There will be a lot of Aussies in the water for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Forty-nine of them to be exact, although we cannot help wishing that swimming Coach Jacco Verhaeren had seen his way clear to make it an even 50 able-bodied swimmers.
The reason for the largish team is the desire to have swimmers vying for medals in every single swimming event.
To achieve that aim, the selectors took the step of adding swimmers that were not able to meet the so-called “A” standard, which means holding a world top-eight time. Swimmers one notch below, those with the “B” standard alongside their names, will be added. The “B” standard is achieved by posting a qualifying time inside the top three in the athletes’ specialty event.
Verhaeren told the Gold Coast Bulletin, “We do have the “B” times and they definitely served their purpose. We don’t want to leave medal potential and very good swimmers home because they didn’t make the “A” cut.That’s why we have that back door of the “B” cut and we even made the decision because it’s a home Games to reward the non-Olympic events, which is, I think, very important.We’re competing on home soil, we want a full team, and we want to compete in every event for medals.”
It should be a medal bonanza for the Aussie side, which includes the aforementioned 49, along with 21 para athletes and 10 rookies, ranging in age from 13 to 31.
Looking at the list of countries expected to take part in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, it is hard to see any that could pose any threat to the Aussies, so far as swimming events go.
Now, if you were to hold the swimming in frozen water, that is, ice, you could expect Canada to make some inroads, but temperatures at Gold Coast in April do not seem to support that suggestion.