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Golden Coutts Cruises To Third Crown

Oct 7, 2010  - Craig Lord

Commonwealth Games, Delhi, day 4 finals

Women 100m butterfly

Australian Alicia Coutts is turning out to be the golden girl of the Games in the pool, victory in 57.53 marking her third solo crown. The silver went to Ellen Gandy (ENG), in 58.06, the bronze to Jemma Lowe (WAL), on 58.42. That locked 15-year-old Yolane Kukla out by 0.05sec.

In the absence of the European silver medallist Fran Halsall (ENG), laid low by Delhi belly last night and in 10th in semis, Coutts cracked out a 27.22 half-way split ahead of Gandy's 27.35, with Kukla on 27.49 and Lowe on 27.61. The Brits were a head and shoulders back on the three Aussies in the race, Felicity Galvez always close to the action, and had to fight furiously down the first length to get back into contention.

Coutts, winner of the 200 medley and 100 free before this race, came off the turn with a clear lead, Gandy and Lowe surely realising where they can make big gains in races to come.  On the way to the wall, the champion-in-waiting never looked like being threatened as she powered for home. Her time lifted her from 9th best in the world this year to 5th and fell just 0.05sec shy of the 2006 Games record set by teammate Jessica Schipper, while Gandy entered the top 10 in 10th. Galvez was the last home inside 59sec, on 58.83 for 5th, the final all done in 59.91.

Gandy, based in Australia,  and Lowe, based in Florida, grew up alongside Halsall as members of the Britain Smart Track squad, remarkable that from one generation of talent ID and careful direction three such swift flyers could emerge. 

Coutts, trained at the AIS by John Fowlie, said of her third gold: "It's an amazing  feeling. I was a bit worried about the 100 'fly 'cos I've got a sore shoulder, but it din't hurt the race and it doesn't hurt now. I'm quite glad its my last individual race. I cane now focus on the relays. I didn't think I would get one gold, let alone three. I'm stoked. My first win [when she cracked 2:10 in the short medley] was a huge confidence booster and it's powered me through these Games."

The result

  • Alicia Coutts (AUS) 57.53
  • Ellen Gandy (ENG) 58.06
  • Jemma Lowe (WAL) 58.42
  • Yolane Kukla (AUS) 58.47
  • Felicity Galvez (AUS) 58.83
  • Audrey Lacroix (CAN) 59.22
  • Jessica Sylvester (ENG) 59.40
  • Katerina Savard (CAN) 59.91

History in the making:

Top 3 comparisons

  • 2010: 57.53; 58.06; 58.42
  • 2006: 57.48; 57.80; 58.89
  • 2002: 58.57; 59.68; 1:00.22

Gold-medal leader board: AUS 8/14 (since 1958)


  • Shiny suit WR:    56.06 Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 2009
  • Textile suit WR:  56.61 Inge de Bruijn (NED) 2000


Impact on 2010 world rankings: Coutts leaps from 9th to 5th, Gandy enters the fray...

  • 57.32    Sjostrom Sarah    SWE
  • 57.32    Magnuson Christine    USA
  • 57.39    Vollmer Dana    USA
  • 57.40    Halsall Francesca    GBR
  • 57.53    Coutts Alicia    AUS
  • 57.55    Alshammar Therese    SWE
  • 57.67    Jiao Liuyang    CHN
  • 57.71    Rice Stephanie    AUS
  • 57.94    Ottesen Jeanette    DEN
  • 58.06    Gandy Ellen    GBR

Impact on all-time world top 10: none

From The Archive:

After Caroline Cooper, Caroline Foot and Samantha Purvis had granted England the first clean sweep in the history if the event in 1986, Australia managed to block all others off the podium in both 1994 and 1998, and on both occasions the gold and silver medals went to the same swimmers, namely Petria Thomas and Susie O'Neill On the first occasion, Thomas won by 0.03sec, with Ellie Overton third; on the second occasion Thomas won by 0.19sec, with Kate Godfrey third. Both Thomas, as team management for the overall Australia team, and O'Neill, as expert commentator for a broadcaster, are in Delhi this week.