Australia celebrated a world record in the women’s 4x200 freestyle relay while England’s James Wilby gave Adam Peaty his first defeat in a 100 breaststroke in eight years.
Men’s 200m Butterfly
History was on the line for South Africa’s Chad Le Clos in the 200 butterfly final to potentially become the first swimmer to win the same event at the Commonwealth Games on four occasions. It looked as if that might come true on Sunday evening in Birmingham, as Le Clos held the lead through 150 meters, followed by a great final turn.
But Le Clos was chased down on the last lap, getting beat at the finish by New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt, who won the gold at 1:55.60 to Le Clos’s 1:55.89. This is Clareburt’s second gold medal at the Games, after an impressive 400 IM on Saturday. Clareburt now turns to the 200 IM on Wednesday.
"I didn’t think that would happen tonight,” Clareburt said. “I knew after the heat this morning I had a little bit more to give in the last 50.” "Chad [LE CLOS] and I were having a little bit of fun in that last leg this morning. Those guys were really fast over the first 150 metres but I knew I had that last 50 in me.”
“I’m gutted not to have won, I’ll be honest,” Le Clos said. “I would've cut my finger off to win tonight. It meant everything to me and my family. Everyone’s in the stands - my friends flew out for this race.
Le Clos gave his plaudits to the New Zealand champion. "Fair play to Lewis, he had a great race. He said he watched me growing up and I said, 'man, did you have to do it on my day? Could you not have given me one more time?' [He's an] absolute stud. He's going to be one to look out for in two years’ time, for sure."
Le Clos assured this is not the end of the road for him.
"I will be on the top of the podium in 2022. I’ve waited a long time to hear my national anthem, so whether it’s this week or world short-course [championships], that is a promise."
This is the first time since 2006 that Chad Le Clos did not win the Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 200 butterfly when Moss Burmester won in Melbourne. It is Le Clos’s 18th career medal at the Commonwealth Games, tying him for most all-time.
Women’s 50m Freestyle
Australia’s Emma McKeon threw down an impressive 23.99 in leading an Australian sweep in the women’s 50 free final, as the Olympic champion led a podium sweep with teammates Meg Harris (24.32) and Shayna Jack (24.36). This is McKeon’s 11th career Commonwealth Games gold medal, the most for any Australian swimmer.
"It is special,” McKeon said. “It makes me reflect on the last eight years since my first Commonwealth Games and I can see how far I've come as a person and an athlete. I find it hard to be proud of myself at times so that's something I've struggled with along the way. It's nice to be here with these girls and to be racing on this team as well. I’ve got a great squad behind me who I train with on the Gold Coast and a great Aussie swim team so it's awesome that we all get behind each other."
McKeon’s time was just behind Sarah Sjostrom’s World Championships gold medal swim of 23.98 as the two are likely to do battle next year at the Fukuoka Worlds in Japan. McKeon did not swim at World Championships in Budapest but showed no signs of slowing down as this was her third time under 24 seconds in the one lap event.
"It is extra special, an Aussie one-two-three,” McKeon said. “That's how we like it. We want the green and gold on the podium."
The attention for McKeon turns now to Monday’s 50 fly final, where she is the top seed, as well as the 100 free, which gets underway tomorrow.
It was a fast final for the top three as Harris, who won bronze in Budapest, improved on her lifetime best to now sit 29th all-time.
Women’s 200m Breaststroke
South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker won South Africa’s second gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in women’s breaststroke, taking the four-lap event with a 2:21.92, proving too strong for the rest of the Commonwealth.
Schoenmaker had lined up alongside Australia’s Jenna Strauch, who won silver at last month’s World Championships where Schoenmaker did not attend, where it was expected to be a quick final. Schoenmaker ultimately fell short of her own world record, touching at 2:21.92 after being within a second of her own world record pace through 100 meters. The time for Schoenmaker was faster than Lilly King’s World Championships gold medal winning time of 2:22.41.
Strauch won the silver at 2:23.65 for her first Commonwealth Games medal.
South Africa had plenty to cheer about, with Kaylene Corbett winning the bronze medal at 2:23.67, as Schoenmaker leapt over the lane lines upon seeing the result to hug her teammate. Schoenmaker successfully defended her gold medal from 2018, while Corbett received her first major international medal, over swimming the likes of England’s Molly Renshaw (2:24.00) and Australia’s Abbey Harkin (2:24.07) on the last lap.
