GLASGOW: South Africa’s Chad le Clos solidified his status as the world’s best 200m butterfly swimmer as he retained his Commonwealth Games title yesterday, while Australia added another four golds in the pool.
The most impressive individual performance, however, went to England’s Francesca Halsall as she broke two Commonwealth Games records in winning the women’s 50m freestyle and qualifying fastest for today’s 50m butterfly final.
Le Clos nearly came a cropper before he even got into the pool yesterday after twisting his ankle when slipping off a bus as he arrived back at the athletes’ village on Friday night.
However, once he was in the water he sped clear of the field in the final 50 metres.
“Last night I slipped off the bus, so I was a bit worried, my ankle was a bit swollen,” said Le Clos.
“It wasn’t too bad, so I just iced it. This morning it was quite bad in the heats so I was a bit worried, but we had 10 hours to strap it up and needle it a little bit so thanks to the physios.”
Halsall proved just as strong as she set a new personal best to see off Australian 100m freestyle world champion Cate Campbell by just four hundredths of a second in 23:96sec.
Cate’s sister Bronte Campbell took bronze.
“It’s been a fairytale evening for me tonight,” said Halsall.
“To set a best time in the 50m freestyle and then another one in the fly. I can’t ask for more than two best times in one evening, especially with how special the crowd were in really supporting me. It has been an amazing evening that I will remember for a very long time.”
There was more joy for England as 19-year-old Adam Peaty beat Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa into second in the men’s 100m breaststroke.
Ross Murdoch continued his excellent meet with bronze after claiming gold in the 200m breaststroke to increase Scotland’s medal tally in the pool to six.
Daniel Fox got Australia’s first gold of the evening in the men’s para-sport 200m freestyle to add to his new world record time of 1min 57:16sec from qualifying yesterday.
Thomas Hamer took silver for England with Wales’ Jack Thomas claiming bronze.
There was an Australian one-two in the women’s 200m breaststroke as Taylor McKeown sealed gold ahead of teammate Sally Hunter, while England’s Molly Renshaw claimed bronze.
Emily Seebohm also set a new Commonwealth Games record of 59:37sec in retaining her 100m backstroke title.
Georgia Davies rounded off an encouraging evening for Wales with silver with another Aussie Belinda Hocking taking bronze.
And the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team took Australia’s gold medal tally to 11 from a possible 21 after three days in the pool at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre as they smashed the previous Games record by nearly four seconds in 7min 49:90sec.
Australian attention today will turn to the dual for gold between James Magnussen and Cameron McEvoy after they cruised into the final of the men’s 100 freestyle.
Magnussen was fastest in both the heats and the semi-finals yesterday, but insists he has plenty more to give in the final.
“I’m still holding a bit back, but that is to come out,” he said.
“It is hard to say where I am until I’m put under pressure, it wasn’t really that close so with Cam next to me tomorrow it will test me out a bit more.”
Another Australian Ben Treffers went fastest in qualifying for the men’s 50m backstroke final ahead of 100m backstroke gold medallist Chris Walker-Hebborn of England and Wales’ Marco Loughran.