Australia shattered the women’s 4×100 metres freestyle world record for their second gold medal on the opening night’s finals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
The team of Shayna Jack, Bronte Campbell, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell went 0.60 seconds under Australia’s previous world record set at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
They posted a blistering three minutes 30.05 seconds with Cate Campbell bringing home the world record with a flying final leg of 51.00secs.
Australia beat home Canada and England for their second gold medal of the opening night after Olympic champion Mack
Horton claimed the 400m freestyle final earlier in the programme.
Horton became Australia’s first 400 metres freestyle winner at the Commonwealth Games since the great Ian Thorpe with his victory.
Horton swam a perfectly judged race to reel in team-mate Jack McLoughlin and England’s James Guy to win gold in three minutes 43.76 seconds.
Horton tracked the leading duo in the first half of the race before making his charge in the final 150m.
Horton, who upset Chinese defending champion Sun Yang to snatch gold at Rio two years ago, joined five-time Olympic champion Thorpe, who was the last Australian man to win the 400m free in Manchester in 2002.
Fittingly, Thorpe presented Horton with his gold medal at the podium presentation.
“It’s really about swimming to win. It was a good race with James — he’s always out quick,” Horton said.
“I knew I had to mow him that last 200. I was still a bit soft and slow in that first 200.
“It’s good. Just swimming in front of the home crowd is unreal. I probably feel more emotion here than in Rio (2016 Olympic Games) because the whole crowd is cheering for you.
“That didn’t happen so much in Rio. Ten thousand people cheering for you is pretty unreal.”
It was Horton’s third career Commonwealth Games medal after winning 4x200m freestyle gold and 1,500m freestyle silver in Glasgow in 2014.
England also claimed two gold medals on the opening night with Aimee Wilmott denying Hannah Miley’s bid for a Scottish record three consecutive 400m individual medley gold medals and James Wilby dethroning Scottish defending champion Ross Murdoch in the 200m breaststroke.
Wilmott, beaten by Miley in the 2014 Glasgow final, fought back tenaciously in the final freestyle leg to pip the Scot by 0.26secs with Australia’s Blair Evans third.
“I’ve been second almost every single time,” Wilmott said.
“I’ve raced against Hannah in every meet and I’ve been second every time. I knew that this time it could have been me if I just swam the race a little bit better.”
Miley was 0.03secs ahead heading into the final leg but Wilmott finished strongly for the gold medal.
Miley, 28, was bidding to become the first Scot to claim three consecutive golds in the same event at the Commonwealth Games after winning gold at Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.
Wilby came with a late rush to tip out Murdoch in the 200m breaststroke final by 0.27secs in 2:08.05 with Australian Matt Wilson third.
Canada’s Taylor Ruck upset the fancied Australians Ariarne Titmus and defending champion Emma McKeon to win the 200m freestyle gold.
Ruck set a new Games record of 1:54.81 to deny the fast-closing Titmus by just four-hundredths of a second in a desperate finish, with McKeon taking bronze.
The 17-year-old Titmus is the rising star of Australian swimming after becoming the first Australian woman in 14 years to complete the 200m/400m/800m freestyle treble at the selection trials last month.
Eighteen-year-old Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) student Lewis Burras beat Olympic silver medallist Duncan Scott to take gold in the men’s 100m freestyle at the British Swimming Championships in Edinburgh.
Lewis took the top spot on the podium with a personal best of 49.89 seconds, safely within the qualification time for this year’s European Junior Championships. He was also the only swimmer in the 100m freestyle final to swim under 50 seconds.
The race was hotly contested, with Edinburgh’s David Cumberlidge and Stirling’s Duncan Scott both hot on Burras’ heels at the turn. Though Cumberlidge was barely a fingertip behind at the 50m mark, Burras powered down the final 50m to win the race and take the gold medal.
Lewis said after the victory: “It felt great to win especially racing against these older guys and I think this is great preparation for next year as I transition from junior and compete on the senior stage. The atmosphere here is incredible, as soon as the lights went down, I know it was game-face time.”
Lewis joined JESS as a young primary student and first got into the water at just three years old. For the last couple of years, Lewis has been a part of the British Swimming Junior Performance Team and in that time has been climbing up the rankings of the senior swimmers.
His training, as you would expect, is grueling with Lewis training daily before and after school with Hamilton Aquatics under the expert guidance of his swim coach Ash Morris.