Women’s 100m Backstroke
Australia’s Kaylee McKeown won the much-anticipated race with Canada’s Kylie Masse in the 100 back final, as they were gold and silver at the Olympics and sit first and third on the all-time list. The world record was not challenged here, with racing taking priority over the clock. McKeown won the gold in a new Games record at 58.60 to Masse’s 58.73.
McKeown used a fantastic turn to pull away from Masse off the wall as she took down the defending champion. They got plenty of pressure from Wales’ Medi Harris (59.62), who won the nation’s first able-bodied medal in the swimming pool in Birmingham.
This is a promising swim for McKeown, who elected not to swim this event in Budapest last month in favour of the 200 IM. Her time here would not have won the World title, but it showed her racing strengths as she took down one of the best racers in the world in Masse.
McKeown and Masse will do battle again tomorrow in the 200 back as they were also first and second at the Olympics last year in that event as well.
Men’s 100m Breaststroke
It was a shocking turn of events as England’s headline swimmer and perhaps the best swimmer in its history, Adam Peaty, did not celebrate winning the gold medal in the 100 breaststroke in front of a home Birmingham crowd. Peaty, who had injured his foot earlier this year forced him out of the FINA World Championships, finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke final, his first defeat in a 100 breast final since 2014.
The English crowd did have something to cheer for though, as veteran James Wilby used a strong second 50 to win the gold medal at 59.25. England has now won five of the last six Commonwealth Games gold medals in the men’s 100 breaststroke as Wilby upgrades his silver from 2018 to gold in 2022.
"I knew what I had to do to execute a good race, to put me in a good position to challenge for a medal,” Wilby said. "I am overwhelmed and amazed at the result. We all know the results can be different at different times, and tonight, putting in the best race that I could has got me the top – and I am really proud of that."
"Absolutely a brilliant swim,” Peaty said of Wilby. “I’ve been racing him for a very long time, he is a championship racer. It’s an honour that it’s gone to another Englishman."
"I'm always chasing him,” Wilby said. “He's a phenomenal athlete; the fastest breaststroker in the world, and you can't take that away from him. But just at this moment, I was able to get a little edge on him. I'm sure he'll be kicking me in the arse later in the swimming calendar."
Peaty got off to his usual fast start, leading at the 50 at 27.43, but the effects of the injury showed, and he looked vulnerable on the back 50, where the likes of Wilby and 200 world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook took advantage. Both of them came home under 32 seconds, as Wilby surged to gold, Stubblety-Cook stormed to silver at 59.52, while Australia’s Sam Williamson (59.82) won the bronze.
“A medal is a medal but he will be ready in Paris [2024 Olympic Games],” Stubblety-Cook said of Peaty. “His world record is still three seconds faster than we just swam so it is no secret that he is still the best 100 guy in the field. But it just shows anyone can win it.”
Peaty finished in fourth at 59.86.
"Almost two seconds slower than I went in Tokyo, so obviously there’s a lot going wrong in terms of my foot, or recovery,” Peaty said. “To be honest, I’m not too bothered about it because it’s given me the hunger that I need at that moment. The sport’s been a bit dry for me lately - that’s why I took so long off - and obviously out of my control, I break my foot.
"It was just a bad race and it’s how we move on from here [that matters]. I think I have proved to the world that I’m a fighter. It doesn’t matter about the medals for me. It doesn’t matter if I’m second, third or fourth - it’s fighting and choosing to fight that matters. And that is what my character is."
Women’s 4x200m Freestyle
The Australians put on a clinic in the women’s 4x200 freestyle relay, becoming the first team ever under 7:40, erasing China’s world record from last year by a full second with a 7:39.29, topped off by Ariarne Titmus swimming the fastest relay split ever at 1:52.82. China’s record stood at 7:40.33.
Titmus, the world record holder in the 400 free, became the first to split under 1:53 in a relay as Federica Pellegrini split a 1:53.45 way back in 2009. Titmus was set up for a world record swim by teammates Madison Wilson (1:56.27), Kiah Melverton (1:55.40), and Mollie O’Callaghan (1:54.80), who brought the world record back to the land down under.
“The last couple of races I feel like I have not fulfilled my role. I was disappointed last year at the Olympics. I’m glad I could play my role for the team,” Titmus said. “It’s moments like this that we do it for."
The Australians now have the world record in both women’s freestyle relays as they were expected to challenge China’s record after the individual 200 free where Titmus swam a 1:53.89, followed by O’Callaghan who swam a personal best of 1:54.01. The Australians improved on their 7:43 from last month’s World Championships in Titmus’ absence, as O’Callaghan, Melverton and Wilson each split faster here than they did in Budapest.
