Commonwealth Games: Cate Campbell takes gold in 50m freestyle, success in triathlon and cycling
Cate Campbell has won her first Commonwealth Games gold in the women’s 50m freestyle and her second on the Gold Coast.
Campbell, who had anchored Australia to a world record and victory in the 4x100m freestyle relay on Thursday night, touched the wall in a Games record and personal best time of 23.78 seconds.
Her younger sister Bronte, a former world champion in the event, finished equal second with Canada’s Taylor Ruck, with both stopping the clock in 24.26.
Campbell fed off the parochial Southport crowd, who had let their allegiance be known as the finalists stood behind the blocks.
“When the crowd started chanting ‘Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!’ just before the start, [I thought] this is goose bump stuff,” Campbell said.
While public expectation is always high at a home Games, Campbell said she was having no trouble handling the pressure.
“That’s what we thrive on and the thing I’ll probably miss the most when we retire,” she said.
“As much as you hate it, you love it at the same time — it’s a love-hate relationship.”
Campbell is the fifth Australian to win the women’s 50m freestyle gold at the Games and the first since Yolane Kukla topped the podium in 2010.
Campbell later won her semi-final of the 50m butterfly in 25.56, to qualify second fastest behind fellow Australian Madeline Groves (25.54) for Sunday night’s final.
‘Terminator’ gets her revenge
Ariarne Titmus extracted a degree of revenge for her defeat to Ruck in the women’s 200m freestyle final earlier in the program, as she helped Australia to victory in the 4x200m freestyle final.
Titmus, nicknamed “Terminator” by her father, lost to Ruck by just 0.04 in the individual final and she hit the water a body length in front of the Canadian in the relay after Emma McKeon, Brianna Throssell and Leah Neale set up Australia’s lead.
Ruck, chasing her third medal of the evening, immediately made ground on Titmus, who led by just 0.45 with 100 metres remaining.
But Titmus responded in the final two laps and she was able to re-establish Australia’s body length lead to win in 7:48.04, which was a Games record.
The win maintained Australia’s stranglehold on the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay, as it has now triumphed eight out of the nine occasions the event has been contested at the Commonwealth Games.
It also gave McKeon her third gold medal of the Games.
Earlier, Emily Seebohm was pipped by millimetres in the women’s 100m backstroke final, missing out on gold by 0.03 seconds to Canadian rival Kylie Masse.
Masse, Seebohm and Canada’s Taylor Ruck were locked in an intense three-way split for first place, with Seebohm reined in by Masse in the final 10 metres.
The alpha males of the pool made an appearance in the men’s 100m freestyle semi-finals, with Gold Coaster Cameron McEvoy advancing to the final as fastest qualifier in 48.50.
Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers, competing 24 hours after winning double gold, was the third fastest in the semi-finals with a time of 48.70, while Jack Cartwright (48.73) also progressed to the decider.
Timothy Diskin followed up his S9 100m freestyle win on Friday with victory in the SB8 100m breaststroke decider, in an Australian one-two-three finish.
Diskin’s gold came alongside Timothy Hodge’s silver and Blake Cochrane’s bronze in an Australian trifecta in the para-event.
Disken said the crowd inspired him to push hard from the start but it came at a cost.
“In that last 30 it was stinging a lot and my technique dropped off a lot but to hear the crowd in the background when I was taking a breath and it really stirred me on to keep pushing beyond what I thought I could do.”
McCulloch upsets Morton in 500m time trial, Welsford powers home for gold
There was an Australian one-two in the women’s 500m time trial as well, but not in the order many expected.
Kaarle McCulloch took the gold medal by 0.036 seconds ahead of hot favourite Stephanie Morton, with a time of 33.583.
The two had won team pursuit goal on Friday night.
In a thrilling 15km scratch race, Sam Welsford powered home to win Australia’s final gold of the day.
“It was such a hard race from the start, I just had to be patient and wait for my moves,” Welsford told Channel Seven.
It was his second gold medal of the games after success in the team pursuit.
Aussies take gold in triathlon relay
A crucial third leg from Ashleigh Gentle has helped deliver Australia a gold medal in the mixed team triathlon relay at the Commonwealth Games.
Gentle had been among the medal favourites for the women’s individual triathlon on Thursday but was disappointed with her fifth-place finish.
She redeemed herself in Southport on Saturday when she handed the men’s individual silver medallist Jake Birtwhistle a significant 39-second lead at the beginning of the final leg.
Birtwhistle, who stormed home on Thursday to grab a podium finish for Australia, was then able to increase the buffer over England’s two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee.
The Australians stopped the clock in one hour, 17 minutes and 36 seconds, with England 52 seconds behind in second place, while New Zealand claimed bronze.
Gillian Backhouse and Matt Hauser opened the relay for Australia and by the time Gentle entered the fray she was level-pegging with England’s Jess Learmonth, who was the silver medallist in the individual event.
Learmonth moved in front on the 250-metre swim, however Gentle kept in touch during the 7km trek on the bike and the pair hit the transition together.
The Englishwoman appeared to roll her ankle when attempting to get off her bike, which was the moment Gentle seized the opportunity and opened a sizeable lead on the 1.5km run.
It is Australia’s first triathlon gold medal since the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, although the sport was left out of the 2010 program in Delhi.
Earlier, Australia enjoyed medal success in the men’s and women’s paratriathlon events.
Nic Beveridge and Bill Chaffey won silver and bronze respectively in the men’s race, while Emily Tapp and Lauren Parker did likewise in the women’s competition.
World champ Glaetzer out of sprint
World champion Matthew Glaetzer has made a shock departure from the men’s sprint, less than 24 hours after winning gold in the keirin.
Glaetzer was forced to back up for the qualifying round of the sprint at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane on Saturday afternoon and seemed to show no ill effects when he produced a Games record of 9.583 seconds to top the standings.
But Glaetzer, competing only five weeks after securing his world championship in Apeldoorn, was eliminated in the quarter-finals when he lost to Malaysia’s Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom.
Kookaburras, Boomers off to winning start
Australia also had some victories in the hockey centre and on the basketball court.
The Boomers beat New Zealand’s Tall Blacks after trailing for much of the game, picking up in the last quarter to clinch a 79-73 victory over their trans-Tasman rivals.
The Opals will face Canada on Sunday, and the Boomers will come up against Nigeria on Monday.
The Kookaburras defeated South Africa 4-0 in their Pool A hockey clash, after initially struggling to break down the defence of their opponents.
Once they hit their straps, though, Australia turned on the attacking flair to create chance after chance.
Trent Mitton broke the deadlock on half time with a goal through his legs before he made it 2-0 after the break with another superb effort. Tom Craig and Bundaberg boy Aaron Kleinschmidt rounded out the scoring.
The Kookaburras next take on Scotland on Sunday.