Team Wales Commonwealth Swimming Success
For the Commonwealth Games 2018, the World turned its eye to the Gold Coast of Australia where more than 6600 athletes and team officials from 71 Countries would compete for the coveted Gold medals. Our own team, Team Wales sent 200 plus athletes from 15 different sports. Among these, were 14 of the strongest Welsh swimmers the country has to offer. Made up of 9 female swimmers and 5 male swimmers this included two male para swimmers, our team was set to make their mark on the world stage.
The first few days, saw the team get into the groove of things with our swimmers achieving places in 7 semi-finals and 7 finals within the first 3 days of the competition. However, it was Saturday 7th April that saw Team Wales swim squad begin to step up. The evening saw Chloe Tutton take to the water in the 200m Breaststroke final. Beating out Canada in a time of 2.23.42, Chloe went on to claim bronze and the first of Team Wales medals in the pool. On a high from her medal, Chloe along with Kathryn Greenslade, Ellena Jones, and Jazz Carlin hit the water in the 4 x 200m Freestyle relay which saw the team set a new Welsh Record of 8.03.00 which has not been broken since 2010.
It was the last two days of the competition that Wales came into their own. Monday 9th April saw Alys Thomas take the Commonwealth stage by storm qualifying fastest in the 200m Butterfly Semi Finals. However, it was her phenomenal performance in the final that made the world take notice. With a strong field made up of 3 Australians, 2 English, 1 Canadian, and 1 swimmer from the Isle of Man, it was a tough group to beat. The starting signal sounded and they were off, with Emma Mckeon of Australia taking an early lead, it was Alys first turn at the 50m mark that saw her begin to build a lead that would take her on to win Gold. With a lead of 1.18 ahead of the Australian on the final turn Alys’ victory was all but sealed. Hitting the wall in a time of 2.05.45, Wales saw its first Gold medal in the pool and a new Commonwealth Games Record set. Shock clearly evident on the Swansea Aquatics swimmers face, Alys couldn’t believe it, being one of the older swimmers in the team she said to Sharron Davies reporting for the BBC ‘work hard and be patient. It will come’ and it certainly did.
On the last day, Team Wales continued the success by securing 3 more medals. In a bid to retain her title, first up was Georgia Davies, 50m Backstroke Champion and Commonwealth Record Holder from Glasgow 2014. With an impressive swim Georgia touched in with a time of 27.90, only just missing out on the silver which went to Kylie Masse of Canada who touched in a time of 27.82. Next up it was, Daniel Jervis from Swansea Aquatics. In a nail biting race that included strong distance swimmers, Dan started off in a steady third position. With only 200m to go, Dan picked up speed to surpass Mack Horton of Australia to claim silver in a time of 14.48.67, which also makes it a new personal best for the swimmer.
It didn’t end there though, Wales were not done yet. The last race for Team Wales was the Women’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay that saw our 3 Female medal winners, Alys, Chloe and Georgia, along with team mate Kathryn compete for a final medal. In another incredibly challenging field competing against the titans that were Australia, Canada, England and Scotland, Wales proved to be just as mighty by beating England to the Bronze medal position in a time of 4.00.75 which was also a New Welsh Record.
The team’s Commonwealth Journey was a rollercoaster of mixed emotions with incredible highs, with National Performance Director Ross Nicholas stating ‘we are really proud of the performance level of the team, Our swimmers continually stepped up throughout the meet and performed with distinction against World Class opposition in an incredible arena’.
1 Gold medal (Alys Thomas - 200m butterfly, in a new Commonwealth Games Record)
1 Silver medal (Daniel Jervis - 1500m freestyle)
3 Bronze medals (Chloe Tutton - 200m Breaststroke, Georgia Davies - 50m backstroke, Georgia/Chloe/Alys/Kathryn - Women’s 4 x 100m Medley relay
13 Top 5 performances
20 Top 8 Performances.