Coutts delivers masterclass in Spain
6 June 2011
Five-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alicia Coutts has won a brace of gold medals in the pool overnight for Australia claiming the 100m freestyle and 200 IM, in a new championship record time, on the second and final day of the Barcelona leg of the Mare Nostrum Series in Europe.
The 23-year-old Coutts now takes her gold medal tally for the opening leg of the three-stage series at the Club Natacio Sant Andreua pool to three, after last night claiming the 100m butterfly in emphatic fashion.
In the blue ribband 100m freestyle, Coutts was the only swimmer in the field to dip below the 55 second barrier powering to gold in 54.27, from Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom (55.00) and fellow Australian team mate and 200m freestyle champion Angie Bainbridge, who nabbed third in 55.09.
The white hot Queenslander then backed up eight races later to clinch gold number two for the night in the 200m IM, posting the fastest time of the year to date when she stopped the clock at 2:09.68 to leave Spain’s Mireia Belmonte (2:12.55) and Keri-Anne Payne (2:13.99) languishing in her wake.
“I came in here with no real expectations so my times were a real bonus,” said Coutts.
“Training at altitude in Sierra Nevada was tough, so this was very much an unexpected and welcomed surprise.”
“I am looking forward to racing down in Canet before returning to the AIS in Canberra to prepare for the World Championships in late July.”
Fellow AIS swimmer Belinda Hocking was determined to share in the Australian gold rush, adding the 200m backstroke title, also in a new meet record time of 2:07.91, to her 100m title from last night.
The 20-year-old Australian record holding Olympian, who was elated with her golden double, was pushed all the way to the wall by Japan’s Shiho Sakai (2:08.15) and Elizabeth Simmonds (2:08.61) of Great Britain.
“I was very happy with my performance during the meet, especially considering our current training position,” said Hocking.
“It is now time to focus on training at the AIS before heading to China in July.”
Victorian speed ace Cameron Prosser won Australia’s only silver medal of the night when he posted an encouraging 22.75, to go within 0.24 of victory in the 50m freestyle.
The gold medal was taken out by Russian sprinter Evgeny Lagunov in 22.51, while the Australian duo of Kenneth To and Kyle Richardson finished equal fourth in 22.88.
Newcastle swimmer Angie Bainbridge topped off a successful meet in Spain, after last night winning gold in the 200m freestyle, by scoring her second bronze of the session in the 400m freestyle in 4:11.21.
The 21-year-old Bainbridge, who was a heat swimmer in the 4x200m freestyle relay at the Beijing Olympics, could not match it over the final stages with Hungarian Boglarka Kapas (4:08.22) and Great Britain’s Jo Jackson (4:08.76).
In other results…
Women’s 50m backstroke
Victorian swimmer Tay Zimmer was seventh in the 50m backstroke touching in 29.27, behind eventual winner Aya Terakawa (28.21) of Japan.
Women’s 50m butterfly
National 50m freestyle champion Olivia Halicek rounded out the field in the 50m butterfly finishing eight in 27.58, from Japanese swimmer Yuka Kato, who won gold in 26.14.
Women’s 100m breaststroke
WA Olympian Sally Foster finished fifth in the 100m breaststroke, touching the timing pad in 1:09.82, behind the triumphant Jennie Johansson, who scored gold in 1:08.45.
Men’s 200m breaststroke
AIS swimmer Craig Calder finished strongly in the 200m breaststroke but had to settle for seventh after touching the wall in 2:15.74, as Hungary’s Dan Gyurta turned in a dominate display to win gold in 2:12.48.
Men’s 200m freestyle
WA swimmer Tommaso D’Orsogna, who has just come from long stint of altitude training, finished seventh in the 200m freestyle in 1:50.87, behind Russian winner Danila Izotov (1:47.90).
The Mare Nostrum Series now moves on to the final two legs of the series in Canet (June 8-9) and Monaco (June 11-12).
For a full list of results please click on the below URL.
The following Australian Swimmers will compete in the final two legs of Mare Nostrum Series
Canet June 8-9
Alicia Coutts, Tommaso D’Orsogna, James Roberts, Cameron Prosser, Ben Treffers, Matt Targett, Hayden Stoeckel, Kyle Richardson, Jessicah Schipper, Christian Sprenger, Samantha Marshall, Emily elig, Sophie Edington, Marieke Guehrer, Jessica Morrison, Grace Loh, Kenneth To, Olivia Halicek
Monaco June 11-12
Matt Targett, Hayden Stoeckel, Kyle Richardson, Jessicah Schipper, Samantha Marshall, Emily Selig, Sophie Edington, Marieke Guehrer, Jessica Morrison, Grace Loh, Olivia Halicek