Tokyo: Dolphins make golden splash at Pan Pacs

Tokyo: Dolphins make golden splash at Pan Pacs

In a magical night in the Pan Pacs pool in Tokyo tonight the Australian Dolphins have struck a triple treat of gold with stunning victories to freestyle sprinters Cate Campbell and Kyle Chalmers and an exciting new-look 4x200m freestyle relay team.
 
It was sprint queen Campbell, fresh from her stunning relay anchor of 50.93 last night, who set the records straight in more ways than one - taking just 52.03 seconds and a Championship record to do it in the 100m freestyle final.
 
Up against the imposing figure of the USA’s Simone Manual – the Olympic and World Champion – Campbell was composed, considered and content when she walked out onto the pool deck.
 
It was her time to deliver, her time to shine and she delivered in spades – under world record pace for 98 metres – falling just short of Sarah Sjostrom’s 51.71 but a stunning swim.
 
Campbell said she would no longer be haunted by "little nightmares" that lingered from 2016 after clocking the second fastest time in history – also a Commonwealth and Australian record – 0.03 faster than her previous best and previous world record set in Brisbane on her way to Rio.
 
On a glittering night for Australia, Olympic champion Chalmers soon added the men's 100m freestyle crown before Australia's Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon, Mikkayla Sheridan and Maddie Groves claimed the women's 4x200m freestyle relay in a new Championship, Commonwealth and Australian record.
 
At the halfway point of the four-day meet, Australia have a total of four gold, six silver and two bronze to leapfrog Japan into second but still trail world No.1 United States (eight gold, five silver, seven bronze). 
 
In a huge boost for Tokyo 2020, Campbell clocked a personal best to finish more than half a second faster than Manuel - the woman who dethroned her at Rio.
 
An emotional Campbell said she had finally made up for her shock Rio 100m final sixth placing which prompted her to take a 12-month break to recover.
 
"I can put that one to bed. All the little nightmares that come creeping in when you are lying awake at night stewing over past performances (are gone)," Campbell said.
 
Campbell almost gave away the sport dealing with the fallout over her Rio result which she described as "the biggest choke in Olympic history".
 
Asked if the Pan Pacs result had exorcised her demons, Campbell said: "Yeah, it shows I can stand up and perform when it counts.
 
"I know I can live with whatever the outcome."
 
Chalmers soon had another gold for Australia thanks to yet another trademark finish.
 
The 20-year-old powered home from last on the turn to seal victory in 48.00 seconds ahead of fellow Australian Jack Cartwright (48.22) who tied for silver with world champion Caeleb Dressel of the United States.
 
Chalmers clocked 48.00 seconds ahead of Cartwright and heavy favourite Dressel (48.22).
 
In the 4x200m women's relay, Titmus led off in 1:55.27 followed by McKeon (1:55.66) Sheridan (1:56.72) before Groves (1:56.47) held off Olympic and world champion Katie Ledecky of the US in the final leg as Australia sealed gold in a new national record - seven minutes, 44.12 seconds.
 
It broke the previous national mark set in 2008 by the Olympic champions – Stephanie Rice, Bronte Barratt, Kylie Palmer and Linda McKenzie.
 
Groves held out a fast finishing Ledecky by 0.25 of a second with Ledecky splitting a sensational 1:53.84.
 
Australia's Clyde Lewis (1:46.54), Chalmers (1:46.73),  Alex Graham (1:45.91)  and Cartwright (1:45.52), were pipped by just three tenths of a second for 4x200m relay gold by the US after leading for 799 metres.
 
Meanwhile, Emily Seebohm (58.72) claimed silver in the 100m backstroke, touched out by 0.11 by world champion Kylie Masse (58.61) of Canada while Mitch Larkin (52.88) claimed 100m backstroke bronze behind Olympic champion Ryan Murphy from the USA who set a new Championship record of 51.94 and Japan’s Irie Ryosuke (52.78).
 
Both backstroke fields were top heavy with a who’s who of major Olympic contenders and it was certainly encouraging with the 200m and the medley relays to come.
 
Rising star Kaylee McKeown also improved on her personal  best, clocking 59.25 – for a close-up fifth.
 

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