Like anything else in life, it is hard to make a comparison between two sportspersons. It simply does not happen anywhere than in talk shows or the usual mundane debates which we often come across almost every other day.
Yet, one can still sense a lot of things in common in Leisel Jones and Emily Seebohm, the Aussie swim pair who will be attempting to create a slice of history in the Commonwealth Games. Jones's endeavour will be to chart a new course on her own; Seebohm's effort will be to set off a golden parade almost in the same vein of what the peerless Michael Phelps achieved in Beijing in 2008.
Even a cursory glance of the Games' records will tell you that no athlete has won two events thrice on the trot. And precisely this would be the attempt of Jones, who at both the 2002 Manchester Games and 2006 Melbourne Games had won the 100m and 200m breaststroke titles besides the 400m medley relay.
At the S.P. Mukherjee pool here, Jones is certain to have all the arc lights trained on her. Only compatriot Petria Thomas so far has the distinction of having won the same event thrice in-a-row, with the Australian great winning the 100m butterfly title in 1994 (Victoria), 1998 (Kuala Lumpur) and 2002. History does beckon this talented swimmer who has been in the top rung of world swimming for almost the better part of the last decade.
In the case of the young Seebohm, things are certainly going to be far different as she gears herself to win a total of eight medals and put to shade the haul of six each won by compatriots Susan O'Neil and Ian Thorpe.
The exacting schedule of this 18-year-old will see her racing as many as five times a day right through October 4 to 9 as part of a mammoth programme which includes appearances in six individual events — 50m, 100m, 200m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 200m individual medley and 50m butterfly — besides two of the three relays.
The contribution of this Queenslander, in terms of whatever hue it might be, is also important in Australia's attempt to retain the mantle as the best swim team in the Games and put to rest the threat which looms in the form of an emerging England and Canada.