GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – Australia continued to lead the way in the pool at the Commonwealth Games as it won four more gold medals on Friday, while England claimed its first two swimming golds.
There was also more joy for host Scotland as Dan Martin won the men’s 400-meter individual medley, and Canada’s Katerine Savard was the other victor of the evening in the women’s 100-meter butterfly.
Australia’s gold rush continued as the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay team retained its title ahead of South Africa and England to claim its seventh victory from a possible 14 events to round off the night.
Leiston Pickett became the first swimmer to retain a 50-meter Commonwealth breaststroke title, while there was an Aussie one-two in the men’s 200 freestyle as Thomas Fraser-Holmes edged out Cameron McEvoy with Calum Jarvis claiming Wales’ first medal of the meet in third.
There was also a world record for Maddison Elliott in the women’s para-sport 100-meter freestyle S8 ahead of England’s Stephanie Slater and another Australian, Lakeisha Patterson.
However, the Aussies didn’t have it all their own way as the British nations battled back to win three golds.
Benjamin Proud claimed England’s first of the meet in the men’s 50 butterfly ahead of South African duo Roland Schoeman and Chad le Clos.
“I don’t know what to say. I just treated it like any other race, but now tears are almost in my eyes,” said the 19-year-old.
Chris Walker-Hebborn then ensured the men’s 100 backstroke Commonwealth title remained in English hands with a games-record time of 53:12 seconds.
Defending 100 backstroke champion Liam Tancock was tied for third with Australia’s Josh Beaver, whilst another Aussie, Mitch Larkin, took silver.
“I’m over the moon. I’m a bit emotional and speechless at the moment,” said Walker-Hebborn, on an evening when England won six medals in all.
“It definitely helps to see your squad doing so well.”
The biggest cheer of the evening was definitely reserved for Wallace as he won Scotland’s third swimming gold in two days following the success of Hannah Miley and Ross Murdoch on Thursday.
Wallace admitted he had been inspired by the film “Braveheart” as he edged out Fraser-Holmes and Canada’s Sebastien Roussea.
The 21-year-old could be seen bellowing “freedom” after touching the wall to seal the win, just as his namesake William Wallace does in the film.
“I just screamed ‘freedom’ at the top of my lungs because just being here in front of a home crowd just brought out the Braveheart inside of me,” he said.
“I watched it just last week to get ready for this. It’s such a Scottish thing. It warms my heart.”
Savard claimed Canada’s second swimming gold of the games as she edged out England’s Siobhan O’Connor by just five hundredths of a second.
Australia’s Emma McKeon added to her two golds from Thursday with a bronze in third, but Alicia Coutts missed out on her sixth Commonwealth Games medal as she finished fourth.