Commonwealth Games: Australia Races to World Record in Women’s 800 Freestyle Relay; Titmus Throws Down 1:52

Australia 800 Free Relay

Commonwealth Games: Australia Races to World Record in Women’s 800 Freestyle Relay; Titmus Throws Down 1:52

The Sunday session of the Commonwealth Games ended with a bang as the Australian women surged to the world record in the 800 freestyle relay.

This was the kind of swim Australia was expecting in Tokyo last year. In the end, the Aussies finished third behind China and the U.S., with all three countries bettering the previous world record in the event.

This time, it was all Aussies, who kept the momentum from sweeping the 200 freestyle earlier in the meet.

Madison Wilson, Kiah Melverton, Mollie O’Callaghan and Ariarne Titmus touched the wall in 7:39.29 to claim the gold medal and break the world record of 7:40.33 set by China in the Tokyo Olympics last year by more than a second. The quartet knocked exactly two seconds off the Australian and Commonwealth records of 7:41.29 set by Titmus, Emma McKeon, Wilson and Leah Neale in that same Olympic final.

Canada’s Summer McIntosh, Ella Jansen, Mary-Sophie Harvey and Katerine Savard earned the silver medal in 7:51.98, while England’s Freya Colbert, Tamryn van Selm, Abbie Wood and Freya Anderson touched the wall in 7:57.11.

Australia was behind on the first leg as Canada’s McIntosh (1:55.24) darted into the lead, just ahead of Wilson (1:56.27). But a stellar second leg by Melverton (1:55.40), then an even faster swim from O’Callaghan (1:54.80) put the Aussies ahead and the world record in reach at the Commonwealth Games.

Titmus threw down a stunning 1:52.82 split to get to the wall more than a second ahead of the previous record as Australia became the first country to go sub-7:40 in women’s swimming history. Titmus’ split was the fastest ever recorded, crushing the previous best of 1:53.45 that Federica Pellegrini swam in 2009.

The Australians were two seconds ahead the 7:41.45 that the United States team swam at the World Championships to win gold and more four seconds ahead of the Aussies’ own silver-medal-winning swim from that race. Three of the four swimmers who swam in that Worlds final returned to this squad, but the addition of Titmus, the 200 free Olympic champion and the second-fastest swimmer ever in this event, provided an enormous boost while Wilson, Melverton and O’Callaghan all swam quicker than in Budapest.

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