Australia Safe In Commonwealth Waters On Edge Of Marathon To Global Ambitions

World-record setters Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon, Mel Schlanger and Bronte Campbell [Photo: Ian MacNicol]

As the Commonwealth Games draws to a close this weekend, we review the top performers, starting with Australia – plenty of swims to celebrate and plenty of room for improvement too, including a need to swim up not down at major meets

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As the Commonwealth Games draws to a close this weekend, we review the top performers, starting with Australia – plenty of swims to celebrate and plenty of room for improvement too, including a need to swim up not down at major meets



I like that Verhaeren & Scott are being “reality based” regarding the situation. Comm Games WAS an incredibly variable meet with regards to the depth in specific events and the times that won medals agst the “intl measuring stick”. Craig is right to highlight the legitimately outstanding performances but there were still some events where people medalled with times that wouldn’t make World/Olympic finals.

Concern areas that seem to be improving are:
– post Rice gap in W400IM. McMaster’s 4.36 is at least somewhere around “finals”
– the post Hackett gap in 1500. Horton & Harrison may not become dominant but are at least competitive.
– some positive signs in M back. Not quite there at the moment but Larkin/Beaver nudging close to “finals times”.
– Emma McKeon’s overall performance & overall potential. May’ve superceded Barrett as premier 200FS where she looks “medal contender”. Potential to fill Coutts’ spot as premier 100FLY.
– McKeown in W200BRS

Still major concerns:
– Mens BRS beyond Sprenger looks a gaping chasm w nobody even threatening to break 1.01 or 2.11.
– Men’s fly esp over 100
– W800FS. Ashwood’s failure to replicate domestic performance along the line of many before her. Bowles’ swim pleasing but need to see it followed through.
– W100BRS. The leading performers are both NOT internationally competitive and close to end of career. This gap threatens medal competitiveness of historically strong 4XMED
– depth in both M & W 400IM & w200IM.

Personal Best

I think Horton has shown great maturity and focus; I think he’s looking to be very competitive.

Some of the male swimmers who have been inconsistent seem to have become a bit more reliable as well (as you mentioned in the 100 back, 200 back, but also 200 free, 400 free).

I think Pan Pacs will be the clearer test of results as it seems to have been the focus for some.
Interesting times ahead for sure.


Wombat for the third time in the past week I will comment that Jake Packard went 60.55 in the States 2 weeks ago.


This was, for the most par, swimming against the JV squad or kissing your sister.

We’ll find out how far they (the Oz girl and boys) when they go up against the “mightiest” swim power the world has ever seen (No, NOT New Zealand!) @ the Pan-Pacs in tees semanas.

Then afterwards Jacco may still have a job.


Due to its unparalleled incredible depth (and obviously a few swimming mega stars as well) , USA will steamroller over the competition at the pan pacs.

The less countries participating, the more obvious USA dominance is. Even at the height of Australian swimming in 2002 after Australia beat USA in the 2001 worlds, USA still handily beat Australia 21 golds to 11 golds.

Just Me

I think the Aussies will come crashing back to reality after the Pan Pacs. This story highlights that the number of performances that would have made an impact on the world stage are few and far between.

I can only see W50 free, W100 free, & W4x100 free being favourites gold.

Beyond that there may be a few events where Aussies will be competitive, namely: W200 free, W100 back will be a tight tussle with Missy as will the W4x200 if Aus can sort out their appalling selection decisions from Glasgow. Coutts out of form at Comms but may be a chance in the W200IM if she can improve.

On the mens side the M400 free could go the way of McKeon but reports out of Aus are than Magnussen and Sprenger will await MRI results on injury but even if they swim won’t be at their best. McEvoy may cause an upset in the M100 free if he can improve back to his best from Glasgow, but outside of this I don’t see any other Gold medal prospects against the USA.

In short it will be USA by a landslide and the very sugarcoated, wrapped up in a pink bow positive results out of Glasgow will be relaxed with a harsh reality. Swimming Australia would be wise to lower public expectation prior to the event to better manage the fall out of any perceived “failure”.


And what with Christopher Wright always swimming faster at the trials than at majors?
In contrast to her girlfriend who always swimming her best at the majors.

