D Days
:
H Hours
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M Min
until the 2018 Commonwealth Games commence.
Longines Time
April 4 to 15 2018

Swimming Preview: The big rivalries and medal contenders

Swimming
3 Apr 2018

England and Canada will challenge Australia for the title of top Commonwealth swimming nation when the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games swimming competition begins on Thursday 5 April at the Optus Aquatic Centre.

Australia won 19 of the 44 swimming gold medals on offer at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and took home 22 golds four years earlier in Delhi. England was second in the swimming medal tally at Glasgow 2014, with Canada third.

The three nations are set to be the main contenders in the pool, but South Africa should also provide plenty of highlights.

There are 50 swimming events at GC2018 and the 70-strong Australian team will be aiming to be on the podium for at least half. The team was chosen at the Australian Swimming Trials, held just five weeks from the start of the Games in the hope that selected swimmers would be in top form before a home crowd.

Related: Nine show stopping moments from Australian trials | Latest swimming news

Gold medals hopes include Cate Campbell, Kyle Chalmers, Emily Seebohm, Emma McKeon, Mack Horton, Mitch Larkin, Ellie Cole, Lakeisha Patterson and Brenden Hall.

England's Olympic and world champion breaststroker Adam Peaty will spearhead a team of 37 swimmers including Glasgow 2014 gold medallists Siobhan Marie O'Connor (200m individual medley) and Ben Proud (50m freestyle and 50m butterfly).

Canada superstars Penny Oleksiak, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games 100m freestyle champion, and Kylie Masse, the 100m backstroke world champion, are among the medal chances along with para swimmers Aurelie Rivard and Katarina Roxon.

Freestyle battle 

The men's and women's freestyle events will be hotly contested.

Cate Campbell is returning to international competition after taking a year off. She had a disappointing Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where she failed to win an individual medal despite going into Rio as the 100m freestyle world record holder. She won the 50m and 100m freestyle at the Australian trials, and set a national record of 23.79 seconds in the 50m butterfly.

In both sprint freestyle events, Campbell will be racing against sister Bronte and 17-year-old Oleksiak.

Related: Penny Oleksiak ready for Campbell and Rio rematch

Cate Campbell of Australia celebrates with Penny Oleksiak of Canada in the second Semifinal of the Women's 100m Freestyle.
Cate Campbell of Australia celebrates with Penny Oleksiak of Canada in the second Semifinal of the Women's 100m Freestyle at Rio Olympics. Photo: Getty

Jazmin Carlin and Ariarne Titmus are the ones to watch in the 400m and 800m freestyle. Carlin, competing at her fourth Commonwealth Games, won silver in both events at Rio 2016 and is the defending champion in the 800m. Titmus finished fourth in the 400m at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest but set a national record when she won the race at the Australian trials (4:02.36). She also won the 200m and 800m freestyle.

Australian Olympic sprint champion Kyle Chalmers is making his Commonwealth Games debut in the 100m and 200m freestyle. Chalmers and teammates Jack Cartwright and Cameron McEvoy could sweep the medals in the 100m.

Over the 200m distance, Chalmers will be up against teammate Mack Horton and Olympic silver medallist Chad Le Clos.

Horton starts as favourite in the 400m freestyle, which he won at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and in the 1500m freestyle.

Kyle Chalmers celebrates winning gold in the Men's 100m Freestyle Final at the Rio Olympics.
Kyle Chalmers celebrates winning gold in the Men's 100m Freestyle Final at the Rio Olympics. Photo: Getty.

The rivalry: Masse v Seebohm

Masse and Seebohm will be contesting all three women's backstroke races.

Masse's strength is over the 100m distance and she beat Seebohm to the world title last year in a world-record time of 58.10 seconds.

The Australian backstroker finished third in Budapest, but if she manages to hold off Masse at GC2018, it will be her third consecutive 100m backstroke Commonwealth gold. Seebohm is the world champion in the 200m backstroke.

Related: Masse spearheading Canada's assault

Kylie Masse spearheading Canada’s new golden generation heading to Gold Coast
Kylie Masse celebrates after winning the gold medal in a world record time of 58.10 during the Women's 100m Backstroke at the 2017 World Championships. Photo: Getty.

The untouchable?

England's Adam Peaty will be aiming to continue his unbeaten run in the men's 100m breaststroke, which started at Glasgow 2014.

He has an Olympic gold from Rio 2016, where he set the world record in the semifinal and again in the final to claim gold in 57.13, and two world titles (in 2015 in Kazan and 2017 in Budapest).

He is also competing in the 50m breaststroke, in which he is the world champion and world record holder (25.95), and in the 200m breaststroke.

Related: Peaty wants to become first man under 57 seconds

Adam Peaty celebrates his gold medal and world record breaking swim at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Adam Peaty celebrates his gold medal and world record breaking swim at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Photo: Getty.

The record chaser

Chad Le Clos is aiming for his third consecutive win in the 200m butterfly and is the defending champion in the 100m butterfly.

England's James Guy will likely challenge him over the shorter distance. 

Le Clos also has an outside chance to equal the all-time record of 18 Commonwealth Games medals if he makes the podium in four other events.

He is scheduled to swim in eight races (five individual and up to three relays) at GC2018. He left Glasgow 2014 with seven medals (two gold) and Delhi 2010 with five (two gold).

Related: Le Clos wants to become all-time great

Chad le Clos celebrates his win over Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly at the London Olympics.
Chad le Clos celebrates his win over Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly at the London Olympics. Photo: Getty.

Paralympic Champions

Patterson, Cole and Hall will lead the charge for Australia.

Patterson is competing in the S8 50m freestyle and will move up a classification to swim in the S9 100m freestyle alongside teammate Cole.

Cole will also contest the S9 100m backstroke. She won that event at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Hall was a gold medallist in London and in Rio and will be competing in the S9 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke.

Thomas Hamer in the S14 200m freestyle is England's strongest para swim medal hope.

Sophie Pascoe, in the SM10 200m individual medley, is New Zealand's best chance for gold in the pool.

She has competed at three Paralympic Games and has won nine gold and six silver medals, making her New Zealand's most successful Paralympic athlete.

Pascoe will again be up against Canada's Rivard. The pair finished one-two in Rio and Rivard is herself a triple Paralympic gold medallist.

Canada will also have a gold medal chance in SB9 100m breaststroke thanks to Rio 2016 champion Roxon.

Sophie Pascoe poses during the 2016 New Zealand Paralympic Games team presentation.
Sophie Pascoe is New Zealand's most successful Paralympic athlete. Photo: Getty.

The swimming competition concludes on Tuesday 10 April.

There are a limited number of swimming tickets till available. Buy yours today.

This article was produced by Games News Service.