Today, Blank’s coverage effort centred around the pool.
In the first day of Games competition, we gained our first view of The Optus Aquatic Centre, the stands filled to capacity. With the rain holding off until the very last event, the venue was spectacular, framed by the Broadwater on one side and high rise of the Gold Coast’s CBD on the other.
Today saw the first of 50 swimming events, the program comprising heats to determine finalists in the night events.
To a prelude of Men at Work’s ‘Land Down Under’, spectators entered into the spirit of the Games, the mix of able-bodied and para events cheered with equal vigour.
There were many highlights, beginning with the very first race, the Women’s 400m Individual Medley, where Aussies Meg Bailey and Blair Evans finished first and second in their heat, their times ensuring them a place in the final.
FINALS UPDATE: Blair Evans takes out the bronze – Australia’s second medal of the Games – with a stunning freestyle leg.
The Men’s 400m freestyle heat followed with Australians Mack Horton, Jack McLoughlin and David McKeon progressing to the final with times more than seven seconds outside Ian Thorpe’s 2002 Games record time of 3.40.08. Looks like that record will stand for some time to come!
FINALS UPDATE: Olympic champion Mack Horton and first time international medallist Jack McLoughlin took out Gold and Silver with a strategic one-two punch (and a PB for McLoughlin)
All eyes were on Australia’s 17-year-old Ariarne Titmus in the Women’s 200m Freestyle. Australian title holder of the 200m, 400m and 800m, she didn’t disappoint fans as she led the pack with a win of 1.57.02, a full body length in front of fellow Aussie Leah Neale. Emma McKeon also gained a place in the 200m freestyle finals, making three Aussies in total.
FINALS UPDATE: World Champion Emma McKeon put on strong performance to take out the Bronze while Ariarne Titmus nabbed Silver in a nail-biting finish against Canadian Ruck, seeing her miss the Gold by just four one hundreds of a second.
Women’s 50m Breaststroke and 100m Butterfly also thrilled fans with a cracking pace. Madeline Groves and Emma McKeon made it through to the finals in butterfly, Leiston Pickett, Jessica Hansen and Georgia Bohl in breaststroke.
The shock of the day’s events was the disqualification of British swimmer and Games record holder Benjamin Proud for starting before the signal in the Men’s 50m Butterfly, Grant Irvine and David Morgan being the Aussies to proceed to the semi-finals in that event.
SEMI-FINALS UPDATE: Grant Irvine pulled a PB to qualify first in his semi-final, while David Morgan managed to make it into tomorrow night’s final in eighth place.
It was a great kickstart to the swimming events, with lots of excitement leading into the finals to begin tonight.
Header Image: Madeline Groves and Emma McKeon after their butterfly heat. (c) Marj Osborne.
In Other Aussie News:
- Congratulations to Tasmanian triathlete Jacob Birtwhistle for kicking off Australia’s medal tally at this year’s Games with his silver in the Men’s Triathlon.
- More swimming Gold for Australian women’s 4x100m Relay Team Shayna Jack, Bronte Campbell, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell, who also smashed the World Record.
- Individual Aussie rider Jessica Gallagher was the first rider to set a world record on the new track in qualifying for the women’s B&VI sprint, before her time of 10.954 seconds was superseded minutes later by Sophie Thornhill who completed the 200m distance in 10.609 to regain the world record time in this event. Thornhill too out the Gold, with Gallagher taking Silver.
- Ashlee Ankudinoff, Annette Edmonson, Amy Cure and Alexandra Manly took out Gold for Australia in the women’s 4000m team pursuit, and broke a Commonwealth record while they were at it.
- Men’s 4000m team pursuit took out Gold and a World Record in the Gold medal race against rivals England, thanks to the efforts of Leigh Howard, Jordan Kerby, Alex Porter and Sam Welsford.
- In the women’s team sprint qualifying, Australia’s Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch set a new Commonwealth Games record when taking out the Gold.
- In badminton, Australia defeated South Africa 5-0 in the second session of the mixed team event at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.
- Rex Hedrick took out 3-2 squash victory for Australi against Eain Yow NG (MAS) in the Round of 64 at Oxenford Studios.
- Aussie boxer Terry Nikolas held up a round 32 victory against Carl Hield (BAH) at Oxenford Studios.