Gold Coast, Apr 9 (AFP) Cameron van der Burgh stunned Adam Peaty to defend his 50 metres breaststroke title and trigger a big night in the pool for South Africa at the Commonwealth Games today.
South African swimmers rode the wave as Chad le Clos clinched the butterfly treble with victory in the 100m final for a 16th career Commonwealth medal and Tatjana Schoenmaker completed a breaststroke double with gold in the 100m.
The boil-overs kept coming on the penultimate night of the swimming with Bronte Campbell upstaging sister Cate’s bid for a fourth gold medal with a stirring come-from-behind win in the 100m freestyle.
Van der Burgh hurtled off the starting blocks and defied Peaty’s efforts to hunt him down in the frantic one-lapper, winning by four hundredths in 26.58 seconds to inflict a rare defeat on the Englishman and complete a 50m hat-trick.
The South African, who beat Peaty in the event at the 2014 Glasgow Games, celebrated wildly by punching the water before climbing on to the lane rope and pumping his fists in delight.
World record holder Peaty has proved unbeatable in the 50m and 100m in recent years and was expected to carry off the breaststroke double.
But London Olympic 100m champion van der Burgh had other ideas.
“To get the triple in the 50 breast and to come through the years and finish on such a high is something that is really special,” van der Burgh said after what will likely be his last appearance at the Games.
“Adam and I have a really tough rivalry and he’s had the up over me over the last few years. To get on top of the podium and see my flag and my national anthem played is a career highlight.
“It’s not every day you beat the world record holder and I’ll take it.” – Peaty philosophical – =======================
Peaty took the defeat on the chin.
“As an athlete I’m disappointed. I’ve never had a 50m Commonwealth title — I’ve had the rest but not this one,” he said.
“But as a person and as a character in the sport away from the racing, I’m so happy for Cameron.” Le Clos improved to three butterfly golds and a silver medal in the 100m freestyle.
“I’m very proud of myself. Nothing could’ve gone better for me this week,” he said.
“I knew had to win tonight — lot of pressure going in as favourite. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end from an individual stand point.” Bronte Campbell looked staggered to post a Games record 52.27sec to overhaul her sister Cate in the 100m free.
“I didn’t know I could swim that fast and I wasn’t expecting to go that quickly,” she said.
“To swim the fastest I have in three years in a final and come away with the gold is pretty special.” Elsewhere, Mitch Larkin became the first man to win the Commonwealth Games backstroke treble, leading an Australian clean sweep in the 200m final in 1:56.10.
Teenager Ariarne Titmus claimed Australia’s first victory in the Games 800m freestyle in 20 years with storming win in 8:20.02 in another one-two-three for the hosts.
Australia top the able-bodied swimming medal tally with 15 golds to South Africa’s six and England’s five with one day remaining. AFP PDS PDS
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.