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Swim medals up for grabs on first day

india Updated: Oct 03, 2010 16:29 IST
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Five of the eight gold medals up for grabs on the first day of competition at the Commonwealth Games are in swimming, with England's Rebecca Adlington hoping to begin her medals quest on a winning note.

The double Olympic champion and world record holder makes her debut in international competition in the 200m freestyle, which is the first final to be held in the pool on Monday.

Adlington admits to having struggled to maintain consistent form since Beijing two years ago. She won European gold in the 400m freestyle in August but came a lowly seventh in the 800m.

The 21-year-old is the fastest British swimmer in the 200m this year, ahead of teammate Jo Jackson, who is current Commonwealth record holder, and the defending champion Caitlin McClatchey of Scotland.

Challengers from the British "home nations" include Scotland's Hannah Miley and Jaz Carlin from Wales, while Adlington could be pushed by the talented Australian trio of Blair Evans, Bronte Barratt and Kylie Palmer.

Evans won bronze in the event at the Pan Pacifics in August while Barratt is an Olympic finalist, who with Palmer helped Australia to 4x200m freestyle gold in Beijing.

Canadian record holder Ryan Cochrane is favourite in the men's 400m freestyle after picking up silver in the Pan Pacific championships in August, where he also won gold in the 800m and 1,500m free.

The 21-year-old is hoping to become the first Canadian to win the event but Robert Hurley -- Australian champion in the 400m, 800m and 1,500 free -- is looking for a medal.

Also going against Cochrane is Scotland's 2006 champion Dave Carry and teammate Robbie Renwick, plus Melbourne bronze medallist David Davies, of Wales.

The absence of triple Olympic champion and Commonwealth record holder Stephanie Rice through injury will put rising star Emily Seebohm of Australia in the limelight in the women's 200m individual medley.

The teenager won two gold and four silver medals at the Pan Pacs and is entered in eight events in New Delhi.

Scotland's Hannah Miley should be in line for a medal after her bronze in the Europeans, which also saw her win gold at the 400m medley.

The men's 200 butterfly see Australia's swimming "bad boy" Nick D'Arcy as overwhelming favourite. D'Arcy was pushed into second at the Pan Pacs by US legend Michael Phelps and is the second fastest man in the world this year.

An Australia champion for the last three years, D'Arcy missed out on the last Olympics and World Championships in Rome in 2009 after a conviction for assaulting a fellow swimmer.

The Commonwealth record holder, New Zealand's Moss Burmester -- is also in Delhi but will have to step up for a medal after poor recent form.

Monday's last final is the men's 4x100m freestyle, which is likely to see Australia win back the title they lost to South Africa on home soil four years ago, after six, straight golds in the event.

The Australia team includes experienced stars like Olympic 100m freestyle silver medallist Eamon Sullivan, and breaststroke specialist Kyle Richardson, who won silver at the Pan Pacifics.

The Pan Pacs saw South Africa take bronze and Canada in fourth.