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Swim-offs, Excitement, and Confidence for the Finals on Day 2 of the 2014 Commonwealth Games

Jul 25, 2014  - Sanne Huesken

Day 2 of the Commonwealth Games is well on its way and it has been yet another exciting morning at Tollcross International Swimming Centre here in Glasgow. 

 None other than Canada’s Ryan Cochrane added to the height of the excitement this morning during the swim-off for the Men’s 200m Freestyle final. It is not often that two swimmers place with exactly the same time, resulting in a swim-off, but very rarely do three swimmers duel for a place in the finals. Cochrane, together with Nick Grainger from England, and Ieuan Lloyd from Wales, entertained with yet another display of world-class swimming, after they had all placed in eighth position with a time of 1:48:98. With only about one hour of recovery time, Cochrane gave Grainger a run for his money as they battled for a spot in the finals, where Cochrane eventually placed 9th. “This always keeps things exciting,” said Cochrane, still recovering from the race. “This was my first swim-off and it’s the first time I’ve seen a three-way tie. I felt the pain a little bit on that one, but it’s good, this is what we train for.” Cochrane swam another signature race, lagging behind during the first half, then inching closer and closer within the last 25 meters, but unfortunately was not able to catch up with his opponent this time. 

 With the 400m and 200m Freestyle out of the way, Cochrane now has two days to rest and prepare for another prime event; the Men’s 1,500m Freestyle. “I think it will be a really exciting race. There is a lot of young talent coming up in the World, and I think that will really push me to go even faster.” With Cochrane swimming the way he is now, he will be sure to keep us on the edge of our seats as it promises to be another exciting event. 

 Victoria Poon, Michelle Williams and Sandrine Mainville, each with a brilliant bronze medal for yesterday’s 4X100m Freestyle relay, had to make a quick recovery as they swam in today’s second event; the Women’s 50m Freestyle. “Sometimes a little bit of soreness, for me personally, helps me to think; ok, get going now,” said Victoria Poon. Hopefully the 'soreness' will push them again tonight as Poon, Williams and Mainville placed eighth, ninth and tenth and so will all advance to the semi-finals. 

 Russell Funk, with a name that would look great on the winner’s scoreboard, performed very well in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke. He managed to secure the fifth position in the first heats and so will advance to the semi-finals scheduled for this evening. 

 Morgan Bird, swimming in the Women’s Para-sport 100m Freestyle placed fourth during the heats this morning, just behind Australian Lakeisha Patterson, who swam ten split-seconds faster. With such a tight finish Bird advances in a good position, hopefully awarding her with a spot on the podium after tonight’s finals. 

 Another event sprinkled with Canadian swimmers was the Women’s 100m Backstroke. Sinead Russell, Brooklyn Snodgrass and Hilary Caldwell will all advance to the semi-finals, placing in the third, fifth and tenth position. “It felt good. I like this pool, and it’s always great swimming with a team mate so you can help each other prep before a race,” said Russell, who confidently swam her way into the semi-finals, with promising prospect for a spot in the finals on Saturday. 

 Jokester Luke Reilly said he was a bit more worried about losing his earring rather than anything else before starting his 400m Individual Medley, and so handed it to Cochrane, who was just leaving the pool after his swim-off. For a swimmer competing in his first senior international swim meet Reilly performed outstandingly and managed to secure a spot for the finals this evening, for which he is currently ranked in 7th position with a time of 4:18:49. “I came into this just wanting to learn to manage the different emotions and manage the different environment. My goal was to make the final and see how fast I can go at night, so it looks like I set it up pretty well.” Will Brothers, who competed in the same race and placed eleventh, said he was less nervous compared to his first race, the Men’s 400m Freestyle. “I always like swimming against Canadians,” he said. “Any Luke is really good, so that helps push me to improve my times and my event.” 

 The last event of the morning was the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle relay. Canada, with a good-looking young team consisting of Yuri Kisil, Coleman Allen, Russell Wood and Evan White, placed fifth for the final. “I am little bit sore from this morning,” said Allen, who swam against Cochrane during the Men’s 200m Freestyle this morning. “But we just needed to make the finals so hopefully that time was good enough.” “It was good the way it went,” said Kisil, “we just need to go quicker in the finals and focus on faster take-overs.” When asked whether they will exceed the women’s bronze medal for the relay yesterday Wood said; “For sure!” Let’s hope they carry this confidence into the finals tonight and end the day with yet another Canadian flag being raised over the Commonwealth Pool.