Day 5 heats
No morning mistake this time: Ben Proud, of England, claimed the Glasgow 2014 in a Games record of 21.76 in the 50m freestyle. At the start of the penultimate day of action at the Gold Coast Aquatics Centre, he sped to a crackling 21.45 for the helm of pace through to semis. The defence is on.
South Africa’s Brad Tandy was next through in 21.78, with Cameron McEvoy, 22.06, and James Roberts, 22.11, granting Australian two slots high on the scale of speed through to semis. Proud was 0.13sec down in his lifetime best of 21.32 from British nationals a year ago. Tandy’s target beyond Proud: the 21.67 national mark of South Africa’s premier sprinter, Roland Schoeman. Steady on those blocks in semis: qualification will be a doddle.
Proud’s appeal was rejected on the first morning of action after he was deemed to have moved on his blocks between still and sizzle, the DQ depriving him of a shot at defending the 50 ‘fly crown.
In the 50 free heats, Thomas Fannon, 22.12, James Magnussen, 22.23, David Cumberlidge, 22.25, Kiwi Daniel Hunter, 22.32, Canadian Yuri Kisil, 22.40, were next through. Then Jack Thorpe, 22.48; Bradley Vincent, 22.50; Calum Bain, 22.53; Matthew Abeysinghe, 22.65; Scott McLay, 22.79; Ruslan Gazieb, 22.80; and Sam Perry, 22.93.
The global pace of the dash so far in 2018:
Men 50M Freestyle (2018)
GBR , 23
AUS, Gold Coast
BRA , 29
BRA, Rio de Janeiro
ITA , 21
RSA , 26
AUS, Gold Coast
BRA , 21
BRA, Rio de Janeiro
Goddard’s Standard Still StandingThe Games record in the 200m back stands yet to England’s James Goddard at 1:55.58 from Delhi 2010, an indication of how far Australia’s Mitch Larkin, 2015 double World champion and then 2016 Olympic silver medallist, has come since 2014.
At his best, he will wipe the standard out. The final will tell. In heats, South Africa’s Martin Binedell set the top pace on 1:57.92, Larkin, the 50 and 100m champion this week, on 1:57.99 as he seeks to become the first man in Commonwealth Games history to claim a sweep of backstroke titles, teammate Bradley Woodward closest at 1:58.41.
England’s Luke Greenback went through in 1:58.54, Josh Beaver granting Australia a third shot in 1:58.73. Bronze medallist in100m, Markus Thormeyer, of Canada, on 1:59.68, Welshman Xavier Castelli, 2:00.08, and Scotland’s Craig McNally, 2:00.26, completed the line-up for the final.
Georgia Davies, who swam Wales into the history books with a 27.56 Games-record win in 2014, was on 27.91 in heats of the 50m backstroke this morning, in a pincer of speedsters towing hefty medal collections to the blocks with them: Australian Emily Seebohm led the way on 27.63, Kylie Masse, the Canadian 100 and 200m champion, the last through inside 28, on 27.99. They were followed by Scotland’s Kathleen Dawson, 28.17, and Cassie Wild, 28.31; Australia’s Holly Barratt, 28.49, and Minna Atherton, 28.50; Canada’s Alexia Zevnik, 28.75; and Scotland’s Lucy Hope, 28.77. Also through – Bobbi Gichard, 28.81; Jade Hannah, 28.82; Naomi Ruele, 29.18; Danielle Hill, 29.27; Anna Maine, 29.29; Erin Gallagher, 29.38, and Harriet West, 29.46.
Schipper’s Standard Still Standing
Jessicah Schipper, the Australian ace who relaunched her blog and website on the eve of the Games, holds the Games record yet at 2:06.09 from the 2006 200m butterfly battle.
Welsh challenger Alys Thomas took a ticket to lane 4 for the final this morning on 2:07.72, with the global pace-setter of the season so far Laura Taylor, on 2:08.43, four weeks on from trials at which she laid down a big personal best of 2:06.80.
Canada’s Mabel Zavaros, 2:08.71, and the Australians threatening another sweep followed: Emma McKeon, 2:09.55, Brianna Throssell, 2:09.93. Isle of Man’s Charlotte Atkinson, 2:09.95, England’s Laura Stephens, 2:11.18, and Emily Large, 2:11.35 slammed the door to the final, Scotland’s Hannah Miley just locked out in 2:11.53.