Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Thoughts from Commonwealth Games Swimming - Day Two

Much better day for the home nations, much needed after a quiet first day... Lets bullet...
. Fran Halsall is going to have a monster meet. The 50m Fly was on paper her toughest individual event, and she took down the best Australia had to offer. Pre-competition I picked Yolane Kukla to win, with Marieke Guehrer picking up silver and Halsall taking Bronze. Pre-race I had bumped Guehrer and Halsall up a spot. In the end Halsall showed once again that she is a tremendous 'racer' (lazy cliche again, apologies) and had a tremendous last 5m and finish.

Finishing a 50m sprint so strongly bodes extremely well for her 100m Free and Fly.

- I was also impressed with Halsall's 100m Free semi. She was clear of the field at 50m and although Alicia Coutts looked strong on the back 50m (and had a tremendous turn), I don't expect anyone to challenge Halsall when she gets up to full speed and effort in the final. It's now a very real possibility that she will win 4 individual Golds (I can't see England winning any relay golds).

. The Aussies will be a little sore after losing the 50m Fly. Kukla, Guehrer and Seebohm have all been faster than Halsall's winning time this year.

Kukla in particular seems to be struggling. She is ranked 8th in the world this year in the 100m Free but ended up missing the final. Her time will come, but from the evidence so far, that won't be in Delhi.

Update -  According to InfostradaLive - "Halsall (ENG) became the first woman from outside Australia in 20 years to win gold in an individual Women's Butterfly event at Commonwealth Games."

. Liam Tancock was dominant in his 50m Backstroke. Winning by 0.46 in a 50m is a real achievement.

However, you know in the back of Tancock's mind will be the memory of the 24.07 from Camille Lacourt at Europeans. The 100m Back is still to come, and I think Tancock can improve upon his 52.85 this year, but its looking like Lacourt will end the year head and shoulders above the rest of the world.

Lacourt, head and shoulders above Tancock... in every sense.

.  Robbie Renwick had a nice swim to win the 200m Freestyle. Ross Davenport went for an outside smoke show but got reeled in on the last 25m. Good result for Renwick, but to put it in some perspective, his winning time of 1:47.88 would have finished 7th at Pan Pacs. On the flipside he did beat the 4th (Fraser-Holmes), 5th (Monk) and 6th (Basson) placed finishers on that day.

Leads me to the question, which was the better swim... Thomas Fraser-Holmes coming 4th at Pan Pacs in 1:47.23, or Robbie Renwick winning Commonwealths in 1:47.88?

. The BBC have nailed it this year with their in-studio team. Clare Balding admits that she doesn't know a great deal about swimming, but has a genuine enthusiasm for the sport and a willingness to learn more (hopefully a sentiment echoed by the viewers). Mark Foster is on good form and is able to give a good insight into the British swimmers thoughts and personalities as he has competed on the same team as most of them.

However, the real star is Ian Thorpe. This guy really knows how to talk about swimming. Not too technical to put off casual fans, whilst not oversimplifying his explanations either. Such a shame that he won't be working for the BBC in 2012 as he'll be busy competing...

... Out of interest what are the views on BBC commentators Adrian Moorhouse and Andy Jameson?

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