James Wilby and the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay team kicked off Team England swimming medals on the first night of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games finals.
Wilby took silver in the men’s 200m breaststroke in the penultimate race of the evening at the Sandwell Aquatics Center before the team of Lewis Burras, Tom Dean, Anna Hopkin and Freya Anderson doubled the total minutes later. late.
Defending champion Wilby looked set to retain the gold he won at the 2018 Gold Coast Games but couldn’t hold off a late charge from Australian Zac Stubblety-Cook.
Wilby had led throughout but world record holder Stubblety-Cook produced a stunning 50m finish in 32.31 to touch home first in 2:08.07.
It was 0.52 ahead of Wilby’s 2:08.59 and the Loughborough National Center swimmer later acknowledged that the crowd spurred him on.
He said: “I just wanted to get out there and be brave. I really enjoyed it, it was a very good race.
“I was really pushed by the crowd.
“I was pretty aware of lane three and could see Zac in the corners. I could tell it was pretty tight and it was a big push in the last 50 yards. We had a good race.
“It was a bit of a roller coaster. Facing the world record holder, one of the best 200m breaststroke in the world. I had a good race and I challenged him for this first place.
Scotland’s Ross Murdoch finished third in a time of 2:10.41.
Team England were embroiled in an epic battle with former rivals Australia in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay.
The lead changed hands four times between the two nations before a superb final run by Australian Emma McKeon secured her first place on the podium.
Burras got England off to a flying start by scoring 48.28 for the first 100m before handing over to Dean.
The Olympic 200m freestyle champion clocked 48.12 but Australia had taken the lead as Hopkin took over.
She had fought her way forward at the 250m mark, but Mollie O’Callaghan was in the lead on the final takeover.
Freya Anderson pushed McKeon all the way, but the Aussie had enough in the tank to fend off the challenge and seal Australia’s fifth gold of the night.
England finished 3:22.45 – 1.27 behind the gold medal-winning Australians. Canada won the bronze medal in 3:24.86.
Dean said: “It’s so great to start with a relay [at] of the Games at home, enter this reception and [win] a silver medal. It is a great success.
“I think all the energy around this is bigger than any competition we’ve been in, the biggest thing since London 2012.
“Getting the coverage we want, with eyes on the swim, can only be good for the sport.”
Burras added: “It’s nice to have a race at the Games under my belt, walking in front of a crowd like that is unforgettable.
“I can’t complain – one race, one medal – and to do it alongside my teammates is really special for me.”
Anderson said: “I was quite disappointed after the 200m [Freestyle]so to get back into the area, I knew we could do it.
“It’s not just for me that I swim, it’s for my team and England.”
Best for life for Colbert
Freya Colbert shaved nearly a second and a half off her lifetime best in the women’s 400m individual medley final – but she was abysmal outside of the medals.
The Nova Centurion swimmer finished in 4:39.80 after a strong 50m final, but she couldn’t fight her way past Scotland’s Katie Shanahan, who finished 0.43 ahead to win the bronze.
It was the first time Colbert had dropped below 4:40, having clocked 4:41.27 at the 2022 British Championships in April.
Canada’s Summer Macintosh set a new Games record in 4:29.01 to win the gold medal, ahead of Australia’s Kiah Melverton who was second in 4:36.78.
Luke finishes honorable fifth
Luke Turley set a new personal best by finishing fifth in his first Commonwealth Games final.
The 22-year-old clocked 3:48.50 in the men’s 400m freestyle final, which was 0.02 seconds faster than his previous record of 3:48.50 which he set at the 2022 British Championships in Sheffield earlier this year.
Truly was greeted enthusiastically by the Sandwell crowd as he stepped out into the arena for the first final of the night.
And he certainly responded, swimming a consistent race and finishing strong.
He was sixth at the halfway point but had moved up to fifth with 100m to go and held on, clocking his fastest 50m on the final leg of the race.
