Australia as it proved its dominance in the swimming competitions of the Commonwealth Games had yet another field day as it garnered four of the seven gold medals which were up for grabs at the Dr. S.P. Mukherjee pool on Saturday.
The end of the six-day event also turned out to be profitable for Brent Hayden (Canada) who with a splendid showing emerged as the fastest male swimmer of the meet.
Canada also picked up another medal, to make up for the disappointment it had suffered on Friday as it had finished without any medal of the golden hue from among the 11 titles decided.
Picking up the cue from Hayden, who had swum the first sub-48s in the men's 100m freestyle two days earlier, Ryan Cochrane helped himself to the gold medal in the 1500m freestyle, though it should be admitted that the field did lack the expected class due to the withdrawal of Australia's Robert Hurley, who had flown back home earlier this week after being laid low by a stomach bug.
Hannah Miley (Scotland) virtually had her small band of supporters jumping up and down as she, predictably, won the 400m individual medley gold by staving off a late rally from Aussie Samantha Hamill.
The European champion and the season's leading performer in this event, the Scottish swimmer was a bit down until the race entered its third stage, the breaststroke leg.
Until then, the lead had changed between three swimmers, with Miley lying in the fourth position. However, once into the breaststroke leg, the Scot proved her prowess by jumping into the lead for the first time and then stayed put at the top as she raced back to the post, but not before holding on to the huge lead was cut short by Hamill towards the end. Miley returned in 4:38.83, a new Games record effort that put to shade Stephanie Rice's Melbourne mark of 4:41.91.
Jessicah Schipper, who had missed the chance to defend her 100m butterfly title having failed to make the cut for the Aussie team earlier this year, however, retained her 200m title as she pushed back Canada's Audrey Lacriox and England's Ellen Gandy to the second and third spots. It was a well-judged race as Schipper reserved her energy for the final push before returning at 2:07.04.
Fellow Aussie Brenton Rickard, the world champion in 200m breaststroke, too did salvage some of his lost pride as he made up for his losses in the 50m and 100m by driving home to an easy win in his pet event, erasing in the process Mike Brown's Games record by quite a margin.
Hayden was simply unstoppable in the 50m free. Blessed with a great start, he just flashed through the water providing little chance for his rivals to catch up. Defending champion Roland Schoeman was the only who closed up the gap as the Canadian raced to a tremendous recording-breaking win, at 22.01s.
Australia, however, struck back through its quartet of Ashley Delaney, Rickard, Geoff Huegill and Eamon Sullivan posted a superb win in the 400m medley relay, posting a new Games record.
The Aussie women team was hardly challenged in the same relay, a win which provided Leisel Jones a career haul of 10 gold medals over three Games and Alicia Coutts, the golden girl of the meet, her fifth. India did feature in both these relays but like on previous occasions was hardly able to make any impact.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games