Commonwealth Games 2002
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Swimming Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Wizards of Oz set the standard
Graeme Smith
Smith is hoping to upset Australia's domination
Australia can expect to win every gold throughout the six days of swimming at Manchester Aquatics Centre, according to their major rivals.

Four years ago in Kuala Lumpur, the world's most dominant swimming nation won 23 out of a possible 33 golds in the pool.

This time, they should fare even better, says the English swimming team.

Dee McIntosh, communications director for England's swimmers, warned: "The Australians have every right to arrive in Manchester thinking they can win every gold.

"They are the world's leading swimming nation. There's no way England can beat them in the medals table.

open quote
It won't be a case of just England versus Australia. We'll cheer every home nation gold that isn't an Australian gold
end quote
Dee McIntosh

"That's not to say they will win every gold. The English and the Scots will do their utmost to make sure that doesn't happen."

The home nations have little hope against the likes of Ian Thorpe, Petria Thomas and Grant Hackett among others.

Thorpe will be bidding for a record seven gold medals, Thomas is in the form of her life in what could be her professional swansong and Hackett has rarely been troubled over 1500m in recent seasons.

England, though, have their own weapons.

Sarah Price briefly held the world record in the 200m backstroke, James Hickman looks a strong bet in the 200m butterfly, Dave Mewer is a potential gold medallist as is James Gibson.

For Scotland there is Alison Sheppard and Graeme Smith among others.

Trinidad and Tobago could make a surprise impact through George Bovell while Canada and South Africa will again have strong teams.

Terence Parkin
Parkin leads South African hopes

The South African line-up includes former breastroke world champion Sarah Poewe in their ranks, Terence Parkin and Charlene Wittstock.

Canada's team will include Michael Mintenko and Jessica Deglau.

It's unlikely that even those nations combined will match Australia's gold haul at the end of the swimming events.

And McIntosh knows exactly the reason for the difference in class.

She said: "We just can't compare in terms of the facilities that they have.

"But it won't be a case of just England versus Australia. We'll cheer every home nation gold that isn't an Australian gold."

Those golds will total 42 with freestyle, breastroke, backstroke and butterfly represented at varying distances.

And swimming is one of the events with disabled athletes competing for the first time - in the 50m and 100m multi-disability freestyle for both men and women.

BBC Five Live's Bob Ballard
"There's no doubt who is going to steal the show"
England's James Gibson
"I am really looking forward to it"
England's Steve Parry
"We are going to do our best to stop the Aussies"

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05 Jun 02 | Swimming
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