Commonwealth Games: Aussie golden girl Emma McKeon becomes first person to win 11 gold medals at Games

By 01/08/2022News, Uncategorized

Article by Aaron Kirby and Ben Smith courtesy of the West Australian.

Australia's Emma McKeon holds her gold medal on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 50m Freestyle during the swimming at the Commonwealth Games in Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Birmingham, England, Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Aussie golden girl Emma McKeon was left lost for words after she became the first person in Commonwealth Games history to snare a remarkable 11 gold medals.

McKeon blitzed the field from start to finish in the frantic 50m women’s freestyle final, leading a clean sweep for Australia with Meg Harris claiming silver and Shayna Jack bronze.

McKeon was emotional after she touched the wall in a time of 23.99 to eclipse the previous record for most Commonwealth golds, which was held jointly by fellow Aussie swimming legends Ian Thorpe, Susie O’Neill and Leisel Jones.

“I don’t know what you want me to say,” she said after being told she had broken the record.

“I just get in there and do my best and take each race one at a time.

“50 is a fun event for me, and I feel like I’m a lot more relaxed than last year, a lot happier.

“It’s really nice to be mentioned alongside some of those names and I will be part of that history for years to come, hopefully.

“They’re the ones who inspired me when I was young. I remember watching them on TV and that lit the fire in me to be where I am now.”

 

SMETHWICK, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Emma McKeon of Team Australia reacts after competing in the Women's 50m Butterfly Semi-Final on day three of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2022 on the Smethwick, England. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

McKeon also looked relatively untroubled in her 50m butterfly semi-final, winning the heat in a time of 26.02.

The 28-year-old, who is also Australia’s most successful Olympian with 11 medals, has a chance to add four more medals with swims later this week.

Meanwhile, West Aussie veteran Holly Barratt shot out of the blocks and held on to book her spot alongside McKeon in the butterfly final.

All of the Australians made it through to the final of the 100m freestyle, but the Games record-breaking swim from Kyle Chalmers drew attention a day after he admitted he was struggling with the noise surrounding him, McKeon and Cody Simpson.

He was on from the start as he powered down the lanes to qualify fastest as WA’s Zac Incerti finished fifth after a good second 50 metres.

Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown produced a fairy-tale finish to her career in the 100m backstroke final.

After turning third, she used every bit of power and strength she had to run down Canadian Kylie Masse to win gold and break a Games record.

 

Australia's Kaylee McKeon holds up her gold as she stands on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m Backstroke swimming at the Commonwealth Games in Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Birmingham, England, Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

It didn’t go as well for McKeown in the 200m breaststroke final, finishing sixth, but a yellow cap did feature on the podium, with Jenna Strauch nabbing silver.

English swimmer James Wilby caused the boilover of the night, taking gold in the 100m breaststroke, beating world champion Adam Peaty.

It is the first time Peaty has been beaten in a final of that event since 2014.

Aussie champion Zac Stubblety-Cook claimed the silver to go with his 200m gold, while Sam Williamson also stunned to finish third.

The Dolphins rounded out the night by easily keeping their the 4x200m freestyle relay winning streak alive by almost half a pool, 12 seconds in total, to smash the world record.

They have not lost the event since 2002.

Rookie Ben Armbruster sealed his spot in the 50m backstroke final with an assured performance in the semi-final, but veteran Mitch Larkin missed out on qualifying for the finale.

Bowen Gough finished fourth in the 200m butterfly final, with Brendon Smith in eighth as South African Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos was pipped at the post by Kiwi Lewis Claerburt in a strong field.