2022 Commonwealth Games Diary by Gary Francis "Gaz" - Competition Day One
Competition Day One
The saying goes that one swallow does not make a summer, and likewise, one good day at the swim meet does not make it a successful meet. But today we had a very good day. With all but Lewis racing today, a good start was really important – it could easily become a long six days if things don’t start off well.
The morning saw 9 swims and 7 swimmers successfully advancing to either the semi-final or finals in the evening. There were no PB’s in the morning swims, something that is very hard to achieve, but Eve Thomas, knowing she had to achieve a PB if she wanted to make the top 8 in the 200 freestyle came the closest, missing her best ever time by 0.2 in 2:00.27. It was the best she has ever swum in the 200 free in a heat and good enough for 10th place. More importantly she felt she had got her stroke rate right for the race and only her final turn really soured an otherwise good performance. In the same race Erika Fairweather also swam her best morning 200 free to qualify 5th into the final in 1:58.18.
Mya Rasmussen had booked her place in the 400IM final minutes before with a really business-like 4:43.87, making sure of 3rd place in her heat which she knew guaranteed her a spot in the final.
The professional approach continued with Andrew Jeffcoat winning his heat to ensure his semi-final place in the 100 backstroke (54.79), Cameron Gray finishing well in 24.02 in the 50 fly to qualify 14thinto the semi final and Helena Gasson also making sure of a semi-final slot with a 59.37 in her 100 Butterfly.
Sophie Pascoe and Tupou Neiufi both qualified for the S9 100m freestyle in 1st and 8th positions respectively, in 1:03.38 and 1:15.97. Only Hazel Ouwehand left disappointed after making a mistake off the turn in her 100 Butterfly. After turning second she stayed under the water for too long, losing speed and causing oxygen debt in the final 25m. Although she could not mask her disappointment at least she showed great front end speed which should give her confidence for her main event, the 50 Butterfly on Sunday.
I must mention the support team who worked really hard this morning. Graeme Maw, as well as performing managerial duties videoed all races and along with Matt Ingram and Elliot Sneddon back in NZ was able to get video footage to the coaches within 60 seconds of the race finishing and analysis only a short time later. Megan Munro was very busy, with athletes on the physio table, supervising ice baths and also helping some of the female athletes with very, very tight racing suits! The analysis provided by matt and Elliot has really helped already, with Cam Gray and Andrew Jeffcoat both using the data to focus on key areas that they were able to improve between heats and finals. The late start (10:30am) for the heats meant quite late lunches for some of the athletes and the CG bus service has not really been very reliable, so athletes were very late back to the village to rest for the evening. I was quite worried that the athletes would not be able to back up their morning swims with such disrupted recoveries.
However, the performances tonight have really been exceptional. In 9 swims there were 5 PB’s and another season best (SB). 8 out of 9 swims were faster than the morning and the 9th only 0.02 slower. Our evening swims produced the following results:
Sophie 100m S9 Freestyle 1:02.95 Gold
Tupou 100m S9 Freestyle 1:14.91 8th and SB
Jesse 100m S9 Backstroke 1:03.65 Silver and PB and NZ Record
Josh 100m S9 Backstroke 1:15.80 7th and PB
Erika 200m freestyle 1:57.08 5th PB and NZ Age Record
Mya 400IM 4:41.81 7th and PB
Andrew 100m backstroke 54.01 3rd fastest qualifier for final
Cam 50m Butterfly 23.58 7th fastest qualifier for final and PB
Helena 100m Butterfly 59.39 12th place overall
These results are a great credit to the athletes who have worked really hard through the long camps we have been in since June. Erika has achieved another PB in the 200m Freestyle even after being sick with covid only 4 weeks ago. Mya Rasmussen has now swum three times as a senior International athlete and has two PB performances! Cameron Gray began the year hoping to make an NZ Championship podium and now is in his first Commonwealth Games final. Andrew Jeffcoat, after analysing his race tonight feels he made several mistakes and can take time off again in the final tomorrow – a really good example of how focused and aware of his performance he has become. Jesse Reynolds has finally won a major medal, and he made sure of it with a 0.9 second PB! And Sophie Pascoe is still the athlete the rest are trying to beat! Another Championship, and our first Gold medal of the meet. Hopefully we can add to her and Jesse’s medal by the end of the week.
As I said at the beginning, it’s too early to say how successful the meet will be, but tonight was one of our best overall performances and a good sign for the rest of the week, as long as everyone can build on it and continue to follow the good performance behaviours that they have adopted.
Day Two Athlete Schedule
Mens 200m Freestyle Heat Saturday 30th June - 9:30pm
Womens 100m Backstroke Heat Saturday 30th June - 10:18pm
Mens 400m Individual Medley Saturday 30th June - 10:30pm