Halsall and Peaty win gold in Glasgow
Fran Halsall and Adam Peaty won gold as England secured five medals in the pool on day three of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Halsall claimed her ninth Commonwealth Games medal with a brilliant performance in the 50m Freestyle. The Loughborough athlete swam the fastest time in the world this year to touch in a Commonwealth record 23.96 ahead of Australian world silver medallist Cate Campbell (24.00).
The 24-year old then went on to set a Commonwealth record in the 50m Butterfly semi-final, clocking 25.36 to go through in lane four.
Halsall said: “It’s been an amazing evening and one that will stay with me for a very long time. To take two best times of the evening, I can’t ask much more than that.
“Going into the 50m Free I did feel nervous because I knew I was swimming well and wanted to make sure I could do it in the pool. I had my race plan but I was against some amazingly talented girls. For the last 5m I didn’t know if I was winning, but I knew I had to get my hand on the wall so went for it.
“There hasn’t been a final that fast for a very long time and shows that the Commonwealth is very strong in my event.”
In the 100m Breaststroke Peaty ducked under 59 seconds for the first time to set a 58.94 British record and win the title.
The 19-year old was one second down on the turn but came back to beat reigning Olympic champion and world record holder Cameron van der Burgh.
Peaty said: “I can't believe it. It's a dream. I've studied Cameron for a while, he was my idol and now my rival so I know he goes off quick but I caught him.
“I gave my country my best and it paid off. The support carried me down that last 25 metres and my teammates and the training has all come together.
“This is a major stepping stone for me but it’s just the start. I think there are still plenty of things to work on through training but there’s more to come racing wise. Breaststroke is so strong in Britain at the moment, you can’t put your feet up but I think that competition is a good thing.”
Tom Hamer broke the British record in the S14 200m Freestyle to win silver in 2:00.27.
Hamer, who is competing at the IPC European Swimming Championships next month, said: “That feels fantastic. I couldn’t really see how close I was, but on the last leg I could see I was second. I pushed myself and I’m really happy with the result. I’m going to show the medal to everyone.
“Between now and the European Championships I’m going to be working on getting a bit more speed and hoping for another medal.”
Molly Renshaw swam a great final 50m in the 200m Breaststroke to win her first Commonwealth Games medal. The 18-year old touched in 2:25.00 to secure bronze.
Renshaw said: It was a really good swim and the atmosphere was amazing. I would have liked to have gone a bit faster and got nearer my PB but I can’t complain coming away with a medal at my first Commonwealth Games.”
In the 100m Backstroke Lauren Quigley and Lizzie Simmonds finished fourth and fifth respectively. Quigley touched just outside her PB in 1:00.19 while Simmonds clocked 1:00.26. While in the 200m butterfly Roberto Pavoni finished seventh.
In the final event of the evening the women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay team of Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (1:57.19), Amelia Maughan (1:59.53), Eleanor Faulkner (1:58.08) and Rebecca Turner (1:57.65) secured bronze in an English record 7:52.45.
After a great first leg that saw O’Connor take on Australian Emma McKeon in a re-run of Thursday’s 200m Freestyle, the team kept pace with the top two teams, touching less than a second behind Canada in 7:51.67 for third. Australia won gold in 7:49.90.
Faulkner said: “Bath took us out there and Sheffield brought it home. I’m proud to be part of that team and to have got a bronze medal out of it.”
In the semi-final events Chris Walker-Hebborn and defending champion Liam Tancock both made it through to tomorrow’s 50m Backstroke final.
Walker-Hebborn posted a 24.92 PB to go through in second while Tancock swam a season’s best 25.21 for fifth.
Tancock said: “It’s now about getting in there tomorrow night and performing. The guys have shown what they are made of and it’s all very close so it should be quite an exciting race.
“I’m confident of going out there and racing fast tomorrow. I swim because I love it, so I’m going to go out there and enjoy being out in front of that home crowd.”
Adam Brown and James Disney-May also booked their places in the 100m Freestyle finals, going through in fifth (49.47) and eighth (50.01) respectively. Ben Proud, who secured England’s first gold medal in the pool yesterday, finished just outside in ninth (50.06).
In the 50m Butterfly Loughborough teammates Amy Smith and Rachael Kelly will join Halsall in tomorrow’s final after clocking 26.43 and 26.68 respectively.