Commonwealth record a silver lining for relay girls

29 July 2013

SWIMMING: The Australian Swim Team has won their first medal at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, picking up silver on the opening night of finals in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay in a new Commonwealth record time.

Going into the race as the Olympic champions, the women's team of Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell, Emma McKeon and Alicia Coutts were just a touch off gold, winning silver in 3:32.43 with the US just 0.12 of a second ahead in 3:32.31. 

Led out by a scintillating first 100m of 52.33 by Cate Campbell, the fastest time in the world this year and a Commonwealth record in its own right, Australia were in front for 340m of the race only to be overtaken by the US at the death. 

Swimming in her third final of the night, and fifth race of the day, Alicia Coutts did everything to try and hold onto the lead only to be pipped by Megan Ramono from the US swimming an anchor leg split of 52.60. 

“Tonight was about swimming for the team and to stand up there on the dais with my sister Bronte, and my team mates in Emma and Alicia was just a great feeling,” said Cate Campbell. 

“The girls did a great job, especially Alicia swimming in her third final of the night, and to break the Commonwealth record that was swum in the super suits in 2009 makes it even more special.” 

The Australian men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team of James Magnussen, Cameron McEvoy, Tomasso D’Orsogna and James Roberts finished within a fingernail of a medal, with less than 0.40 of a second separating the top four fastest teams. 

Led out by Magnussen in 48.00, 19-year-old McEvoy stepped up to keep the pace on with a split of 47.44 before the French (3:11.18), US and Russians came home strongly to see Australia finish fourth in 3:11.58. 

In other finals on the opening night, dual Olympian Kylie Palmer finished eighth in the final of the women's 400m freestyle in 4:08.13, with the USA's Katie Ledecky winning in an impressive time of 3:59.82. 

Gold Coast teenager Jordan Harrison finished sixth in his first international final in the men's 400m freestyle in a time of 3:48.40. The 18-year-old coached by Denis Cotterell will swim the 800 and 1500m free later this week, with Olympic champion Sun Yang winning in a time of 3:41.59. 

Alicia Coutts started her night progressing through to the final of the women's 100m butterfly before backing up less than 20 minutes later to swim through to the final of the 200m IM. 

The five-time Olympic medallist from London, and bronze medallist in the event, qualified as the third fastest overall in the 100m fly in 57.49, with Brittany Elmslie finishing 10th in her first individual swim at a major meet in 58.56. 

Swimming with Emily Seebohm in the 200m IM, Coutts hit the wall in 2:10.06 to secure lane 3 for tomorrow night's final, with Seebohm swimming a Season Best time of 2:10.70 to make the final in sixth position, only to withdraw to concentrate on her pet event the 100m backstroke. 

In other semi-final results, Christian Sprenger will be the one to beat in the men's 100m breaststroke, posting the second fastest time in the world this year to send a clear message to his competition ahead of tomorrow night’s final. 

“I've put myself in a good position for tomorrow night but I still see Cameron (Van Der Burgh) as the favourite as he is the Olympic champion,” said Sprenger. 

“I walked out on pool deck tonight and felt very comfortable, and just tried to stick to my race plan, put up the walls and not worry about who was around me.” 

Victorian Matt Targett missed out on the final of the men's 50m butterfly finishing 13th in 23.39, a shade outside the time he swam at this year’s Australian Championships in April.

Swimming Australia

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