Gold Coast 2018: Siobhan-Marie O’Connor defends Commonwealth Games title as medal tally moves into double figures
Swimmer Siobhan-Marie O’Connor became the first University of Bath-based sportsperson to win gold at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games as she successfully defended her 200m individual medley title on Sunday.
O’Connor, coached by Dave McNulty at the British Swimming National Centre Bath, was the class of the field as she finished nearly two seconds ahead of her nearest rival to claim her third medal of the week.
“The time wasn’t my best but it’s just such an amazing feeling,” said Rio 2016 Olympic silver-medallist O’Connor, who now has nine Commonwealth Games medals after winning six at Glasgow 2014.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle over the past 18 months [since Rio] so I wanted to come here, defend my title and get my confidence back, and I’m so happy with that.”
Training partners James Guy and Cameron Kurle then took the tally of medals for University-based sportspeople to ten as they helped England win silver in the 4x200m freestyle final.
Here’s our round-up of Sunday’s swimming, athletics and netball action – click here for full results, schedules and news from the Gold Coast.
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor became the first woman ever to successfully defend the Commonwealth Games 200m individual medley title as she dominated Sunday’s final.
O’Connor, who has trained at the University of Bath Sports Training Village since she was a child, admits she had struggled to find her focus since winning IM silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
However, she looked back to her best in the Optus Aquatic Centre as, after qualifying fastest from the heats, she quickly took control of the final with a rapid butterfly leg.
She brushed the lane rope a couple of times during the backstroke but that failed to knock her out of her stride and she continued to pull away in the breaststroke and freestyle, finishing more than a body length clear of the field in 2:09.80.
“I really needed that performance,” said O’Connor, who had already won two relay bronze medals that week.
The last race of the evening saw British Swimming National Centre Bath duo Cameron Kurle and James Guy, both coached by Jol Finck at the Sports Training Village, produce excellent performances to help England win silver in the 4x200m freestyle relay final.
In a final dominated by Australia, Kurle produced a strong first leg to put England in second place before Scotland – inspired by the fastest split of the race by Duncan Scott – took the advantage on legs two and three.
A medal was in the bag by this stage but Guy was determined for it to be silver and he produced a rapid final leg of 1:45.24 to overhaul Mark Szaranek and secure second spot in 7:08.57. Nicholas Grainger and Jarvis Parkinson were also part of the England quartet.
It was Guy’s third medal of the Games and he will be looking to make it four on Monday after qualifying second-fastest for the 100m butterfly final, winning his semi in 52.34. Sports Performance graduate Calum Jarvis will also represent Wales in that final after progressing in 53.33.
Jess Fullalove finished seventh in the 200m backstroke final in 2:11.74 and Chloe Tutton – bronze-medallist in the 200m breaststroke on Saturday – progressed to the 100m breaststroke final in 1:08.54.
Defending champion Jazz Carlin booked her place in the 800m freestyle final in a time of 8:36.52 and Sport & Exercise Science student Anna Hopkin, coached by Mark Skimming in the University’s student-swimming squad, reached her second individual final of the week after setting the eighth-fastest time of 55.17 in the 100m freestyle semi-finals.
A dominant first quarter was key to a scrappy 55-49 Pool B victory over Uganda as England maintained their winning start to the Commonwealth Games.
Team Bath Netball duo Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Kadeen Corbin both came on for the second and third quarters after England had effectively settled the contest with an 18-8 scoreline in the opening period.
Zanele Vimbela came on at wing defence for South Africa in the final quarter of a tough Pool A match against favourites Australia, with the defending champions in fine form as they won 60-38.
Sports Performance student Cameron Chalmers was the first University of Bath athlete to take to the track this week as he contested the 400m heats.
The Thompson Education Trust scholar, representing Guernsey, finished fourth in his heat in 45.64 to progress to Monday’s semi-finals.