Gold Coast 2018: University-based swimmers claim medal hat-trick on opening day of Commonwealth Games
University of Bath-based swimmers James Guy, Anna Hopkin and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor all bagged bronze medals on the first day of competition at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
British Swimming National Centre Bath swimmer Guy, coached by Jol Finck at the Sports Training Village, went out hard in his 400m freestyle final before digging deep in the closing stages to finish third behind Australians Mack Horton and Jack McLoughlin.
Fellow National Centre Bath swimmer O’Connor then led off for England’s 4x100m freestyle relay team as they took bronze behind Australia and Canada, helped by an outstanding third leg by Sport & Exercise Science student Hopkin, coached by Mark Skimming in the student swimming squad.
“The team has been amazing and I’m really happy to get a medal,” said Hopkin. “It’s my first Commonwealth Games and I just wanted to make the most of it.
“Obviously, being in this crowd with Australia as favourites, people were going mad and I think it brought the best in me.”
Chemical Engineering graduate Andrew Willis finished fourth in the 200m breaststroke and Vicky Holland also narrowly missed out on a podium place in the women’s triathlon final as she was outsprinted in the home straight.
Team Bath Netball’s Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Kadeen Corbin helped England make a confident start to the netball competition with a 74-28 victory over Scotland.
Here’s how University of Bath-based sportspeople fared on day one of the Commonwealth Games. Click here for results and the competition schedule.
James Guy took the race to his Australian rivals in the 400m freestyle final and was rewarded with a brilliant bronze, the first of seven medals he is aiming to win this week at the Commonwealth Games.
The British Swimming National Centre Bath swimmer set a punishing pace from the off and was a body-length clear of the world-record time after 100m.
He maintained his lead until the seventh of eight lengths when he was overhauled by home favourites Mack Horton and Jack McLoughlin. However, Guy refused to solely settle for bronze and kept battling down the final 50m, only being denied silver by 11-hundredths of a second as he touched the wall in 3:45.32.
“That was a hard race,” said Guy. “My main advantage is my speed so I went out hard. The 400m is the longest race I am doing, so hopefully it will get easier from here.”
Guy is back in action on Friday when he races in the 200m freestyle heats at 1.38am BST.
The last race of the day saw Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, coached by Dave McNulty in the London 2012 Legacy Pool, give England a fine start to the women’s 4x100m freestyle final.
She handed over to Freya Anderson in third place, a position she maintained before a storming leg of 53.82 from MJ Church Ambassador Hopkin – supported by a Thompson Education Trust Sports Scholarship – saw her almost overhaul Canada’s Olympic Champion Penny Oleksiak in second.
Ellie Faulkner ensured the team came home with a bronze medal in 3:38.40 behind Canada and Australia, who won gold in a world-record time of 3:30.05.
It was a seventh career Commonwealth Games medal for O’Connor, who said: ““We always knew that the Aussies had such a strong team and it was amazing to be in there with them, we’re really proud of our performance and getting a medal on our first day.
“It’s an amazing atmosphere out there, walking out was incredible. Australia is such a huge swimming nation so it’s pretty cool to be out here and race. These girls did such a good job, I’m really proud to be part of the team.”
Chemical Engineering graduate Andrew Willis had to settle for fourth place at a major championship for the fifth time in his career as he was edged out of the medals in the 200m breaststroke.
Willis was in contention for a podium place throughout but couldn’t quite close the gap on the leaders and touched the wall in 2:09.31. A storming finish from England team-mate James Wilby saw him take gold ahead of defending champion Ross Murdoch, with Australia’s Matt Wilson in third.
In the heats, Integrated Mechanical & Electrical Engineering student Miles Munro, coached by Mark Skimming, missed out on a place in the 50m butterfly semi-finals by just eight-hundredths of a second after clocking 24.76 in his heat.
Chloe Tutton placed tenth overall in the women’s 50m breaststroke after finishing fourth in her semi-final in 31.43 – her main events, the 100m and 200m, are still to come.
Vicky Holland narrowly missed out on a third Commonwealth Games medal of her career as she was outsprinted by Canada’s Joanna Brown in the battle for bronze in the women’s final.
Holland crossed the line in fourth in 57:42, just four seconds off a podium place and nine seconds behind compatriot Jessica Learmonth whose silver was Team England’s first medal of the 2018 Games.
The focus for Holland, coached by Rhys Davey at the Sports Training Village, now switches to Saturday’s mixed team relay where England will be looking to defend the gold medal they won at Glasgow 2014.
Team Bath Netball’s Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Kadeen Corbin both made a big impact off the bench as England began their Gold Coast 2018 campaign with an impressive 74-28 victory over Scotland.
Both played the second half of the match, with Corbin converting 17 of her 18 attempts as goal shooter and Beckford-Chambers producing numerous interceptions.
Next up for England in Pool B is a match against Malawi on Friday (9.32am BST).
University of Bath graduate Eloise Laity helped Wales record a superb 3-2 win over India in their opening match.
Natasha Marke-Jones’ goal three minutes from time secured the first victory for the Welsh women for more than 30 years against a country ranked in the world’s top ten.
Chemistry graduate Laity played the whole match for Wales, whose next Pool A match is against England on Friday.