Australia are set to rule the pool at the Commonwealth games next month, or at least that’s what the pre-event rankings tell us. A look at the current standings shows Australians sitting at number one in 21 of the 32 individual events that will be contested on the Gold Coast in April.
Amongst the men Ben Proud and Adam peaty each lead the way in two events, while Chad Le Clos ships in for South Africa with a further two to break the Australian stranglehold. In the women’s event, Canada’s Taylor Ruck, Kylie Masse and Sydney Prickrem break the hegemony with Scotland’s Hannah Miley and Wales’ Georgia Davies representing the home nations with one top spot apiece. Other than those eight swimmer, however, it’s a green and gold whitewash.
That only tells part of the story though. Australia has just come off a highly competitive trials meet to pick their team whereas the other swimming powerhouses in the Commonwealth had settled their squads on less immediate criteria. Scotland and England selected the bulk of their teams before the current ranking season, with only a relatively small number of swimmers added to the England team following the British Winter Championships in December. Meanwhile Wales preselected almost their whole team last year, while Canada picked their squad of 26 based on Commonwealth rankings at 6th September 2017 i.e. based on the previous season.
That means that none of those athletes have raced fully rested season unlike their Australian counterparts. So while of course the Dolphins would expect to be able to dominate in home waters, the results are likely to be far from being as one sided as the ranking lists suggest. Added to which, the Australian team is trialling a US style selection system and has come off a late trials meet for the first time, so there is some interest in how well they can do that.
Full Commonwealth Ranking lists can be viewed here
Banner image courtesy Scottish Swimming/Ian MacNicol