Australia won ahead of silver medalist Canada (7:51.98), who were led by superstar Summer McIntosh (1:55.24) on the opening leg. Ella Jansen (1:57.83), Mary-Sophie Harvey (1:59.65), and Katerine Savard (1:59.26) followed her to secure the silver medal, while England’s team of Freya Colbert (1:57.85), Tamryn Van Selm (2:02.60), Abbie Wood (1:58.99), and Freya Anderson (1:57.67) won the bronze medal at 7:57.11.
Men’s 100m Freestyle - Kyle Chalmers in League of His Own
Australia’s Kyle Chalmers led the 100 free semi-finalists with a very impressive 47.36 as only David Popovici has swum faster in 2022. Chalmers did not race this at the World Championships, instead choosing to race the 100 butterfly, as the Olympic silver medalist looks to be the man to beat for Monday’s final.
England’s Tom Dean, the silver medalist in Birmingham in the 200 free, is seeded second at 47.83 ahead of Australia’s William Yang (48.38) and Canada’s Ruslan Gaziev (48.54). Worlds bronze medalist Joshua Liendo (48.69) of Canada, and 200 gold medalist Duncan Scott (48.78) of Scotland should also factor into the medal picture, but thus far nobody has had the perfect mix of speed and endurance that Chalmers has.
Men’s 50m Backstroke - Double For Coetze?
100 champ Pieter Coetze of South Africa progressed through to the final with the fastest semi final time of 24.81, just ahead of New Zealand’s Andrew Jeffcoat (24.82). The New Zealand swimmers are having a good meet thus far in Birmingham, where Jeffcoat could make it two gold medals for the team after Lewis Clareburt’s 400 IM on Saturday.
Australia’s Ben Armbruster (25.21) and Bradley Woodward (25.25) should leave the fight for the bronze medal. India’s Srihari Nataraj (25.38) could also land India’s first swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games as he is seeded eighth after the semi-finals.
Women’s 50m Butterfly - McKeon v. Mac Neil Round Two
Australia’s Emma McKeon will have her second head-to-head race with Canada’s Maggie Mac Neil in the 50 butterfly final after McKeon swam the fastest semi-final time at 26.02 with Mac Neil third at 26.19.
South Africa’s Erin Gallagher split the two Olympic champions on the results summary with a 26.17 for the second seed as it would be a massive upset if she is to win the one-lap event. Meanwhile, defending silver medalist Holly Barratt (26.28) is within striking distance of a medal at age 34.
Women’s 200m Backstroke - Kylie v. Kaylee Round Two
The gold and silver medalist from Tokyo, Kaylee McKeown of Australia and Kylie Masse of Canada will do battle once again in the 200 back final. After _______ took round one in the 100 back on Sunday, the two will square off in the longer distance, where they are clear favourites ahead of the rest of the field.
Women’s 200m IM - What Does Summer McIntosh Have?
We have seen tremendous swims from Summer McIntosh of Canada this summer, including the fastest 400 IM in six years on Friday evening in Birmingham. Now, McIntosh will try her hand in the 200 IM, an event she doesn’t have much of a history of thus far in her young international career. She will race alongside Worlds silver medalist Kaylee McKeown, as well as the English duo of Abbie Wood and Alicia Wilson, who both made the final in Tokyo last year.
Men’s 4x200m Freestyle - England v. Australia
Great Britain won the Olympic gold medal last year with the quartet of Tom Dean, James Guy, Matt Richards, and Duncan Scott but with the Commonwealth Games, Dean and Guy will represent England, Richards will race for Wales, and Scott for Scotland. The English team will still be a formidable bunch with the likes of Joe Litchfield and Cameron Kurle added to the mix.
But Australia might be the favorites here, led by bronze medalist Elijah Winnington and fourth place finisher Mack Horton. The Australians won the silver at Worlds last month ahead of the British team, but the Commonwealth Games bring a different energy, and it will certainly be a match race on Monday evening.
All times local
- 19:07 Men’s 100m freestyle final
- 19:13 Women’s 200m backstroke final
- 19:50 Men’s 50m breaststroke semi-finals
- 19:31 Women’s 100m freestyle semi-finals
- 19:57 Men’s 100m butterfly semi-finals
- 20:08 Women’s 200m IM final
- 20:16 Men’s 50m freestyle S7
- 20:22 Women’s 100m breaststroke SB6
- 20:37 Men’s 50m backstroke final
- 20:43 Women’s 50m butterfly final
- 21:04 Women’s 100m breaststroke semi-finals
- 21:16 Men’s 4x200m freestyle relay