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Gaz's Commonwealth Games Diary - Competition Day Five

2022 Commonwealth Games Diary by Gary Francis "Gaz" - Competition Day Five

Competition Day Five

Hi Everyone

Yet another late night followed by early heat racing was the challenge for Andrew Jeffcoat on the fifth morning of competition in Birmingham.

This time it was a bridge too far. He never really found the right stroke rate and rhythm and drifted out to a 2:03.57.

Andrew has had a fantastic meet and if we also include his World Championship semi-final then it’s fair to say this has been a breakthrough year for him and we will be sitting down with him and his coach, Mitch Nairn and help them plan the next two years with the target of being even more prepared to qualify and swim well in Paris.

With only two other swims in the morning we were in danger of not winning the session for a second successive morning. We recovered brilliantly last night but if it happens too often then the great momentum achieved throughout the week could be easily lost and once that happens it’s really hard to regain.

Fortunately Cameron and Hazel stepped up and executed two excellent 50’s. On review from video and data analysis Cameron’s 23.00 (50 free) can definitely be improved in the semi-final. Hazel’s best swim of the week so far came in the 50 back where she qualified 9th in 29.05. Again, great support team work from Graeme (on video) and Matt and Elliot’s analysis shows exactly where she can find the 0.5 that should give her every chance to make it to the final. Of course, knowing what to do and executing are two very different things and both swimmers did well to get their second swims.

With less than half the team left competing over the final two days the ‘cheerleaders’ led by Sophie really play a crucial psychological role. They maintain the energy in the team area, they support their team mates immediately post-race and they show just how much it means to wear the Fern and be an AquaBlack. The remaining competing athletes never feel they are on their own, they know their mates are there for them.

The evening session gave the swimmers the chance to earn some excellent lessons. Cameron had neglected his kick in the heat and has identified this himself through video analysis. He made a subtle change in the evening swim and improved 0.23 of a second. Not a PB but a good swim against some of the best sprinters in the world. That was Cameron’s last swim of the meet - a meet he can be very proud of.

Hazel also adjusted her UW kicks from the morning, taking 10 instead of 11 which enabled her to break out faster. The pay back came in the final 10 metres when she was unable to maintain her high SR into the wall. But overall her time was 0.18 faster than the morning and she had finished the meet with her best performance by far.

Eve Thomas found herself in a race where three swimmers raced off and all swam under 8:20. Eve found it very hard to hit a consistent rhythm, swimming mainly on her own. A 4th place finish backed up her 7th at the FINA World Championships.

So tonight was a bit of a reality check for our team. We lacked energy in the morning and paid for it at night. Tomorrow is the final day and we need to get back to winning the morning session. That builds the momentum for the evening. The coaches will have to play their part tomorrow, and I note that Gary Hollywood has planned to be on a very early bus out to the pool to be ready to prepare Lewis for his 200IM.

This meet could be one of the most successful in our history. But it can only be judged a complete success if we make the most of every opportunity and win both sessions tomorrow. Whether we finish with more medals or not, it will be about momentum – if we swim well we end with the excitement and energy we created early in the week and that will help launch us to the next stage.

I am apologising in advance for tomorrow’s diary entry which is likely to either be very short or very late. We will finish late at the pool tomorrow and go straight to a team function at the wonderful NZ House – Edgebaston Golf Club, a fantastic venue that the NZOC snatched from under the noses of host nation England!!

Results from Day Five evening session:

  • Cameron 50 Freestyle 22.77 14th place

  • Hazel 50 Backstroke 28.85 10th place

  • Eve 800 Freestyle 8:32.63 4th place

Day Six Athlete Heat Schedule

Lewis Clareburt

Men's 200m IM Wednesday 3rd August - 9:30pm

Erika Fairweather

Women's 400m Freestyle Wednesday 3rd August - 9:44pm

Eve Thomas

Women's 400m Freestyle Wednesday 3rd August - 9:44pm

Watch Live

All of the heats and finals sessions are available to watch live via Sky Sport:

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Make sure you're following @swimming_nz on social media to keep to date with the latest athlete interviews, results and excitement from the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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