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An Event to Remember

21 Mar 06 20:11
 Scotsman David Carry was one of swimmers who led the Scottish swimming juganaut, with two gold and one silver at the Games.

Scotsman David Carry was one
of the swimmers who led the
Scottish Swimming juggernaut,
with two gold and one silver at
the Games. 

Australia has finished on top of the swimming medal tally after six days and nights of exciting competition at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC).

The host nation claimed 19 of the 42 gold medals available and completed its haul with an 18 silver and 17 bronze, for a total of 54 medals.

England was next best with eight gold, 11 silver and four bronze, while Scotland proved to be the biggest surprise coming in third with 12 medals - six gold, three silver and three bronze.

There were five world records and 40 Games records broken in the MSAC pool, as well as one dead heat resulting in two bronze medals awarded in the women's 50m Butterfly.

Highlights of the competition included the remarkable rise of the Scottish squad, which surpassed its Manchester total by seven medals, while there were some classic finishes to make the Melbourne Games swimming program a memorable one.

The three fastest women in the world over 100m provided crowds with two thrilling races as Australians Lisbeth Lenton, Jodie Henry and Alice Mills finished in that order in the finals of both the 50m and 100m Freestyle.

The South African men's 4x100m Freestyle Relay team of Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Ryk Neethling and Johannes Zandberg ended Australia's 24-year Games reign in the event.

Papua New Guinean Ryan Pini won his nation's first gold medal of the Games, and first gold medal in swimming, with his stirring victory in the 100m Butterfly final.

Welshman David Davies responded to the expectations placed on him to win the 1500m Freestyle in the absence of world record holder Grant Hackett. Davies broke the 15-minute barrier in the final with a 14:57.63 minute swim and, while he was nowhere near Hackett’s world mark of 14:34.56, he coped well to clinch the title given the pressure put upon him to win.

Middle-distance freestyle swimmer Caitlin McClatchey opened the account for the Scots on the first night of competition when she upset local hero Lenton in the final of the 200m Freestyle.
 
McClatchey went on to claim the 400m Freestyle, earning her a second gold medal at her debut Games.

Gregor Tait and David Carry were the other kilted heroes, Tait with two gold and two bronze medals and Carry with two gold and one silver.

The Australian women lived up to expectations and won 16 of a possible 21 gold medals. The 4x100m Medley Relay team ended the competition fittingly with a gold medal performance that shaved 1.02 seconds off their own world record.

Lenton was only one star of that team, although she was the most decorated Australian with five gold and two silver medals.

Dynamic breaststroke swimmer Leisel Jones did what no other athlete had done before and won the treble in her stroke - gold medals in the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke. She also broke the 100m world record on her way to glory.

The Melbourne Games were the second to play host to the EAD events of the 50m and 100m Freestyle for male and female, with two inspirational stars emerging from the competition.

South African Natalie Du Toit - an inspirational figure through her contesting the able-bodied 800m Freestyle - broke the world record in her disability class in the 50m EAD Freestyle. She won both EAD events and placed ninth in a field of 13 in the 800m.

Australian EAD sensation Matthew Cowdrey was the other dominant figure to emerge, with two world record swims that claimed gold in both the 50m and the 100m Freestyle.

Aside from the Australian men’s Medley Relay team, Cowdrey was the only male to win gold for the home nation.

The South African team arrived in Melbourne and began talking up its chances of ending Australia's dominance in the pool - then spent six days adding substance to that claim.

Sprinter Roland Schoeman's gold in the 50m Freestyle on the final day of competition capped off a successful meet for the decorated swimmer - he finished with a total of three golds and one bronze.

The emergence of young bronze medallists Suzaan Van Biljon and Lize-Mari Retief also added hope for the future of South African Swimming.

Overall, some of the more memorable highlights from the Swimming program came from the crowd - the Kiwis providing a Haka for their medallists, the Scots bringing along bagpipes for their athletes' walk of honour, and the green and gold - and never silent - Australians embodying the true spirit of the Friendly Games.

- Games News Service

For more results, visit the Aquatics Swimming Schedule and Results section of this Website.

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