Mollie O’Callaghan shocked Emma McKeon and Shayna Jack to clinch gold in the women’s 100m freestyle, as Ariarne Titmus set an 800m freestyle Commonwealth Games record and Cody Simpson finished fifth in the men’s 100m butterfly final.
Australia raked in more gold medals in Birmingham on day five, when Australian pole vaulter Nina Kennedy kicked off the athletics with a comfortable win, Kate McDonald upset gymnastics golden girl Georgia Godwin and the men’s wheelchair basketball team stood atop the podium. The men’s 3×3 basketballer team suffered an agonising final loss to England.
Australia’s swimming domination continued on the penultimate day of competition in the pool, with O’Callaghan fighting back from fourth at the turn to lead a clean sweep ahead of Jack in silver and McKeon in bronze.
“I’m really happy, and I’m happy to do it with these amazing girls, especially Emma,” O’Callaghan told the Seven Network. “She is an absolute idol, so it is really nice to race alongside her this time. And especially Shayna Jack too, coming back from stuff, so I’m very happy.”
Titmus was the other headline act, touching for her sixth Commonwealth Games gold medal in eight minutes and 13.59 seconds – a Games record that was quicker than the time which earned her Tokyo Olympics silver behind American Katie Ledecky. Kiah Melverton and Lani Pallister took home silver and bronze to complete yet another Australian clean sweep.
Kaylee McKeown, Zac Stubblety-Cook, McKeon and Matthew Temple claimed gold in the mixed 4x100m medley relay to extend their unbeaten relay run.
The win was McKeon’s 13th career Commonwealth Games gold and her 19th overall medal – meaning she surpasses the previous record of 18 held by South Africa’s Chad le Clos.
But not before another 18-year-old reigned in the women’s 200m butterfly as Elizabeth Dekkers held off England’s Laura Stephens to stand atop the podium at her first Commonwealth Games. Brianna Throssell bagged bronze.
And Temple finished equal second in the men’s 100m butterfly final, a race in which Simpson placed fifth to cap the swimmer turned pop star turned swimmer’s return to the pool. The 25-year-old will now set his sights on attempting to qualify for the Paris Olympics.
“I think with experience comes confidence,” Simpson told the Seven Network. “I’m still gathering the experience, so still gaining confidence. I am happy to be here. And I think, win or lose today, I’m going to go back to the drawing board and make sure I come back stronger. I’m already way ahead of where I thought I would be at this stage.
“Especially now, people are swimming later into their 20s, it leaves so much room to be able to come into it later if you want to, and I want to inspire young people to know that they can do whatever it is they want to do.”
Col Pearse won the first men’s 100m butterfly S10 final ahead of compatriot Alex Anthony Saffy.
The athletics got under way with Kennedy in full flight, easing to women’s pole vault gold a fortnight after securing bronze at the world championships in Eugene, meaning an Australian has left with gold in the event in six of the past seven Games.
“Just from Tokyo, this time last year I was at the bottom of my whole career, so to come third in the whole world and first in the Commonwealth is incredible,” said Kennedy, who did not make it past qualifying at Tokyo 2020.
“I am so proud of myself. I was mentally quite flat after the world championships. I’d done such a great job and then to come here and repeat such a big effort was hard.”
Sprinter Jaydon Page picked up silver in the men’s T45-47 100m behind England’s Emmanuel Temitayo Oyinbo-Coker.
It came on a day when another sprinter, Rohan Browning, rediscovered form at just the right moment, clocking 10.10 seconds to win his 100m heat and progress to the semi-finals alongside national champion Jake Doran (10.39).
Meanwhile, weightlifter Eileen Cikamatana set Games records en route to her first gold in the women’s 87kg class, snatching 110kg and lifting 145kg in the clean and jerk.
In the judo, Aoife Coughlan defeated Ebony Drysdale Daley, who secured Jamaica’s first Commonwealth Games medal in the sport.
And gymnast Kate McDonald celebrated her 22nd birthday by relegating Godwin to silver in the beam as Australia ended the last day of competition a further five medals to finish second overall on the medal count behind England.
Australian lawn bowls duo Damien Delgado and Chris Flavel settled for silver in the men’s para pairs event after being well beaten by Scotland.