GOLD COAST – Chad LE CLOS (RSA) made history at the Optus Aquatic Centre on the third night of the swimming competition (Saturday 7 April), winning gold in the men’s 200m butterfly and becoming the first man to win the same event at three consecutive Commonwealth Games.
LE CLOS was the fourth fastest through to the final after his heat swim. Starting in lane six, the South African left nothing to chance and broke away from the field early in the race. He finished in a new Games record time of 1:54.00, which was 1.07 seconds faster than the record he set in winning the event four years ago in Glasgow.
The South African won the 50m butterfly on Friday night and still has two individual events to swim at GC2018, the 100m freestyle final on Sunday (8 April) and the 100m butterfly (8-9 April).
Kylie MASSE (CAN) and Emily SEEBOHM (AUS) had a close finish in the women’s 100m backstroke, with the current world champion and world record holder, MASSE, getting the better touch and winning the gold in a new Games record time of 58.63, lowering the record she set in the semifinal by three hundredths of a second.
SEEBOHM, the defending champion, was under world record pace at the 50m turn but caught a lane rope heading into the finish. She had to settle for silver.
Cate CAMPBELL (AUS) was another record breaker, bettering her Games record time of 23.88, set on Friday in the semifinal, in winning the women’s 50m freestyle. Her new record time was 23.78, closer again to the world record mark of Sarah SJOSTROM (SWE) of 23.67. Her sister, Bronte CAMPBELL, won the silver in a deadheat with Canada’s Taylor RUCK.
RUCK, the 200m freestyle gold medallist from Thursday (5 April), was one of the busiest swimmers of the night, lining up for three finals. In addition to her silver in the 50m freestyle, she won silver in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay and bronze in the 100m backstroke.
Adam PEATY (ENG) continued his unbeaten run in the men’s 100m breaststroke, defending his title from Glasgow. He was far from his best though and managed only a 58.84, slower than the Games record of 58.59 which he set in the semifinal on Friday and his world record of 57.13 seconds. He did have a stronger first 50m than in the semifinal, however, setting a new 50m breaststroke Games record of 26.74 with the event still to come on 8-9 April. His teammate James WILBY won silver and South Africa's Cameron VAN DER BURGH the bronze.
Tatjana SCHOENMAKER (RSA) won South Africa’s second gold of the night in the women’s 200m breaststroke, with England’s Molly RENSHAW winning silver and Wales’ Chloe TUTTON the bronze.
Sophie PASCOE (NZL) and Timothy DISKEN (AUS) were dominant in their para swimming events. PASCOE won gold in the women’s SM10 200m individual medley, while DISKEN won the men’s SB8 100m breaststroke which was an Australian clean-sweep with Timothy HODGE and Blake COCHRANE picking up the silver and bronze respectively.
Australia held off a late challenge from RUCK in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay to win the last gold of the night. Emma MCKEON led off for the Australians and now has three gold medals to her name - two relay golds and the 100m butterfly gold. Canada won the silver and England the bronze.
The men’s 100m freestyle was the highlight of the semifinals, with Cameron MCEVOY (AUS) winning his semifinal and going through as the fastest qualifier for the final on Sunday night. LE CLOS is second fastest and Olympic champion Kyle CHALMERS is third fastest.