Commonwealth Games: Emma McKeon Anchors Australian Mixed Medley Relay to Gold; Record-Setting 19 Commonwealth Medals

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Kaylee McKeown congratulates Emma McKeon after Australia's win in the mixed 400 medley relay -- Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

Commonwealth Games: Emma McKeon Anchors Australian Mixed Medley Relay to Gold; Record-Setting 19 Commonwealth Medals

Through five days of competition at the Commonwealth Games, Australia has flexed its swimming brilliance for the entire world to witness. The majority of individual gold medals have gone the way of the Aussies, and the first five relay titles were all comfortable wins for the squad from Down Under. Now, make it six relay wins for the Green and Gold after the quartet of Kaylee McKeown, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Matthew Temple and Emma McKeon combined to take first in the mixed 400 medley relay by more than two-and-a-half seconds.

McKeown opened up with a 59.01 split, well off her individual 100 back winning time of 58.60 and her world record of 57.45, but she was a tenth ahead of Canadian rival Kylie Masse. On the breaststroke leg, Stubblety-Cook split 59.52 to move Australia into second place, trailing only a Scottish squad that led off with two male swimmers. Temple’s fly split was 50.89, the quickest in the field, to move Australia into a slight lead heading into the freestyle leg, and McKeon closed the door with a sizzling 51.88 split.

That brought Australia into the wall at 3:41.30, quicker than the 3:41.34 that the Aussie group at the World Championships clocked to win a silver medal behind the United States. This was nearly the same group but McKeon subbed in for Shayna Jack on the freestyle leg after the 28-year-old veteran skipped the World Championships. The medal was McKeon’s seventh of the Commonwealth Games and her fifth gold medal, giving her 19 total Commonwealth Games medals for her career. That broke a tie with South Africa’s Chad le Clos for the most medals all-time at the Commonwealth Games. McKeon previously tied the record with her 100 free bronze earlier in the session.

Meanwhile, the Australian team won its 22nd gold medal of the meet, more than half of the 43 total gold medals awarded, and the Aussies have earned 55 medals overall in Birmingham.

The race for silver came down to the wire between Canada, England and South Africa. Canada’s Maggie Mac Neil split 56.50 on fly to give Ruslan Gaziev a chance on the anchor leg, and Gaziev came home in 47.80 to finish five hundredths ahead of England’s Freya Anderson. The team of Masse, James Dergousoff, Mac Neil and Gaziev combined for a time of 3:43.98. Canada was able to secure this medal without utilizing their top male swimmer, Josh Liendo, who had already posted big swims during the session with a gold medal in the 100 fly, Canada’s first men’s gold of the meet, and qualifying second-fastest for the 50 free final.

England’s Lauren CoxJames WilbyJames Guy and Anderson finished in 3:44.03, with Wilby posting the only sub-59 breaststroke split in the field.

South Africa’s Pieter Coetzee, the champion in the men’s 100 back earlier in the meet, got his nation out to a lead with a 53.42, and 100 breast winner Lara van Niekerk, the only female breaststroker in the heat, and le Clos (butterfly) each posted strong splits, but anchor swimmer Aimee Canny could not hold off hard-charging anchors from Canada and England.

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