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Saturday August 13, 2022

Australia’s Titmus clinches freestyle treble at Commonwealths

By AFP
August 05, 2022

BIRMINGHAM: Australian swim star Ariarne Titmus completed a stunning individual freestyle treble at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday as England’s Ben Proud won his third straight 50m freestyle crown.

Titmus, the world record holder in the 400m, beat a high-class field in the event to add to her earlier triumphs in the 200m and 800m freestyle in Birmingham.

The 21-year-old dominated the race, touching in 3min 58.06sec to see off the challenge of Canada’s 15-year-old Summer McIntosh.

The Olympic 200m and 400m champion skipped the world championships in Budapest in June, where she would have faced US star Katie Ledecky, to focus on the Commonwealths.

She leaves Birmingham with four golds in total after also being part of Australia’s winning team in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay.

“I came here with the goal to win all four. I believed I had the capacity to do that and I’m happy I did,” she said.

Titmus said it was crucial to have race practice in a high-pressure situation.

“I think that, back home, Australia really prides itself on success in the pool at the Comm Games,” she said.

“Potentially there’s more pressure here to win than at the Olympics sometimes because we are so dominant. Performing under that pressure is tough.”

Proud, 27, won his third straight Commonwealth men’s 50m freestyle title, dominating the field to win in 21.36sec.

“It’s a year ago since I was giving my interviews and burst into tears because of a bad swim at the Olympics,” said the world champion, who also won the 50m butterfly in Birmingham.

“So much has changed. This is really my redemption year. Something has clicked and I’ve finally understood how to swim quicker in finals. There’s still more to polish in that race.”

In the opening race of the night, Scotland’s Duncan Scott condemned his friend Tom Dean to a sixth silver medal in Birmingham by winning the men’s 200m individual medley in 1:56.88.

“My sixth silver of the Games. I was telling all the officials, it’s like silver season at the moment,” said England’s Dean, the Olympic 200m freestyle champion.

“I can’t seem to get away from that man there.”

But Dean returned to swim the anchor leg in the men’s 4x100m medley relay to finally get his gold, touching 0.08sec ahead of Australia’s Kyle Chalmers.

Canada’s Kylie Masse took gold in the women’s 50m backstroke in 27.31 while Australia’s Sam Short won the men’s 1500m freestyle in a time of 14:48.54.

Australia won gold in the women’s 4x100m medley relay, giving Emma McKeon a record-extending 20th Commonwealth medal, 14 of which are golds.

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