World-class field faces Glenn Snyders at Games

MEDAL HOPE: Glenn Snyders will contest the 100 metres and 200m men's breaststroke events in Glasgow later this month.
MEDAL HOPE: Glenn Snyders will contest the 100 metres and 200m men's breaststroke events in Glasgow later this month.

Don't tell Glenn Snyders the Commonwealth Games is a second-tier international competition.

Snyders is one of New Zealand's chief medal hopes in their swim team for Glasgow, but he'll have to be at his best to even get on the podium when he competes in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke.

The US-based swimmer will be up against the world's two best breaststrokers; South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh and Australia's Christian Sprenger. Add to that duo the likes of rising English star Adam Peaty, home country favourites Michael Jamieson and Ross Murdoch and Snyders' medal quest becomes incredibly difficult.

At last year's long-course world champs in Barcelona, van der Burgh won gold and Sprenger silver in the 50m final, with those placings reversed in the 100m event. Jamieson is a specialist at the longer distance, having won silver in the 200m at the 2012 London Olympics.

On current world rankings - based on best times recorded this year - Snyders would finish out of the medals at Glasgow.

Sprenger has the world's fastest 50m breaststroke time of 26.74 seconds this year, putting him ahead of second-placed van der Burgh (27.05). Peaty is ranked fifth in the world this year, Murdoch eighth and Snyders 10th after his 27.38s time at the New Zealand champs in April.

Sprenger also has the quickest 100m time of 58.87 seconds, while Peaty (59.25), van der Burgh (59.50) and Murdoch (59.56) fill out spots two to four in the rankings with Snyders 11th in 1:00.39.

Jamieson has the best 200m time of 2:07.79, while Sprenger, Murdoch and Peaty are all in the world's top six, with Snyders a lowly 20th.

In favour of the 27-year-old Kiwi, however, is that his one major meet of the year so far was the national champs in April, when his sole goal was to meet qualifying times for the Games.

He recently won the 100m breaststroke event at the Fran Crippen Memorial Night of Stars meet at Mission Viejo in California in 1:02.22 while finishing sixth in the 200m breaststroke in 2:19.66.

However, Snyders would have entered the meet off a taxing training block before starting to taper for when racing starts at the Games on July 24.

New Zealand's biggest medal hope in Glasgow will be women's freestyler Lauren Boyle.

While she may struggle to match the likes of sprinters such as Australia's Emma McKeon in the 200m final, Boyle is poised to battle Wales' Jazmin Carlin for gold in the 400m and 800m events.

Matt Stanley also has his eyes on a medal in the men's 400m freestyle, with his chief rivals to include the Australian trio of David McKeon, Mack Horton and Jordan Harrison.

Waikato Times