Australia celebrated a clean medal sweep with Elijah Winnington taking gold in 3:43.06, Sam Short silver in 3:45.07 and Mack Horton bronze in 3:48.49.
Freya gives it her all
Anderson gave it her all in the women’s 200m freestyle final but was denied a medal after Australia’s second clean sweep of the night.
Anderson cut her qualifying time as she touched home in 1:56.83.
However, that was 0.66 seconds behind Madison Wilson who secured the final podium spot in 1:56.17.
Anderson was 0.21 ahead of Wilson as
Wilson’s compatriot Ariarne Titmus set a new Games record in 1:53.89, with O’Callaghan second in 1:54.01.
Alice is happy
Alice Tai said she was pleased with her performance in the women’s S9 100m freestyle final.
Tai was moving up a standings in the swim but improved his morning qualifying time to finish sixth in 1:07.10.
She said, “That was nice. There was no pressure as I have my main event on Sunday in the 100m backstroke.
“Obviously I have to get back to training properly because I was really hanging on in the last 25 games.
“But I’m happy and it was really great to swim in front of a crowd so I’m really looking forward to Sunday.”
Williams and Greenbank impress
Brodie Williams and Luke Greenbank advanced to the men’s 100m backstroke final after finishing second and fifth fastest overall.
All three England representatives in the semi-finals, including James McFadzen, went to the first of two semi-finals where Williams emerged victorious.
Williams won the semi-final with a time of 54.00, just 0.01 ahead of New Zealander Andrew Jeffcoat.
Greenbank finished third in the race and fifth overall with a time of 54.23.
It was 0.32 faster than his time this morning as he joined Williams in tomorrow’s final.
McFadzen impressed despite missing the final.
He arrived as the twelfth fastest swimmer overall, which was a big improvement from his 14e completed this morning.
Clark qualifies second for 50m breaststroke final
Imogen Clark maintained her fine form from this morning’s session by winning her semi-final in this evening’s session.
Swimmer Deventio led from the start in her semi-final, leaving her rivals in her wake as she won her race by nearly a second.
Clark set the second fastest time overall and was only beaten by Lara van Niekerk of South Africa who set a new games record for the event.
Van Niekerk did it in 29.80, just 0.44 ahead of Clark.
On his performance, Clark said, “Yeah, I feel really good and I felt really relaxed tonight and I can’t wait for tomorrow night to start and fight.
“Consistency has been my word for the last few months and I have to become more consistent than that, but tomorrow I want to bring that consistency.
“Tomorrow is another race and another fight and I can’t wait to bring that to the final.”
Clark says it will be a dream to break the 30-second barrier and win the gold medal.
“The day it’s anybody’s game
“I have home advantage and going under 30 would be a dream, so I’m looking forward to racing tomorrow.”
Defending champion Sarah Vasey narrowly missed out on a place in the final after finishing tenth overall.
She set a time of 31.37 which was just 0.05 from the final qualifying spot.
Hibbott sets new personal best
There was a personal best for Holly Hibbott in the women’s 100 butterfly semifinal.
Hibbott improved on his personal best time in the heats this morning but beat it once again finishing with a 58.97 to snatch the final qualifying spot for tomorrow’s final.
This shattered his previous pre-match record which stood at 1:00.14.
It marks an impressive start to the game for Hibbott who represents the England team for the second time after swimming in the Gold Coast.
England trio qualify fastest for 50m butterfly final
England’s Ben Proud, Jacob Peters and Adam Barrett all made it to the 50m butterfly final after some good swims from the English trio.
Proud and Peters were first in the opening semi-final, with the pair heading home for a brace
World champion Proud finished with a time of 23.06 to set the fastest time in both his semi-final and overall with Peters close behind at 23.51.
That time, Peters was ranked fourth fastest overall, leaving Barrett as the last English swimmer to book his place in the final.
Barrett swam a 23.59 which was 0.39 faster than her time in the heats this morning.
This time he just snuck into the final as the eighth fastest swimmer, which means he will swim in the final tomorrow on his 30th birthday.e birthday.