Katie Raybould, head of aquatics at JESS, said: “At 18, for a male, Lewis is still classed as a junior, so for a junior swimmer to take gold at the men’s senior 100m freestyle title at the British Championships in Edinburgh last week, is a pretty outstanding achievement especially when he was competing against well-established senior athletes including Duncan Scott who represented Great Britain at the Rio Olympics and was part of the medal winning relay there.”
Shane O’Brian, secondary head at JESS, added: “The commitment needed to swim competitively at this level and still maintain school work is hugely commendable. Lewis is an outstanding athlete and an exemplary student, and the whole of JESS are proud of his achievements and we will certainly be celebrating when he returns to school.”
Burras’ mum summed up his hard work by saying: “We are so proud of Lewis. The dedication, focus and drive he has to achieve his dreams is inspiring and even though he has had setbacks, he has learnt from those experiences and used them to make him stronger and more determined.
“He usually has three-to-four overseas swim meets a year and I can’t thank the entire team at JESS enough for the support, encouragement and guidance they have given him, tailoring his studies around his training and overseas competitions, ensuring he is still on track to achieve his academic goals, as well as his sporting ones.”
Valentin Bellet’s polished outfit took the spoils in the Gulf classic, revamped for 2018 to feature a fleet of super-fast Diam 24 trimarans doing battle in five long ‘coastal raids’ and five short, intense stadium race series at venues all over Oman.
The new format demanded strength, skill and tenacity from the eight international crews competing for the coveted top spot while also showcasing Oman’s natural beauty.
Over the course of the 14 day-campaign Beijaflore were models of consistency, dominating three coastal raids plus the Salalah stadium racing.
They won a quarter of the 19 individual stadium races held and finished in a podium position in all but seven races – an impressive scorecard as the team now turns its attention to the Tour Voile, the highlight of the Diam 24 season.
Thierry Douillard’s EFG Bank Monaco, winners of every EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour since 2013, took the runners-up spot with five individual race wins and two coastal raid victories.
Third place went to Averda, led by British two-time Olympian Stevie Morrison.
“The whole Beijaflore team is really happy to win EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour,” said Beijaflore skipper Bellet, 26, from La Rochelle. “We came here wanting to win and we pulled it off. On paper we have a good advantage but the reality is that on the water it was very close between all the teams.
“We have a very good team, we were well prepared, we fought for every place in every race. This is, ultimately, what made the difference.
“This event has been fantastic training for the Tour Voile – in France now it is very cold and we can’t sail very often but here it’s possible to race every day against some of the top teams and discover this beautiful country. It’s the perfect preparation for us.”
Buoyed by a third-place finish in the 2017 Tour Voile, Beijaflore set an early benchmark with victories in both the coastal raid and stadium racing in Salalah, adding to it with coastal raid wins in Duqm and Ras Al Hadd.
EFG Bank Monaco, meanwhile, started on the back foot with sixth in the Salalah stadium racing series.
Douillard’s crew, including former match racing world champion Mathieu Richard, answered back as the Tour moved north, winning stadium racing in Duqm and the coastal raid in Masirah Island.
French team Vivacar.fr chucked their hat in the ring with a stadium racing victory in Masirah, while Averda claimed the top spot for the inshore action in Sur.
A win in the fifth coastal raid to Muscat’s old town of Muttrah, framed by the stunning Al Hajar mountains, gave EFG Bank Monaco a final boost but by this point Beijaflore’s lead was unassailable.
The final podium positions were confirmed when the fifth and final round of stadium racing was cancelled due to lack of wind.
“We are happy to come second – it’s a very positive thing for our team” said EFG Bank Monaco’s Omani trimmer Ali Al Balushi. “We have had a great two weeks together as a team and as a family.
“The racing was very tight and it was a great opportunity to compete against some of the best teams. It makes me proud to have represented Oman and to have been able to show off my country to so many sailors from all over the world.”
The EFG Bank Monaco crew will now join forces with Averda’s sailors to form a formidable Oman Sail entry in the 2018 Tour Voile where they will aim to improve on last year’s fifth-place finish.
Five race wins for Matthieu Souben’s Vivacar.fr against two for Bernard Stamm’s Cheminees Poujoulat decided the tie for fourth place, while young guns Lorina Golfe du Morbihan, all under the age of 21, finished sixth.
All-woman crew DB Schenker, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race star Elodie-Jane Mettraux and featuring Omani sailors Marwa Al Khaifi and Tamadher al Balushi, were just pipped to seventh by EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour veteran Cedric Pouligny’s Renaissance.