x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

A breaststroke double for sprint ace van der Burgh

Cameron van der Burgh completes the 50-100m breaststroke double and Australia win four more gold medals in the pool.

Australia’s Leisel Jones winning 100m breastroke.
Australia’s Leisel Jones winning 100m breastroke.

NEW DELHI // Cameron van der Burgh completed the 50m and 100m breaststroke double and Australia won four more gold medals to bring their total to 15 in the pool which featured two dead-heats for silver medals. 

The South African finished the 100m breaststroke in 27.18secs. Glenn Snyders, of New Zealand, and Brenton Rickard each finished in 27.67secs to share silver medals.

"I wasn't expecting to go that fast, but I'm stoked with the time," van der Burgh said. "I felt really good this morning and felt I was in the best condition for tonight's race." It was South Africa's sixth gold medal of the meeting, their best Commonwealth Games haul. Yolane Kukla, of Australia, won the women's 50m freestyle in a time of 24.86 secs, ahead of England's Fran Halsall and Hayley Palmer, of New Zealand.

Geoff Huegill, the comeback king, and Leisel Jones, the veteran, led the way as Australia increased their meeting-leading total to 15. Huegill, completing his return from a four-year retirement and the loss of 50kgs that he packed on while not swimming, won the 100m butterfly. Jones won the 100m breaststroke by two seconds to become the first swimmer in Commonwealth Games history to win two events at three Games in a row.

She won both the 100m and 200m breaststroke at Manchester in 2002, Melbourne in 2006 and the 200 breaststroke earlier in New Delhi. It was Jones's ninth Games medal. Today, she will try to win her 10th, which would equal the games record for most golds by an individual which is jointly held by Australian swimming greats Susan O'Neill and Ian Thorpe. Jones said she was not all that pleased with her time: "I would have liked to go faster, but a gold medal is a gold medal."

In the evening's first race, Huegill won the 100m butterfly in 52.50. Ryan Pini of Papua New Guinea and Antony James of England dead-heated for silver. There was no bronze medal in the race in which two swimmers also dead-heated for fourth - Australia's Christian Sprenger and Jason Dunford, of Kenya. "Words can't describe how I feel, I've finally put together the perfect race," Huegill said. "The last time I swam that quickly was 10 years ago. It just goes to show that there is still hope for all the old [athletes] out there."

Pini was pleased with second. "There was a lot of pressure at the start of the race," he said. "The 50-metre is my strongest event, so whatever happened here was a novelty." In one of the most exciting races of the meeting, which ends today, Australian Meagen Nay overtook England's Elizabeth Simmons, who had led nearly all of the race, in the final metre to win gold in the 200m backstroke. Nay finished in 2mins 7.56secs and Simmonds in 2mins 7.90secs, while Australian Emily Seebohm took bronze.

England's Liam Tancock and Rebecca Adlington broke the Australian dominance. 

Tancock won the 100m backstroke in 53.59 secs, followed by New Zealand's Daniel Bell and Australia's Ashley Delaney. Adlington, the Olympic champion in the 400m and 800m freestyle, added the 400m to her earlier win in the longer distance, leading from start to finish.