Australia Breaks Women’s 400 Free Relay World Record at Commonwealth Games

GLASGOW, Scotland, July 24. ALTHOUGH Scotland had been earning the bulk of the top headlines throughout the night with big wins from Hannah Miley and Ross Murdoch, the Aussie women’s 400-meter freestyle relay capped the night with an amazing world record. It was an amazing night at the Commonwealth Games, and kicks off what should be an incredible regional international championship season in the next few weeks.

Women’s 400 IM
Scotland’s Hannah Miley proved to be a closer to get a huge ovation from the hometown crowd as Miley finished off the distance medley with a 4:31.76 for the win. That swim put her second in the world behind Ye Shiwen’s 4:30.84 this year as Miley demolished the meet record in the process.

England’s Aimee Willmott had been in the early lead throughout most of the race, actually being a full two seconds under world record pace after breaststroke with a 3:27.69. But, she had no chance to hold off Ye Shiwen’s world-record freestyle closing split, or Miley’s closer tonight as she settled for silver with a time of 4:33.01. That time edged her previous best of this year of 4:33.64 from the Flanders Cup to move her to fourth in the world.

Australia’s Keryn McMaster rounded out the podium with a close battle against Canada’s Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson, 4:36.35 to 4:36.88. Both times are among the top 10 in the world.

Canada’s Emily Overholt (4:37.89), Canada’s Marni Oldershaw (4:46.26), Australia’s Jessica Pengelly (4:47.00) and England’s Danielle Lowe (4:48.95) also competed in the finale.

Men’s 400 free
Canada’s Ryan Cochrane paced himself throughout the middle distance freestyle to overtake Australia’s David McKeon down the stretch. Cochrane defended his title with a 3:43.46 to ascend to the top of the world rankings in the event. His performance cleared McKeon’s 3:43.72 from the Australian National Championships as the top swim in the world. Cochrane also became the first Canadian to break 3:44 in the event, dusting his previous national record of 3:44.85 from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

McKeon had been out under world record pace through the 300-meter mark with a 2:46.66, but he couldn’t hold on as he settled for silver with a time of 3:44.09. England’s James Guy snared third overall in 3:44.58 to jump to fifth in the world rankings.

Australia’s Mack Horton (3:44.91), Scotland’s Dan Wallace (3:46.11), Australia’s Jordan Harrison (3:48.09), Scotland’s Robbie Renwick (3:48.81) and Scotland’s Stephen Milne (3:49.90) also battled it out in the championship finale. Wallace scored a Scottish record in the race, beating out Renwick’s 3:46.73.

Women’s 200 free
Australia’s Emma McKeon had just enough in the tank to hold off a game Siobhan O’Connor of England in what proved to be an exciting finale. McKeon topped the finale in 1:55.57 to set the meet record, and to clear her previous Australian record of 1:55.68 set at the Australian Nationals in April. That time had ranked McKeon second in the world behind Sarah Sjostrom’s 1:55.04, and she inched a bit closer to that top mark.

O’Connor, meanwhile, snared the silver with a time of 1:55.82. That’s just off Joanne Jackson’s English record of 1:55.54 from the Rome World Championships in 2009, and pushed O’Connor to fifth in the world rankings. She had ranked 10th with a 1:56.58 from prelims. Australia’s Bronte Barrett closed out the podium with a third-place time of 1:56.62, just off her season best of 1:56.61 from Nationals.

New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle (1:57.00), Canada’s Brittany MacLean (1:57.20), Wales’ Jaz Carlin (1:57.26), Canada’s Samantha Cheverton (1:57.79) and South Africa’s Karin Prinsloo (1:58.95) also competed in the finale.

Men’s 100 free S9
Australia’s Rowan Crothers broke the Paralympic world record in the S9 division with a winning effort of 54.58. That time beat his previous world record of 54.95 set in Brisbane in April. The 16-year-old has a chance to take this record to some scary new heights. Australia’s Matthew Cowdrey (56.33) and Brenden Hall (56.85) went 2-3 in the finale. India’s Prasanta Karmakar (1:04.73) and Maritius’ Scody Victor (1:18.89) also swam in the finale.

Men’s 200 breast
After Christian Sprenger went out in 1:01.71 to lead the pack from out in lane 8, the rest of the field started to reel him in by the 150-meter mark as Scotland raced to 1-2 in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke.

Ross Murdoch upset Olympic silver medalist teammate Michael Jamieson, 2:07.30 to 2:08.40, to win the finale and clip Sprenger’s Commonwealth record of 2:07.31 from the 2009 World Championships. Murdoch and Jamieson are now the only swimmers to break 2:08 this year with Murdoch moving ahead of Jamieson’s season best of 2:07.79 from the British National Championships. England’s Andrew Willis managed to take the bronze in 2:09.87.

Sprenger, meanwhile, faded badly down the stretch to finish eighth overall in 2:12.69. England’s Adam Peaty (2:10.02), Scotland’s Calum Tait (2:10.21), England’s James Wilby (2:11.53) and Wales’ Rob Holderness (2:12.35) also put up swims in the finale.