Poto Slater

Hi Craig

Once again I very insightful article.
I believe the biggest factor for the AUS team coming out of the Games was the that public perception of the team has come back around to a positive. Credit here must go to Michael Scott.
What I don’t believe has happened, was that the AUS team “dominated in pool “as many news articles have stated.
Although the team won 47 medals, we had a team of 47 swimmers, the largest since Melbourne in 2006 ( 46 medals won ) when compared to the combined results of the GBR team the picture doesn’t look as good.
What the games did show was some major holes ( and depth ) in the AUS swim team, ( men’s Fly, Breast, IM – womens breast, Fly IM , distance free) – Also a big consideration is the Age of some of the AUS members.
9 swimmers will be over 25yrs come Rio, with a possibilites of 16 if all age up this year ( apologies in didn’t look up athletes DOB)

If you look at times the AUS team recorded at the 2014 AUS Titles only 23 swims were faster than achieved in Glasgow, 75 swims were Slower than trials. From my understanding this was a major concern from London, and a big goal for Glasgow.
If you just look at times achieved at the 2014 AUS titles, the AUS team gave away a possible 2 Gold, 3 Silver and 6 Bronze medals – with also the opportunity to turn 1 Silver into Gold, 3 Bronze into Gold and 1 Bronze into Silver.
If AUS is to achieve its goal of becoming the Number 1 swimming nations, they cannot leave any medals on the table.
We will all get a better understanding of where all Commonwealth nations sit in 3 day time ( US Trials) – …… the bigger test for the AUS comes in 21st August.

Craig Lord

Good points Poto


Can concur with Poto re summation of CG results.

WILL be very interesting to see who/how many DO back up at Pan Pacs; whether some will actually perform better …. and who doesn’t. Pan Pacs ISN’T Worlds or the Olympics but anytime you’re coming up against what is generally a full strength US team is going to be very strong gauge on just where you actually stand internationally in most events. It should certainly be a test of many swimmers maturity with regards to how they handle the “come down” from CG hype to international realities.

Any golds are likely to be hard won; I tend to agree with JM’s calls. AUS likely favourites in W50FS, 100FS, 4X100. Good chances in M200FS, 400FS & maybe 1500 (if Cochrane doesn’t show up). Close relay in both 4×200. IF Magnussen is fit then both 100fs & 4X100 on the table. W200BRS could also be interesting.

In other events where the US swimmer IS the current “gold standard”, they should be looking at how “close” they are to them, whether they’ve closed the gap … and where they may still be deficient.

Due to sheer weight of numbers, the US is always likely to be the superpower of the sport. However, despite Bill’s “boostering”, it is rare that they are all powerful and there are usually some gaps in both men’s and women’s sides. Men’s BRS needs someone to step up and distance FS is good but not dominant. Same could be said for W BRS and W sprint FS is lagging behind AUS.

Poto Slater

British import Ellen Gandy has pulled out of the Australian swimming team for personal reasons ahead of their Pan Pacs showdown with the United States on the Gold Coast.

Gandy – who contested the London Olympics for Great Britain – made her Australian debut at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

She made the 100m and 200m butterfly finals as Australia topped the Glasgow pool medal tally with 57 medals (19 gold, 21 silver, 17 bronze).

However, Australia will be without the 2011 world championship silver medallist when they come up against the might of the United States, Canada and Japan from August 21-24.

Nine swimmers were injected into the initial Pan Pacs squad named in April after the Glasgow Games.

Matthew Abood, Alanna Bowles, Jayden Hadler, Sally Hunter, Travis Mahoney, Keryn McMaster, Lorna Tonks and Chris Wright will join Australia A recruit Jake Packard and the rest of the team when they assemble on the Gold Coast on August 17.

National coach Jacco Verhaeren said it would be a challenge to back up from their Glasgow heroics.

“It’s not usual for us to have two chances to race so quickly together and it something that we’ve been preparing for all year and will learn a lot from,” he said.

Simon Huitenga, Rhys Mainstone, Jarrod Poort, Chelsea Gubecka, Kareena Lee and Jessica Walker will also join the team for a August 25 10km open water race that follows the Pan Pacs pool action.

Australian Pan Pacs team: Matthew Abood, Josh Beaver, Tommaso D’0rsogna, Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Jayden Hadler, Jordan Harrison, Mack Horton, Simon Huitenga, Mitch Larkin, Matson Lawson, Travis Mahoney, James Magnussen, Rhys Mainstone, Cameron McEvoy, Ned McKendry, David McKeon, Jake Packard, Jarrod Poort, Christian Sprenger, Kenneth To, Daniel Tranter, Ben Treffers, Chris Wright, Jessica Ashwood, Bronte Barratt, Alanna Bowles, Bronte Campbell, Cate Campbell, Alicia Coutts, Brittany Elmslie, Remy Fairweather, Madeline Groves, Chelsea Gubecka, Belinda Hocking, Sally Hunter, Kareena Lee, Emma McKeon, Taylor McKeown, Keryn McMaster, Melanie Schlanger, Emily Seebohm, Lorna Tonks, Jessica Walker.

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