Commonwealth Games: Day 4 Finals
Mar 19, 2006 - Nikki Dryden in Melbourne
The gold medal drought for the Aussie men continues as Scotland keeps on rolling. Canada picked up two bronze medals, but the big news is still how Scotland and England are combining to beat Australia in the medal tables-10 gold to 8.
Women's 100 Fly Final
Jessicah Schipper (AUS) was tagged to win this one, but there was hope she might just bring us the first world record of the Games. Just off her best, and off the world record, she still managed the win in a Games record of 57.48. "It's amazing," she said. "I can't believe it! I don't think I'm as fast as I was at the trials, but I thought it was a solid race, and actually I'm pretty happy." Libby Lenton (AUS) had a strong swim for silver in 57.80-never quite letting Schipper get the lead anticipated.
Bronze medallist Audrey Lacroix (CAN) put in the swim of her life and ended the chance at yet another Aussie sweep (Alice Mills (AUS) was 4th). Breaking the Canadian record three times in three swims, Lacroix not only cracked the illusive 60 second barrier, but she cracked 59 too. Her swim of 58.89 sets her up well for her best event, the 200 fly. "One minute was something that I myself put in my mind that I couldn't get over. I thought that the day it happened would be perfect. It wasn't, but it did help me believe in myself more."
Men's 50 Breast Semi-Final
Brenton Rickard (AUS) will have to fend off three Englishmen if he wants to claim gold for his homeland. Rickard sits in first with 28.13 to Darren Mew's (ENG) 28.14, James Gibson's (ENG) 28.40 and Chris Cook's (ENG) 28.56. Gibson is the defending champ in this event, Cook is coming off a great win in the 100, and Mew was shut-out of the medals in the 100, so all three have the inspiration needed to win. "We're very excited," said Gibson, "we think we've got three very talented individuals. It's going to be a dog fight tomorrow; we all want to win!"
Scott Dickens (CAN) was just a fraction off his best, and sits in 3rd spot with a 28.33. "That's my best time this year," he said, "so I'm happy. But I've got room to improve, so I like my chances. I can improve on my pullout, my dive and my acceleration through my stroke."
Women's 50 Back Semi-Final
Giaan Rooney (AUS) lowered her Games record again tonight, this time to 28.42 to qualify for lane 4 tomorrow. She will have to hold off 100 back winner Sophie Edington (AUS) who won her semi in 28.79. "I've been working hard on my technique," said Edington, "trying to make it as efficient as possible. I'm very happy with the time, obviously tonight I'm just trying to get through to the finals." 100 back bronze medallist Tayliah Zimmer (AUS) rounds out the top 3 with her 28.97, but is followed closely by Hannah McLean (NZL) in 28.98. Landice Yestrau (CAN) sits in 6th spot.
Men's 100 Free Finals
It was expected to be Roland Schoeman's (RSA) race, having won the event last summer at the World Champs in his signature style: go out as fast as you can and hold on for as long as you can. The race started that way with Schoeman out in 23.21 to his teammate Ryk Neethling's (RSA) 23.28, but it was no where near enough to stay out ahead of Simon Burnett (ENG), who powered off the wall and led easily for the last 25. His 48.57 is a new Games record, breaking the time set last night in the semis by Schoeman who went 6 tenths slower and was also passed by Neethling, who touched in 49.20 to Schoeman's 49.24. "I'm not feeling great," said Neethling, "but you've got to dig deep. I'm not happy with the time, but I'm happy with the medal." Burnett will be hopping on a plane to the US as soon as the Games end to compete for the University of Arizona at the NCAA champs. Arizona is the same place where Schoeman and Neethling developed their talents-clearly a breeding ground for the world's top sprinters. "I knew I had to put it out there," said Burnett. "It was a great swim, a British record. I got the gold I was dreaming of." Brent Hayden (CAN) was 4th in 49.38.
Women's 100 Breast Semi-Finals
Jade Edmistone (AUS) broke the Games record in the first seeded heat, clocking a strong 1:07.93, but Leisel Jones (AUS) allowed Edmistone only 5 minutes to enjoy her record, before winning the second semi in 1:07.33. Along with Tarnee White (AUS) we could see another Aussie trifecta if she can better her 1:08.34. Hot on her heals will be Suzaan van Biljon (RSA) who swam a 1:08.50 and Kirsty Balfour (SCO) who swam 1:08.45. Lauren van Oosten (CAN) also qualified for the final.
