Commonwealth Games: Day 1 Finals
Mar 16, 2006 - Nikki Dryden
Melbourne-Scottish freestylers Caitlin McClatchey and David Carry were on fire tonight, posting best times and grabbing gold out of Aussie hands. Kiwi Moss Burmester and the South African men's relay also won, leaving the hometown audience with just one gold to cheer on. But they were deafening nonetheless, leaving all the athletes with nothing but positive things to say about the power of the crowd.
Women's 200 Free Final
Caitlin McClatchey (SCO) swam a near perfect 200 free to win in a new Games record of 1:57.25. In for second, Lisbeth Lenton (AUS) was out too fast and dropped the third 50 just as she did this morning, giving McClatchey any mental edge she needed to win. "It was a bit of a shock, but it's good," said McClatchey. "When I turned at the last 50 I knew I could win if I put my head down. I didn't think I was going to win, it's fantastic!"
McClatchey: 27.68, 57.54 (29.86), 1:27.71 (30.17) and 1:57.25 (29.54) Lenton: 26.76, 56.78 (30.02), 1:27.39 (30.61), and 1:57.51 (30.12)
McClatchey's time moves her into 4th spot on the all-time 200 free list (just below Lenton's 2005 swim of 1;57.06) and just under 6 tenths off the world record. Mel Marshall (ENG) was off her best, touching in 1:58.11 for bronze.
Men's 50 Back Semi-Final
Liam Tancock (ENG) broke his own Games record to qualify for tomorrow night's final in top spot. His 24.84 smashed his time from this morning (25.26). Heading into lane 5 for tomorrow is Johannes Zandberg (RSA) in 25.16 followed by Matthew Clay (ENG) in 25.49. Matt Welsh (AUS) is 4th while Matt Rose (CAN) is 7th.
"It gives me massive confidence for the final," said Clay after winning the first semi-final. "Hopefully going to bring back a medal. I'd love to bring one home for England. A one-two (with Tancock) for England would be a dream."
Women's 50 Fly Semi-Final
Danni Miatke (AUS) will have to settle for lane 5 in tomorrow night's final as she finished in 26.58, just behind Jessicah Schipper (AUS) who won her heat in 26.55-a new Games record. But Miatke did not look pleased. Even though Schipper has been great on the 100 and 200 flys, it was Miatke who won the 50 at Worlds last summer. Genevieve Saumur (CAN) heads into the final in 8th spot.
Men's 400 Free Final
With Grant Hackett (AUS) and Ian Thorpe (AUS) watching from the stands as they recover from shoulder surgery and bronchitis respectively, the race was open for some new men to shine. Most likely inspired by his countrywoman's win in the 200 free, David Carry (SCO) stole the show from crowd favourite Craig Stevens (AUS) and the race favourite David Davies (WAL). Finishing in a 3:48.17, Carry won the race in the last 50 storming home in 28.02. Andrew Hurd (CAN) also used the last 50 to overtake Davies touching in a new Canadian record of 3:49.08 to Davies 3:49.44. Stevens finished in 4th with a 3:51.96.
"I was hoping to go faster," said a reserved Hurd after the race, "I thought I had a 47 in me. It was a pretty rough race; I believe that these international meets are like that. I need to get some more finals in, and learn to race better and I should be able to get faster."
For Stevens, coming 4th wasn't as bad as it seemed. "I should have been home with a beer, watching everyone else swim! This opportunity has been just great," he said. "I would have loved to go faster, but just the experience of getting to be here has been great, I couldn't be happier." Despite winning the 400 free at the Aussie trials, Craig was not initially selected for the Games and was only put on the team just 10 days ago when Thorpe withdrew. "I have no complaints about the selection criteria. They tried to pick the best possible athletes and I was just fortunate to get the call."
Women's 200 IM Final
With defending champion Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) missing from the Games due to Zimbabwe's withdrawal from the Commonwealth (they faced expulsion after the Commonwealth Heads of Government suspended them following the disputed 2002 presidential elections), the event was up for grabs by whichever Aussie wanted it most. Leading the 1-2-3 sweep for the Aussies was seventeen year old Stephanie Rice who raced to a new Games record of 2:12.90. Local hero Brooke Hanson won silver in 2:13.62, out-touching Lara Carroll who won bronze in 2:13.86. Rice's swim puts her 22nd on the all-time 200 IM list.
"I am so happy with how I went," said Rice. "I was hoping to get in front. I had no idea if I was first, second, or third, it was so close. We were all really close together so I had no idea until the end when I looked at the scoreboard…it's a dream come true!"
Men's 200 Fly Final
The haka was Moss Burmester's (NZL) reward for winning gold in the 200 fly. Performed with tremendous intensity by his teammates, Burmester just couldn't stop smiling. He had good reason. His win in 1:56.64 was a Games record and moves him up to 19th on the all-time 200 fly list. In for silver was Travis Nederpelt (AUS) in 1:57.26, while the bronze went to Joshua Krogh (AUS) in 1:59.18.
Women's 50 Breast Semi-Final
The Aussies head into tomorrow night's final 1-2-3, with world record holder Jade Edmistone (AUS) leading the way in 30.54 (just 3 one-hundredths off her best). In second spot is Leisel Jones (AUS) with 30.59 followed by Tarnee White (AUS) in 31.35. A world record will likely fall tomorrow night when all three go up against each other in the final. Canadian Lauren van Oosten (CAN) qualified 7th.
Men's 4x100 Free Relay Final
The South African men came into this meet as defending Olympic champions and this morning no less than 4 men were swimming off for the 2 spots not filled by Ryk Neethling (RSA) and Roland Schoeman (RSA). Lyndon Ferns (RSA) sealed his spot, but Darian Townsend (RSA) was replaced by Johannes Zandberg (RSA). The four men combined for another win, but were almost 2 seconds off their world record. Their winning time of 3:14.97 was still good enough for a Games record, while the Aussies had the crowd at maximum volume to win silver in 3:15.54. Canada broke its national record to grab the bronze away from England but were just shy of catching Australia with their 3:15.74.