Gold Coast 2018 | Adam Peaty primed for Breaststroke history

Adam Peaty primed for Breaststroke history

England’s Adam Peaty will seek more glory competing at the rapidly approaching Commonwealth Games

Just under 7 years after having been announced as host of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia is ready to welcome athletes from around the world to compete at its newly renovated Optus Aquatic Centre. The swimming competition will be spread out over 7 days, with events in the 200m range and longer headed straight to finals after prelims, while the shorter events will follow the prelims-semifinals-finals format.

The men’s breaststroking events fall on days 1, 2 and 4 on the Gold Coast, with the athletes kicking off their campaigns with the 200m breaststroke on Thursday, April 5th. 2 out of the top 3 finishers from the 2014 edition of the Games will be back to defend their medals, including Scottish gold medalist Ross Murdoch.

Murdoch blasted onto the international scene at the last Games with a huge gold win over favorite Michael Jamieson, his fellow countryman who won a historic gold in the event at the 2012 Olympic Games. Finishing in 3rd place behind Jamieson was England’s Andrew Willis, also competing this year, hoping to upgrade to a higher step on the podium.

Although not dominant in the 200m distance (yet), England’s Adam Peaty is synonymous around the world with the word breaststroke and the powerhouse will prove to be a presence among the field. His personal best rests at the 2:08.34 produced in 2015, but the Derby native has scarcely raced the even to gather more recent data.

Up-and-comer James Wilby will be representing England as well in the race, giving the nation 3 quality medal opportunities. Wilby is tied for the 10th fastest time in the world at the moment with the 2:10.29 he threw down at England’s Winter Nationals last year.

But it’s Australia’s Matthew Wilson who crushed a speedy 2:08.31 at his nation’s Trials to position himself as a podium favorite if he can repeat the performance. With a roaring Aussie home crowd behind him, that may just give the young 19-year-old what he needs to bring home the gold.

The untouchable Peaty is seeking to extend his almost 4-year long winning streak in the men’s 100m breaststroke. He is the reigning Olympic champion, world record holder and overall king of this event, holding the Commonwealth Games records in the 100m in 58.94, a time he can almost do in his sleep.

But Australian Olympian Jake Packard will have his home crowd behind him, giving him energy to perhaps fire off a new personal best and at least prove to be a worthy silver medalist behind Peaty.

Lurking in the sprint fields is the ever-present South African Cameron van der Burgh, who is primed to sneak in and spoil the Peaty party, with his better chance coming in the 50m breaststroke. Peaty proved he is mortal, at least in the short course version of the splash n’ dash, being beaten down to 3rd place at last year’s European Short Course Championships.

Picks for Men’s 50m breaststroke:

  1. Adam Peaty, England
  2. Cameron van der Burgh, South Africa
  3. Jake Packard, Australia

Picks for Men’s 100m breaststroke:

  1. Adam Peaty, England
  2. Cameron van der Burgh, South Africa
  3. James Wilby, England

Picks for Men’s 200m breaststroke:

  1. Ross Murdoch, Scotland
  2. Matthew Wilson, Australia
  3. Andrew Willis, England