Men's 100 Back Semi-Finals
Matt Rose (CAN) took out the first semi in 27.17, but was unable to hold on for the win. He was passed in final few metres by winner Andrew Lauterstein (AUS) and Nicholas Neckles (BAR). Rose touched in 56.36 to Lauterstein's 55.77 and Neckles' 56.23. Unfortunately for Rose, the second semi was much faster, pushing him into 9th spot and out of the final. But in winning semi 2, Matt Welsh (AUS) looked determined to defend his title and win Australia its first men's gold of the Games. He was just off his own record in 54.82 to Liam Tancock's (ENG) 54.92 and Johannes Zandberg's (RSA) 55.41.
Women's 50 Free Semi-Finals
With less than an hour since hitting the pool for the 100 fly, Libby Lenton (AUS) and Alice Mills (AUS) were back at it. This time Mills came out on top with a 25.40 to Lenton's 25.50 after a casual touch by Lenton. "It's a pretty tough program," said Lenton. "You don't know how you will handle it until you do it. Other than that, I'm really happy with how I did tonight. Tonight was all about making the final, I'm sure all the Australian girls were the same." Third spot in that semi went to Nichola Chellingworth (NZL) in 26.00. In the second semi it was Jodie Henry (AUS) in 25.32. The three Aussie women have already swept the 100 free, but Lauren Roets (RSA) in 25.75 and Chellingworth will look to break up their party. Victoria Poon (CAN) was off her best, but sits in 6th spot, while Erica Morningstar (CAN) is in 8th.
Men's 100 Fly Semi-Finals
Todd Cooper (SCO) swam with easy looking speed to win the first semi in 53.30. Breathing to the left side, he had no problem holding off Matthew Bowe (ENG) who touched in 53.53. Corney Swanepoel (NZL) was 3rd in 53.77. But don't count out the veterans yet. Michael Klim (AUS) won this event at the 1998 World Champs in 52.25. While he wasn't that fast, his 52.86 was the best he's looked all week. Coming from behind with the hometown crowd pushing him along, Klim overtook early leader Ryan Pini (PNG) who touched in 52.91. "My time wasn't too bad," said Klim. "I want to swim quicker tomorrow. The bar will really rise then."
Adam Pine (AUS), another veteran and the man who read the Athlete's Oath at Opening Ceremonies, swam strong with his 52.96. "This is my 4th Commonwealth Games and I still get nervous and excited! The home crowd is the reason I swam, but this might be my last." Moss Burmester (NZL) who is the 200 fly winner, closed fast to touch in 53.15 and Thomas Kindler (CAN) swam a personal best to qualify for the final in 8th spot with a 53.83.
Women's 100 Free EAD
Once again it was the Natalie du Toit (RSA) show. Earning her second gold of the Games, du Toit won for her 1:01.68, just 0.13 off her own world record for S9. Valerie Grandmaison (CAN) won silver with her 59.88 (+1.14) for S13, while Anne Polinario (CAN) added a bronze to go with her silver in the 50 with her 1:01.67 (+1.43) in S10. "I want to go a lot faster," said Grandmaison, "but I couldn't get out fast enough. I was really, really nervous-it's not my best time-but silver is quite good."
Men's 400 IM Final
In the most exciting race of the Games so far, two Scotsmen emerged as victors in an event that was open to the men who were ready to fight the hardest. Following up on his 200 free win on the opening night of the Games, David Carry (SCO) left no doubts of his mettle. His 4:15.98 was a new Games record and left the Aussie men still without gold. Countryman Euan Dale (SCO) battled it out on the other side of the pool, keeping Travis Neederpelt (AUS) at bay 4:17.15 to 4:17.24. Carry's back split of 1:06.13 really moved him out on the field, but his free leg of 58.50 was the nail in the coffin, with no one able to match such strong freestyle. Dale was a member of the Scottish silver medal winning 4x200 free relay, so he will head home a double-silver medallist.
Women's 800 Free Final
Defending champ Becky Cooke (ENG) took advantage of her out of shape competitors to win gold in 8:29.50. Moving away from the field at the 300 mark, she flipped in 4:14.41 to Melissa Gorman's (AUS) 4:15.37. On the other side of the pool a battle for bronze was brewing between World champ silver medallist Brittany Reimer (CAN) and Keri-Anne Payne (ENG) who turned in 4:16.90 and 4:16.77. As Cooke picked up her kick at the 600 her windmill style carried her to victory over Gorman's 8:30.79. Reimer was able to put on a bit of a sprint and out-touch Payne 8:38.05 to 8:38.24.