Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) – Australia shattered the women’s 4×100 metres freestyle world record for their second gold medal on the opening night’s finals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
The team of Shayna Jack, Bronte Campbell, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell went 0.60 seconds under Australia’s previous world record set at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
They posted a blistering three minutes 30.05 seconds with Cate Campbell bringing home the world record with a flying final leg of 51.00secs.
“We weren’t expecting that at all tonight,” Bronte Campbell said.
“When we set that world record in Rio that was a really quick time, and we weren’t expecting to get near that tonight.
“I think there is something to be said for home crowd advantage.”
Australia beat home Canada and England for their second gold medal of the opening night after Olympic champion Mack Horton claimed the 400m freestyle final earlier in the programme.
Horton became Australia’s first 400 metres freestyle winner at the Commonwealth Games since the great Ian Thorpe with his victory.
Horton swam a perfectly judged race to reel in team-mate Jack McLoughlin and England’s James Guy to win gold in three minutes 43.76 seconds.
Horton tracked the leading duo in the first half of the race before making his charge in the final 150m.
Horton, who upset Chinese defending champion Sun Yang to snatch gold at Rio two years ago, joined five-time Olympic champion Thorpe, who was the last Australian man to win the 400m free in Manchester in 2002.
Fittingly, Thorpe presented Horton with his gold medal at the podium presentation.
“It’s really about swimming to win. It was a good race with James — he’s always out quick,” Horton said.
“I knew I had to mow him that last 200. I was still a bit soft and slow in that first 200.
“It’s good. Just swimming in front of the home crowd is unreal. I probably feel more emotion here than in Rio (2016 Olympic Games) because the whole crowd is cheering for you.
“That didn’t happen so much in Rio. Ten thousand people cheering for you is pretty unreal.”
It was Horton’s third career Commonwealth Games medal after winning 4x200m freestyle gold and 1,500m freestyle silver in Glasgow in 2014.
– ‘Second every time’ –
England also claimed two gold medals on the opening night with Aimee Wilmott denying Hannah Miley’s bid for a Scottish record three consecutive 400m individual medley gold medals and James Wilby dethroning Scottish defending champion Ross Murdoch in the 200m breaststroke.
Wilmott, beaten by Miley in the 2014 Glasgow final, fought back tenaciously in the final freestyle leg to pip the Scot by 0.26secs with Australia’s Blair Evans third.
“I’ve been second almost every single time,” Wilmott said.
“I’ve raced against Hannah in every meet and I’ve been second every time. I knew that this time it could have been me if I just swam the race a little bit better.”
Miley was 0.03secs ahead heading into the final leg but Wilmott finished strongly for the gold medal.
Miley, 28, was bidding to become the first Scot to claim three consecutive golds in the same event at the Commonwealth Games after winning gold at Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.
Wilby came with a late rush to tip out Murdoch in the 200m breaststroke final by 0.27secs in 2:08.05 with Australian Matt Wilson third.
Canada’s Taylor Ruck upset the fancied Australians Ariarne Titmus and defending champion Emma McKeon to win the 200m freestyle gold.
Ruck set a new Games record of 1:54.81 to deny the fast-closing Titmus by just four-hundredths of a second in a desperate finish, with McKeon taking bronze.