Women’s 400 free relay
The Australia squad of Bronte Campbell, Melanie Schlanger, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell blasted the world record with a 3:30.98 in the final. That beat the 3:31.72 set by The Netherlands at the 2009 World Championships in Rome under Australia’s current head coach Jacco Verhaeren. Notably, the time tonight also crushed the textile best of 3:32.31 set by Team USA at the 2013 World Championships last summer.

Comparative splits:
Bronte Campbell: 53.15
Melanie Schlanger: 52.76
Emma McKeon: 52.91
Cate Campbell: 52.16

The Netherlands:
Inge Dekker: 53.61
Ranomi Kromowidjojo: 52.30
Femke Heemskerk: 53.03
Marleen Veldhuis: 52.78

When the Aussies were able to put together a 3:34.57 this morning with three B teamers (Alicia Coutts, Brittany Elmslie, Madeline Groves) on the relay, calls of a world record began to ring out throughout the day. The Aussies shoved all that talk aside and focused on a historic swim. As seen above, not only did the squad smash the textile best, it also threw the techsuit-fueled global record for a loop with some seriously fast splits.

Aside from Bronte Campbell’s leadoff, which put the Aussies ahead by half-a-second, the rest of the squad each cleared 53 seconds before Cate Campbell showed by she’s one of the most dangerous sprinters in the world with a 52.16. There’s a chance we could see a 51-second anchor at Pan Pacs. That’s just scary to think about.

Meanwhile, England (3:35.72) and Canada (3:40.00) took second and third in the finale. New Zealand (3:43.83), Scotland (3:44.56), Wales (3:45.40), Singapore (3:49.69) and Ireland (3:52.88) also swam in the historic finale.

Women’s 50 breast
She’s always been lurking towards the top of the world in the sprint breaststroke events, but Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson definitely served notice in semis tonight with a sizzling 30.17 tonight. That swim crushed her national record of 30.49 from prelims that had also set the meet mark. She’s now second in the world behind only Ruta Meilutyte (29.90) and jumped to an eighth-ranked tie with Valentina Artemyeva for all time in the event’s history.

Australia’s Leiston Pickett won the first semifinal with a time of 30.64, moving into a fifth-ranked tie in the world rankings this year. Canada’s Tera van Beilen claimed third in 30.74.

Scotland’s Corrie Scott (30.79), England’s Sophie Taylor (30.86), Scotland’s Kathryn Johnstone (31.12), Australia’s Lorna Tonks (31.44) and Scotland’s Andrea Strachan (31.52) also made their way into the championship finale.

Men’s 50 fly
Britain’s Ben Proud cleared his preliminary swim by a slim margin with a 23.16 for the top seed in the sprint fly event. This morning, he moved to fourth in the world by tying Andrey Govorov with a 23.17. He’s now in sole possession with that 23.16 as he is behind only Cesar Cielo (23.01), Roland Schoeman (23.07) and Yauheni Tsurkin (23.11).

Schoeman, meanwhile, won the first semifinal with a time of 23.25 for the second seed, while another high-profile entrant in Chad le Clos earned the third seed in 23.29. Le Clos, in what can only be called an off event, now stands 11th in the world.

England’s Adam Barrett (23.41), Singapore’s Joseph Schooling (23.48), Australia’s Jayden Hadler (23.67), Australia’s Christopher Wright (23.78) and Cayman Islands’ Brett Fraser (23.96) all cleared 24 seconds to make the finale. 2010 champion Jason Dunford of Kenya, just missed out with a 24.03.

Women’s 100 fly
After taking silver in the women’s 200-meter freestyle, England’s Siobhan O’Connor blasted her way to the top seed in the 100 fly finale with a time of 57.57. That performance moved her up to seventh in the world rankings, bettering the 58.24 she clocked this morning in prelims.

Just one other swimmer cleared 58 seconds in the semifinal as Canada’s Katerine Savard charged to a semifinal 1 win in 57.83 for the second seed. She’s the favorite heading into the finale with a third-ranked season best of 57.27 from the Canadian Nationals.

Australia’s Alicia Coutts (58.07) and Emma McKeon (58.40) finished third and fourth. That sets up a second straight McKeon-O’Connor finale battle after the two went head-to-head in the 200 free with McKeon winning tonight.

Wales’ Jemma Lowe (58.47), Australia’s Ellen Gandy (58.48), Canada’s Audrey Lacrois (58.69) and England’s Rachael Kelly (59.02) also earned transfer spots into the finale. Gandy is in her first Commonwealth Games meet representing Australia after previously swimming under the GBR banner internationally.

Men’s 100 back
Australia’s Mitchell Larkin used a strong turn to earn the top seed of the night with a time of 53.33. That swim cleared his fifth-ranked season best of 53.46 from the Australian Nationals, but could not clear Chris Walker-Hebborn’s fourth-ranked best of 53.30 from this morning.

England’s Liam Tancock, always in the mix in the backstroke, raced to second in 53.49 to now stand sixth in the world rankings. Walker-Hebborn managed to qualify third in 53.57. The top three all came from semifinal two as Australia’s Josh Beaver won the first semi with a fourth-seeded 53.74.

New Zealand’s Corey Main (54.28), Scotland’s Craig McNally (54.40), Canada’s Russell Wood (54.45) and Australia’s Ben Treffers (54.60) also snagged spots in the championship heat.

When available, full results will be here:

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