MANCHESTER, England, August 1. SURPRISE!! The Commonwealth Games are not an Australian intrasquad meet after all.
On Day Three of the Games, the host Brits showed their mettle, winning four events to the Aussies' four. Australia also won gold in the men's multi-disability 50m free.
For England, August 1 marked their greatest day in international swimming history, as they won three individual races and a relay to take their total of golds to six after the first three days of competition.
"I think we've given the Aussies a scare," England's James Goddard said after winning the men's 200 meter backstroke final in 1:59.83.
"You can see all the flags on the side, your teammates and everyone cheering," said Georgina Lee, a student at SMU and a member of the English 4×200 relay team that won gold. "This is a whole team effort and was won by everybody."
The Australians definitely took notice of the host nation's haul on Thursday. "We sort of knew they were on the way up," said Australian Geoff Huegill, winner of the 50 butterfly title.
"British swimming fell into a bit of a hole for a while, but they're definitely getting better now."
After the British failed to win a medal at Sydney, they hired Australia's Bill Sweetenham as national performance director. The results have been dramatic, as the Brits won an event at the 2001 World Champs and brought home seven medals in all.
England's total of six golds from the first three days in Manchester is one better than their entire total at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. "What a night for England," said Stephen Parry, who won a bronze in the men's 4×200 relay behind an Australian team anchored by Ian Thorpe and a surprising Canadian squad.
"I was in tears before we even went out there, and I just hope that with this fantastic crowd, we manage to keep things going."
England's fantastic night began when Goddard won the 200 backstroke after the gold medal favorite, Australian Matt Welsh, was disqualified for a false start in his morning heat. Welsh protested but the appeal was rejected despite his insistence that the video evidence proved his innocence, suddenly throwing the race wide open.
"I'm glad I could contribute to England's medals," Goddard said. "I think everyone had a chance of gold after Welsh was disqualified."
Sarah Price made it two for England with a national record/Commonwealth Games record 1:01.06 victory in the women's 100 backstroke. Then Adam Whitehead gave the host-nation their third when he won the men's 100 breaststroke in another national record/CG record, 1:01.13, as the English went 1-3-4, with only Canada's Morgan Knabe, the silver medalist, spoiling the party.
The biggest surprise came when the English squad of Karen Legg, Lee, Joanna Fargus and Karen Pickering nipped the Australians in a thrilling finish of the women's 4×200 freestyle relay, 8:01.39 to 8:01.91.
For their part, the Aussies did not exactly lay down and die. Lethal Leisel Jones went a Games record 2:25.93 to win the women's 200 breast, as the Sheilas from Down under went 1-3-4. South Africa's Sarah Poewe was second.
World champion/world record-holder Geoff Huegill just managed to overtake South Africa's Roland Schoeman, a University of Arizona grad, on the final few strokes to eke out a win iN THE 50 FLY, 23.57 to 23.66.
Jodie Henry won her first international title, roaring from behind (she was sixth at the turn) to win the women's 100m free in 55.45. Once again, a South African was second — this time it was Helene Muller, a University of Nebraska grad, who took home the silver in 55.60.
Ian Thorpe won his fourth gold of the Games when he teamed with Grant Hackett, Leon Dunne and Jason Cram to take the men's 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay in a Games record 7:11.69. Canada set a national mark in finishing second in 7:17.17.
Thorpe set himself up nicely to win his fifth gold when he topped all qualifiers in the semifinals of the men's 100m free, touching in 49.31. England's Matt Kidd set a national record of 49.72 in qualifying second.
Ben Austin earned Australia's fifth gold of the night when he took the men's multi-disability 50 meter freestyle.
