Australia’s women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team smashed their own world record and delighted a boisterous crowd on day one of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Local fans – boosted by the news the men’s 4000m team pursuit side broke a track cycling world record of their own only moments earlier – roared with approval as Cate Campbell stormed home in the final leg.
Shayna Jack led Australia out before Bronte Campbell and then Emma McKeon, competing in her fifth event of the night, extended the advantage, setting the platform for Cate Campbell to make history as they touched the wall in 3:30.05.
It broke the previous record of 3:30.65, which Australia set in winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“It was incredible … it was beyond my wildest dreams,” Cate told Channel Seven.
Then referring to the fact swimming at ‘home’ added no extra pressure, she said: “We’re just feeling the love and the support and that’s what happens when you feel it … world records!”
Sister Bronte added: “I can’t believe we got that world record. I thought that was going to stand for a long time … just a bit gobsmacked really.”
GOLD AND A WORLD RECORD. 🔥🥇🙌
— 7CommGames (@7CommGames) April 5, 2018
She also commented on the noise, revealing: “I was surprised. It was the first time that I have ever heard the crowd while I was swimming. It was great.”
Mack Horton was also victorious in the pool on Thursday, winning Australia’s first gold when he edged compatriot Jack McLoughlin in a one-two finish in the men’s 400m freestyle.
Horton recorded a time of 3:43.76, with McLoughlin following in 3:45.21. England’s James Guy was third.
Australia won five golds, four silvers and six bronze medals on day one and sits second in the medal tally, behind England, which won six gold medals.
Australia won three golds and a swag of minor medals at the Anna Meares Velodrome on Thursday.
The team of Leigh Howard, Sam Welsford, Kelland O’Brien and Alex Porter clocked a time of 3:49.804 in a stunning effort in the men’s 4000m team pursuit.
Not only did they set a world record, they also thrashed England by more than five seconds in the final.
Australia also won the women’s 4000m team pursuit final, toppling New Zealand with Alexandra Manly, Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Amy Cure breaking the Commonwealth Games record with a time of 4:15.214.
And there was joy in the women’s team sprint final, as Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch set a Games record and beat the Kiwis.
Close shaves in the pool
Ariarne Titmus was desperately unlucky not to make it three Aussie golds in the pool on day one, finishing just 0.04 seconds behind Canadian Taylor Ruck in the women’s 200m freestyle final.
The 17-year-old, tipped to be one of the next big things in swimming, was so close to victory her parents in the stands thought she had won and were initially jumping up and down celebrating.
Ruck, who is also 17, set a Games record of 1:54.81, with Titmus second in a personal best of 1:54.85. Emma McKeon was third.
Blair Evans (women’s 400m individual medley) and Matt Wilson (men’s 200m breaststroke) also had to settle for bronze medals.
The Tassie triathlete who got us going
Australia’s first Games medal was won very early in the day, as Jake Birtwhistle braved a downpour to finish second in the men’s triathlon.
Birtwhistle was in 12th position with just the run to go but charged home in a stunning finish.
Diamonds and Hockeyroos post victories
Australia’s bid for back-to-back Commonwealth Games gold medals in the netball started with a win, as expected, against Northern Ireland.
The Diamonds won 94-26, with Caitlin Thwaites shooting the lights out with 39 goals from as many attempts. Skipper Caitlin Bassett added 31.
The Hockeyroos did things much tougher, scrapping to a 1-0 win over lowly-ranked Canada.
Jodie Kennedy scored the only goal but goalkeeper Rachael Lynch was the star, making a string of vital saves for the hosts.