but it’s not my fault… points are calculated on where the world record is and what the spread of quality behind that is, so Siobhan’s fabulous swim is, on points, a victim of the shiny suits world record of 2:06.15 (and what came home in its wake, too). My list of ‘choice’ performances of the meet would be different – that’s to come and will reflect the quality in context of current standards in the world…

John

Between AUS v GBR, the British will always have the advantage over Australia because they can technically send many more swimmers from each of the home nations..meanwhile Australia had to leave home some swimmers because they can only swim under one flag unlike Britain

Craig Lord

You’re point is half good John. It is not an ‘advantage’ to have teams full of folk who don’t make finals, let alone podiums. And in that virtual AUS vs GBR world, there was only one race affected by your picture: men’s 200m breaststroke, a Brit sweep in which you’d have to take a medal away. In the case of Australia, you’d have to take three medals away. There;s more depth to such things, of course, including the transition to global waters, where many, Aussie male sprinters included, would have to step up to make top 3, with some able to afford being down on best to take Commonwealth honours. Even so, the home-nation Brits who stepped up and took medals, many in world-class times that would be competitive in world waters, should surely feel able to swim away from Glasgow with a sense of pride. Trick now – to go further, of course, as ever it was.

verram

Half good? At Commonwealth level, how many swimmers does GBR have to draw medals from? The point is they have the opportunity to race for medals at Commonwealth level, and legitimately win those medals, whereas Australia is limited to 3 per event.. its a moot point whether some of the swimmers Australia left behind could have stepped up and picked up medals against the Brits.. but the Brits having the “opportunity” to race many more of their swimmers (swimming from the same clubs in Engalnd and all under the British swimming program) and getting that valuable international experience cannot be denied, and it is an advantage over the other non-British nations..

Craig Lord

Perhaps – but it doesn’t change the result – in all but one race there were two Brits on the podium, which is what there would be in world waters. Half good it is and no more 🙂 Like I said, it is no ‘advantage’ to have lots of young Welsh swimmers, for example, in Commonwealth action who are far away from making the British team. That’s been the case for many decades – to little effect in global international elite waters. Those who stepped up from Commonwealth waters to big moments beyond were generally people capable of making a Britain team anyway. The half good in your points is the possibility of having Dan Jervis in the 1500m given he would not have been selected for a Britain team before he showed his hand this summer – but he surely would have shown his hand at some stage, as Euro jun champion. And as you note, there are few Aussies left back home who would have made that kind of impact. Its a fringe thought.

verram

Well I am not going to argue the point with you any further, as this is your website after all.. but if you do not see that there is advantage in having potentially 5 British swimmers versus a maximum of ‘only’ 3 Aussies in any given Commonwealth final, then you have made a ‘half’ interesting point…

Craig Lord

… ‘potentially’ is the key: how many finals had 5 british swimmers in them… I’m not going to count but I don’t see an ‘advantage’ in numbers on that scale … quality is where it is at: Britain has long had big teams at Commonwealth Games… it has not translated into beating Australia in world waters.I accept that may well be a half-intereting point for you 🙂

verram

If Britain has max 3 swimmers at Commonwealth Games like Canada Australia and New Zealand etc then you will start making sense Craig Lord.. until that time comes, I will just humour your stubborn irrational rationality 🙂

Craig Lord

🙂 the only swimmers who count in the scenarios you paint are the contenders for top honours… an advantage to me means something that helps you win medals over the chances others have … three per nation is about where its at. Take the 100 m free … with Magnussen and McEvoy up front and D’Orsogna the only other in the race ever to have swum inside 49, it really wouldn’t have mattered if Britain home nations had had 200 in their pool – they wouldn’t have been at an advantage 🙂

Australian swim fan

Another lack ulster performance from Australia illustrating the point that Australian coaches can not bring their swimmers to a peak for international competitions as successfully as they can for the Nationals. Or in this case bring up for a first peak prior to the Pan Pacs peak in late August. Since the 08 Olympics this in ability of coaches to peak at major championships has plagued Australia’s performance. May be we should be consulting with the US coaches who successfully do it year on year – with a handful of swimmers unable to manage to hold their taper from their Nationals to the major International meet.
Perhaps the coaches this year have tried a to bring their swimmers up for a limited tapper so they peak properly for the home Pan Pacs – either way the Brits have out done us because they were in a similar position with the European championships in August. If you look at their performances at their Nationals and at the games they have peaked significantly better than Australia.
This inability to get the taper right is a plague that Australia cannot rid its self of. May be some one should consult Don Talbot?
Australian Swim fan

felixdangerpants

veteran you are talking absolute nonsense & I am 100% with Craig on this. If you know Australian swimming you would know that there is not 1 swimmer in Australia who was left off there team who would’ve been even close to winning a medal…..and as Craig just said about the British sending 299 guys in the 100 freestyle it wouldn’t matter if every country in the Commonwealth sent 200 swimmers in each event the simple fact is the result would’ve been the same unless of course Le Clos who led off in 48.5 had swum it.

