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Golden night and relay world record in Glasgow

25 July 2014

COMM GAMES SWIMMING: Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay team of Bronte Campbell, Melanie Schlanger, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell, alongside Paralympian Rowan Crothers, have broken two world records on the opening night of Commonwealth Games swimming action in Glasgow.

Six years after Cate Campbell made her Australian debut and dreamed of standing atop the medal dais alongside her younger sister Bronte, the dream played out in world record fashion with the reigning Olympic champions taking nearly a second off the previous world best set by the Netherlands in 2009.

“To quote Muhammed Ali we are the greatest,” said freestyle world champion Cate Campbell.

“I said if we ever broke the world record that would be the line to use.”

Qualifying into the final thanks to Alicia Coutts, Brittany Elmslie, Madeline Groves and Schlanger, the Aussie team hit the wall in 3:30.98 for the third gold medal of the night, following Emma McKeon’s effort in the 200m freestyle and Crothers 100m free title.

Competing in her third swim of the night, and fifth of the day, McKeon was a standout at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, and will be looking for a third medal herself, when she jumps in the 100m butterfly on Day 2.

The Wollongong born 20-year-old won the 200m free in 1:55.57 ahead of England’s Siobhan O’Connor (1:55.82) with Australian team leader Bronte Barratt taking bronze in 1:55.82.

The golden double for McKeon followed a silver to her older brother David after leading the men’s 400m freestyle for 375m, only to be chased down by Canadian Ryan Cochrane.

David McKeon covered the eight laps in 3:44.09 just half a second behind Cochrane, while James Guy from England was third in 3:44.38 ahead of Commonwealth Games debutant Mack Horton in 3:44.91 with Jordan Harrison finishing sixth in 3:48.09.

Australia’s third gold medal of the night went to Para Sport swimmer Rowan Crothers who bettered his previous best world mark to win the men’s 100m freestyle by more than a body length.

A rookie onto the Australian team at 15 last year, Crothers shaved a further half a second off his own world record set in April, hitting the wall in 54.58, ahead of Paralympic gold medallists Matthew Cowdrey (56.33) and Brenden Hall third in 56.85.

Swimming in her first ever senior international competition, and the first event on the program, Australia’s Keryn McMaster proved her potential and bagged the bronze medal in the women’s 400m individual medley final.

McMaster swam a controlled race and three second personal best, managing to keep hot on the heels of gold and silver medallists Hannah Miley (4:31.76) and Aimee Wilmont (4:33.01) to clock a new personal best time of 4:36.35.

The time was fast enough to secure nomination for selection onto the Hancock Prospecting Pan Pacific Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast this August. McMaster’s teammate Jessica Pengelly finished seventh in 4:47.00.

Australia finished the night with three gold, two silver and three bronze for a total of eight medals at the pool. The Olympic event total after Day 1 is two gold, one silver and two bronze.

In other events

Men’s 200m Breaststroke 
After getting out to an early lead in the men’s 200m breaststroke, Christian Sprenger was unable to hold on to top spot, finishing in eighth place in a time of 2:12.69. Sprenger demonstrated his trademark early speed, a promising sign for the 100m event later in the week with the gold medal going to Ross Murdoch in a new Commonwealth record time of 2:07.30 with his Scottish teammate Michael Jamieson second in 2:08.40 and England’s Andrew Willis third in 2:09.87.

Women’s 50m Breaststroke semi-final
The defending Commonwealth champion in this event, Leiston Pickett (30.64) impressed in the semi-finals of the women’s 50m breaststroke to qualify second fastest for the final tomorrow night behind Jamaican Alia Atkinson in 30.17. Fellow Australian Lorna Tonks will progress in seventh place in a time of 31.44.

Men’s 50m Butterfly semi-final
The men’s 50m butterfly final will see both Jayden Hadler (23.67) and Chris Wright (23.78) move through to the final tomorrow after finishing sixth and seventh respectively after the semi-finals. Kenneth To finished in 11th spot with a time of 24.26. 

Men’s 100m Backstroke semi-final
Commonwealth Games and Australian Swim Team debutant Joshua Beaver (53.68) is proving a force to be reckoned with in the 100m backstroke after posting the second fastest time from the semi-finals just ahead of teammate Mitchell Larkin (54.18). Beaver and Larkin will be joined by Ben Treffers (54.74) in the final, with all three a chance for a podium finish. 

Women’s 100m Butterfly semi-final
Australia will have three representatives swimming for gold in the final of the women’s 100m butterfly with Alicia Coutts (58.07), Emma McKeon (58.40) and Ellen Gandy (58.48) all securing a sport in the top eight tomorrow. With a gold medal to her name from this event in Delhi, Coutts will go in looking to defend her title but will face fierce competition from a fresh McKeon who, following a jam packed first night, will no doubt have more to give tomorrow.

Swimming Australia

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