Australia wins women's 4x200m gold - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Australia wins women's 4x200m gold

18/03/2006 09:41:05 PM Comments (0)

Australia won its fifth swimming gold medal of the night at the Commonwealth Games by taking out the women's 4x200m relay.

The team of Libby Lenton, Bronte Barratt, Kelly Stubbins and Linda MacKenzie claimed the gold in a Games record time of seven minutes 56.68 seconds.

England finished with the silver medal, touching in 8:01.23, while the New Zealand team took bronze (8:02.20).

The men's relay team won bronze in the 4x200m event, with England taking out gold and Scotland winning silver.

Earlier, Sophie Edington overpowered the field to win the gold medal in the 100m backstroke.

She became the first Australian woman to swim the event under 61 seconds, touching the wall in one minute 0.93 seconds ahead of compatriot Giaan Rooney (1:01.42) and England's Melanie Marshall (1:01.55).

Meanwhile Leisel Jones remains on track to collect the breaststroke trifecta at the Commonwealth Games after blitzing the field to win the 200m.

She just missed out on breaking her world record with a time of two minutes 20.72 seconds, 0.18s outside her world mark.

She was more than three seconds ahead of Scotland's Kirsty Balfour (2:24.04) with South Africa's Suzaan Van Biljon (2:25.39) collecting the bronze.

Jones was a surprise winner in the 50m breaststroke on Friday and now looks a certainty to complete the hat-trick in the 100m final on Monday night.

Jones was gasping for air after her race after trying to lower her world mark for the second time in two months at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.

"I gave everything and I think I might have gone out a bit hard in the first 100m," Jones said.

"I was having a little trouble breathing and it wasn't as easy as the trials (where she broke the world record)."

Jones said the noisy crowd support helped her immensely.

"I probably wouldn't have finished without them," she said.

She has taken a stranglehold in the four-lap event since breaking the world record and winning gold at last year's Montreal world championships in July.

Her closest rival is Athens Olympic gold medalist Amanda Beard.

The American's best time of 2:22.44 set in July 2004 is just under two seconds outside Jones' fastest time.

Libby Lenton also produced an extraordinary performance to down Olympic and world champion Jodie Henry in the 100m freestyle.

The 21-year-old world record holder managed to hold off and actually move away from the normally fast-finishing Henry in the final stages of the glamour event.

It is only the second time that Lenton (53.54 seconds) has beaten Henry (53.78) in a major final, having downed her for the first time at last month's trials.

Alice Mills (54.31) was third, completing an Australian trifecta in the event.

It was Lenton's first victory in the 100m at a big meet and could prove to be a turning point in her rivalry with Henry.

The two-lap event was touted as the race of the meet and lived up to its billing although with slightly different roles being played out.

Henry is renowned for mowing down her opponents in the last lap but Lenton surged late as Henry closed and won in the third fastest 100m time in history and just 0.12s outside her own world mark.

Lenton said the secret of her victory was "more than ever focusing on myself".

"It's my first individual medal in the event so I'm just so excited," she said.

Henry said had to make up too much ground after Lenton led out.

"As I've said before I just can't get out with those girls and I didn't have as good a back end as I usually have," she said.

"I'm just looking forward to the relay now, having us three girls in one team."

Mills said: "I'm happy to be a part of it and I'm happy to win a bronze medal."

The win puts Lenton in the box seat to earn the anchor role in Australia's powerful 4x100m medley relay at this meet.

Aussie Matthew Cowdrey also won gold in the 50m EAD freestyle.

In other results, Brenton Rickard won bronze in the 100m breaststroke, while Matthew Targett was disqualified after finishing second in the 50m butterfly final.

His demotion for movement on the starting blocks allowed fellow Australians Matt Welsh and Michael Klim to take silver and bronze respectively.

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