felixdangerpants

verram not veteran (that’s what my phone changed ur name too) maybe that’s it what it thinks of ur comments

felixdangerpants

Aussie swim fan, I made a comment the other day on the women’s 800 final about the dreadful state of NZ swimming & thought about writing points similar to yours but I thought I would give some of the team the benefit of the doubt until pan pacs has been and gone although by that stage they could have under performed ever more. Nationals has been the peak performance of the year for the majority of Aussie swimmers for the past few years a completely agree with you. This hasn’t always been the case though as we know. St Peters to me is a really good example of the point you are making. Their international representatives (as I include park in this) have predominantly swum very poorly in the major competitions these past few years, basically since many of the nations top swimmers flocked to the club in the wake of Rice’s success. That too has happened in many of the nations other major program’s. Now with this new platinum centre thingee I actually think we will see more of it because to me it’s swimming australia wanting their best 100 or so swimmers in its best 10 program’s where there will always be a pecking order from 1-10 & it is very hard to get that amount of tapers right. Groves didn’t even look like the same swimmer she did in January when she smoked a 2:06 from an outside lane. The swimmers who have been fortunate to stay in their home program’s or have placed their trust in their home coach & not bailed out to a socalled ‘super’ coach continued to progress. Perfect examples of this were Beaver & McMasters.
Obviously swimming Australia’s goal of being top nation in 2020 is completely unrealistic, they need to take small steps to back to the top. Right now I would say 2 or 3 golds in Rio tops. The relay girls, Cate/Bronte & James/Cameron there best hopes, with realistically little else looking promising as in 2 years time I really don’t believe Christian will be a contender with the young stars coming through. That means from (let’s give them a generous 4 in Rio) they will need to win 10 more in Tokyo to beat America. That is laughable. I have talked to, sat and listened to, been in lectures with Jacco during this year & while he is lovely guy & clearly a brilliant coach with great ideas he seriously has his work cut out. Whilst it is great to the standard do 50-200 freestylers both male & female in Australia these are the most competitive events world wide & each race only has 1 gold medal to hand out Australia needs to get back to its roots of dominating hard events & doing more hard work not fluffing around trying to emulate what the Europeans have been doing so well for the past 10+ years. I could go on all morning, that’ll do for now.

Torchbearer

It drives me a little crazy how Australian swimmers peak at the Nationals, and are slower at the meets that matter. Is their taper off, are the nationals seen as a bigger challenge, are the nationals too early, do they not travel well (though it also happened at Sydney 2000)?

aswimfan

I wonder if the fact that the aussies teams always among the first teams to arrive first and early in the athlete village has something to do with it.
The USA team arrived two days after the Aussie team in London.

commonwombat

The issues of getting tapers right has always been a tricky issue and not just a recent problem. The human side-show that was Lawrie Lawrence making a complete hash of Julie McDonald’s in Barcelona is just one notable case.

The question of “super squads” and coaches is an interesting one. There is always the temptation to go where there’s been conspicuous recent success but as to whether it’s the right fit for you can never be known. Personal/people chemistry and prevailing cultures are not something that can be determined by any scientific or mathematical formula.

CAN coaches get carried away by the “reflected glory” of their successful charges ? Absolutely; they are human after all. Doug Frost reportedly got very “carried away with himself” post Sydney which may’ve impacted on the Thorpe situation. Have some coaches “taken on too much” with regards to the size of their squads ? Maybe.

Should AUS move their trials to a date closer to the major competitions ? A strong case to be made however it may not be an instant fix given the AUS competition season is traditionally been summer based.

Are AUS swimmers’ race skills as good as they should be ? There are still some poor starters and turners. I’m NOT the NCAA’s biggest fan but one benefit is the amount of racing they do ….which is one area where AUS arguably lags behind. Some of our leading swimmers have historically complained about and “begged off” competing in intl S/C meets but what this WILL do is sharpen up these key areas. Perhaps some AUS coaches need to stop being “enablers” ?

Just Me

My opinion on the taper issue is that the history and tradition of making the Australian Swim team is great that swimmers grow up dreaming of making their national team. The media focus on swimming in Australia is extensive.

Over time the standard to make the Australian team (when compared to world best) has declined in most events and so its become easier to make the Australian team, yet the prestige has remained. Swimmers make it at a lower standard, yet have fulfilled their dream of representing their country in the most successful Olympic sport.

In my opinion, swimmers need to aim higher and raise the bar. Making the team should not be enough. Swimmers hungry for international success will be able to peak when it counts..not just to claim their tracksuit.

felixdangerpants

Wombat your last paragraph is certainly a valid one obviously I think along the same lines in your others. Every time Japan compete in Australia which as we know is regularly they teach the top Aussies a lesson in skills, but that still doesn’t fix the swimming slower than trials issue….I know Ron McKeon is a huge fan of how America run their trials & selections. Maybe it is simply time Australia followed because they are not getting it right. And maybe it’s time Australia starting sending their top swimmers to competitions that they aren’t going to dominate. Get them racing in Japan & America against better swimmers instead of their own Grand Prix meets & wishy washy World Cup meets.

Just Me

Australia doesn’t have the population base to support high standard of competition all year like the US. Growing up with repeated racing through school and college allows US swimmers to back up nationals with major in quick succession.

It’s just not feasible in Australia. Massive country, tiny population.

Mark

Your medal tally needs correcting. Australia only won 16 gold medals, not 17. You appear to have given Australia an extra men’s gold medal.

Craig Lord

Mark, thanks… left a para-sport medal in there by mistake. 16 it is.

Mark

I think you’ll also find Australia’s total medals were 47. I think you are missing a silver medal for the women.

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