Day 6 Curtain-Closer
Mitch Larkin may yet sneak up and steal the crown as most decorated man in the pool at the Gold Coast Games after six days of racing: three titles in the bag, he will hunt two more golds today, from lane 4 in the 200m medley before leading Australia in the curtain-closing medley relay.
Three men have three golds apiece: Larkin, all solos in a sweep of backstroke finals; Kyle Chalmers, with 200m free gold backed by two free relays (and silver in the 100m free); and Chad Le Clos, a butterfly sweep including the 200m treble (backed by joint silver in the 100 free).
Two wins for Larkin today would end the argument, though one more medal for Scot Duncan Scott – and he has the same two shots as Larkin this evening – would make him the most medalled man of the meet.
Among women, Taylor Ruck enters the medley relay this evening with seven medals in the vault, gold in the 200m free backed up by four silvers – 50m free, 4×100 and 4x200m free and 200m back – and a bronze, in the 100m free. Most-medalled and no-one can catch her.
Most golden is Emma McKeon, of Australia, with three gold and two bronze – and the medley relay likely to make it four gold for a tally of six.
Ruck has already tied the record for most medals by a Canadian woman at Commonwealth Games, at seven. Ralph Hutton won eight for `Canada in in 1966, his tally matched by Susie O’Neill, of Australia, in 1998, and Emily Seebohm, in 2010.
Three Canadians have won seven medals: Elaine Tanner (1966), Bill Sawchuk (1978) and, now, Ruck. The medley relay would break the tie.
The Last Morning
On 1:59.02 in 200IM heats, Larkin was followed into the final by teammate and 400IM champion Clyde Lewis, on 1:59.50 a month after beating Larkin at home trials for the national crown, 1:58.36 to 1:59.01. Chalmers will race in the medley relay for what would be his fourth gold, Australia the clear favourites to win: but you never know….
That was Larkin’s lifetime best – and he all but matched his trials final time this morning. He will need more if he is to win: one of those in his way is Scott, the 100m free champion and, with five in the bag, the most medalled man of the meet so far, with five visits to the podium – and a pb of 1:58 in the 200m medley that may well go down in flames this evening.
He wasn’t the first Scot to qualify: Dan Wallace, 2:00.21, has the fastest lifetime best in the field, on 1:57, but hasn’t been that way since 2015. Scott is on 2:00.44 going through – and wasn’t the last Scot into the final.
Beyond Bradlee Ashby, of New Zealand, and a 2:00.57, come Scotland’s 400IM silver medallist Mark Szaranek, like Wallace once was, a Florida Gator, on 2:00.58. Then comes Xavier Castelli, of Wales, 2:00.97, and the 400IM bronze medallist, Lewis Clareburt, of New Zealand, on 2:01.33.
Whatever happens, Larkin will lead the Dolphins out in the 400m medley as favourites, the hosts through to lane 4 in 3:33.61. England, 3:36.68, Scotland, 3:38.79, Canada, 3:40.79, South Africa, for Chad Le Clos’ last race, 3:42.44, Northern Ireland, 3:42.99, Mozambique, 3:55.91, and Mauritius, 4:04.51, make up the final.
The champion at the helm of one of the fives sweep Australia has laid down at these Games in the pool, Ariarne Titmus, booked a ticket to lane 4 for the 400m freestyle in 4:10.22.
England’s Eleanor Faulkner and Holly Hibbott will race either side of her, off 4:11.19 and 4:11.65, the final completed by Australia’s Mikkayla Sheridan, 4:11.69, Scotland’s Camilla Hattersley, 4:12.26, Joanna Evans of the Bahamas, 4:12.38, Australia’s Jessica Ashwood, 4:13.12, and Kiwi Carina Doyle, 4:13.33.