Manchester Aquatics Centre
DAY THREE: August 31, 2002
Men's 200 meter backstroke
1. James Goddard (ENG) 1:59.83
2. Gregor Tait (SCO) 2:00.55
3. Simon Militis (ENG) 2:01.04
4. Leigh McBean (AUS) 2:01.22
5. Ethan Rolff (AUS) 2:01.65
6. Cameron Gibson (NZL) 2:02.00
7. Carlos Otavio A J Sayao (CAN) 2:03.05
8. Keith Ryan Beavers (CAN) 2:03.29
Women's 200 meter breaststroke
1. Leisel Jones (AUS) 2:25.93
2. Sarah Poewe (RSA) 2:27.47
3. Kelli Waite (AUS) 2:28.58
4. Brooke Hanson (AUS) 2:29.55
5. Heidi Earp (ENG) 2:30.45
6. Rhiannon Leier (CAN) 2:31.33
7. Jaime King (ENG) 2:31.58
8. Christin Petelski (CAN) 2:33.09
Men's 50 meter butterfly
1. Geoff Huegill (AUS) 23.57
2. Roland Schoeman (RSA) 23.66
3. Mark Foster (ENG) 24.11
4. Mike Mintenko (CAN) 24.15
5. Brett Hawke (AUS) 24.21
6. Adam Pine (AUS) 24.22
7. Jonathan Winter (NZL) 24.58
8. Cameron Black (SCO) 24.82
Women's 100 meter backstroke
1. Sarah Price (ENG) 1:01.06 CGR, n
2. Dyana Calub (AUS) 1:01.86
3. Giaan Rooney (AUS) 1:02.22
4. Charlene Wittstock (RSA) 1:02.42 n
5. Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) 1:02.54 n
6. Hannah McLean (NZL) 1:02.94 n
7. Clementine Stoney (AUS) 1:03.30
8. Erin Gammel (CAN) 1:03.37
Men's 100 meter breaststroke
1. Adam Whitehead (ENG) 1:01.13 CGR, n
2. Morgan Knabe (CAN) 1:01.23
3. James Gibson (ENG) 1:01.64
4. Darren Mew (ENG) 1:01.87
5. Brett Petersen (RSA) 1:02.14
6. Michael Brown (CAN) 1:02.58
7. Jim Piper (AUS) 1:02.68
8. Terence Parkin (RSA) 1:02.74
Women's 100 meter freestyle
1. Jodie Henry (AUS) 55.45
2. Helene Muller (RSA) 55.60
3. Karen Legg (ENG) 55.86
4. karen Pickering (ENG) 55.95
5. Petria Thomas (AUS) 55.99
6. Alison Sheppard (SCO) 56.05
7. Melanie marshall (ENG) 56.19
8. Sarah Ryan (AUS) 56.20
Women's 4×200 meter freestyle relay
1. England 8:01.39 CGR
(Karen Legg, Georgie Lee,
Jo Fargus, Karen Pickering)
2. Australia 8:01.91
(Elka Graham, Giaan Rooney,
Rebecca Creedy, Petria Thomas)
3. Canada 8:04.66
(Jessica Deglau, Marianne Limpert,
Jennifer Button, Sophie Simard)
4. Wales 8:25.23
Men's 4×200 meter freestyle relay
1. Australia 7:11.69 CGR
(Grant Hackett, Leon Dunne,
Jason Cram, Ian Thorpe)
2. Canada 7:17.17 n
(Rick Say, Brian Johns,
Mark Johnston, Mike Mintenko)
3. England 7:22.56
(Adam Faulkner, Jamie Salter,
Steve Parry, Simon Burnett)
4. Barbados 8:02.02
5. Kenya 8:44.71
Men's multi-disability 50 meter freestyle
time target result
1. Ben Austin (AUS) 27.59 27.93 -0.34
2. Philippe Gagnon (CAN) 25.04 25.04 0.00
3. Benoit Huot (CAN) 25.07 25.04 +0.03
4. Darren Leach (ENG) 25.91 25.79 +0.12
5. David Roberts (WAL) 28.71 28.58 +0.13
6. Alex Harris (AUS) 29.00 28.58 +0.42
7. Ebert P. Kleynhans (RSA) 26.55 25.79 +0.76
8. Matt Walker (ENG) 29.55 28.58 +0.97