Ariarne Titmus, Sam Short and the women’s 4x100m medley relay team took further gold for Australia as the Commonwealth Games swimming competition in Birmingham drew to a close. A wildly successful campaign in the pool ended with the triple triumph on Thursday morning AEST to bring Australia’s gold total to 25 according to the final score.
Titmus claimed victory in the women’s 400-meter freestyle — the 21-year-old’s seventh Commonwealth gold, alongside two Olympic gold medals and two world titles — after beating emerging 15-year-old Canadian star Summer McIntosh, while Australian Kiah Melverton claimed bronze.
McIntosh had declared himself the star of the future at the World Championships in Budapest and won the 200m and 400m medley in this competition. One night after winning the 800-meter freestyle, Titmus – who defeated American champion Katie Ledecky in the event at the Tokyo Olympics – recorded a time of 3:58.06 to beat McIntosh by just over a second. She also won the 200-meter freestyle to achieve a rare triple success.
“Australia is really proud of its success in the pool at the Commonwealth Games,” said Titmus. “And there may be more pressure to win here than at the Olympics, sometimes because we’re so dominant.”
Her latest success followed Short’s sensational swim to claim the gold medal in the 1500m freestyle and continue Australia’s rich tradition in endurance racing. The 18-year-old won a thrilling match in 14:48.54, just over three seconds ahead of Daniel Wiffen of Northern Ireland, with England’s Luke Turley in third.
In the final events of the swimming competition, the women’s team defeated Canada 4x100m medley relay, with England claiming bronze, to give Emma McKeon her sixth gold medal of the Games, but there was disappointment for the men’s team, who were defeated by England when Kyle hit Chalmers for silver.
100m freestyle heroine Mollie O’Callaghan gave Canadian world champion Kylie Masse a fright in the 50m backstroke when she was defeated by just 0.16 seconds. Maase, a four-time Olympic medalist, rallied late to win in 27.31 seconds, with Kaylee McKeown continuing her stellar run to claim the bronze.
After being knocked out by India in the quarter-finals in Tokyo, Australia has a chance of redemption in a semi-final of the women’s hockey to be held in Birmingham on Friday. The Hockeyroos maintained a perfect record in their pool as they defeated Scotland 2-0, while India claimed what was essentially a sudden-death clash against Canada 3-2 to advance.
The Twenty20 women’s cricket team, which remains on track to win gold in the sport’s first Commonwealth Games, also held a perfect record to reach the medal rounds. Unbeaten Beth Mooney, who scored 70 on 49 balls, and Tahlia McGrath, who was out 78 on 51 balls, helped Australia to a total of 160-2 against Pakistan.
The Australians capped Pakistan to 116-8 in their 44-run triumph, with McGrath also best with the ball taking three wickets. Edgbaston was a sea of Australian green and gold for the match with some hockey players in attendance, much to the delight of bowler Alana King, who took one wicket.
“It’s great that we have their support. It’s something special to have Team Australia behind us,” she said. “We’re touching our tires nicely and leading to the pointy end of the tournament.”
The Australians will get to know their rival in the semi-finals on Thursday after the game between England and New Zealand.
Paul Burnett, a Gold Coast gold medalist four years ago in beach volleyball, and his new partner Chris McHugh qualified for the quarterfinals with their third straight sets win, though they were pushed by Rwanda before winning 21-16, 21-18 .
In another action on Wednesday, Zoe Cuthbert became the first Australian to medal in mountain biking when he finished second in Cannock Chase Forest, north of Birmingham. The 21-year-old finished 47 seconds behind England’s Evie Campbell, but showed she is a star of the future with both her motor skills and her composure and awareness in the race.
Australia’s oldest competitor, Cheryl Lindfield, 63, is a hit in the athletes’ village where she resides, and the women’s seven-squad rugby team in particular shines on her. Lindfield and her partner Serena Bonnell enjoyed a successful venture to Leamington Spa when they claimed the silver medal in the women’s pairs para (B6-B8) lawn bowls.
The Australian combination was eventually outclassed by Scotland when it was defeated 17-5, making it the country’s second loss in a final at the venue for the Scots in as many days. “We were the underdogs,” she said. “We are very happy with that. We’ll wake up tomorrow with a silver… so how good is that?”
Charisma Amoa Tarrant performed well in weightlifting when she won a bronze medal in the women’s 87kg class, behind England’s Emily Campbell, who set a new Commonwealth mark.