Swimming golds for Clareburt and Willmer at Games

New Zealand's Lewis Clareburt celebrates after winning the 200m butterfly final at the Sandwell...
New Zealand's Lewis Clareburt celebrates after winning the 200m butterfly final at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Birmingham. Photo: Reuters
After waiting 16 years for a male Kiwi swimmer to claim a Commonwealth Games gold medal, the next one arrived in less than 24 hours. Then another 15 minutes later.

Lewis Clareburt has wasted no time in doubling his triumphant tally, taking out the 200m butterfly final in Birmingham.

It was a fantastic swim from Clareburt in 1:55.60, coming back to beat legendary South African swimmer Chad le Clos in a tight battle with England's James Guy. who took the bronze.

Le Clos went out strong and held his lead through the 100m mark but Clareburt kept fighting in a gutsy effort to haul him in at the final few metres.

Where his record-breaking success last night in the 400 individual medley had been forecast, this victory came as more of a surprise.

Joshua Willmer made it a special day for New Zealand in the pool with victory in the men's 100m Breaststroke SB8 final shortly after Clareburt's victory.

New Zealand's Joshua Willmer celebrates his victory in the Men's 100m Breaststroke final. Photo:...
New Zealand's Joshua Willmer celebrates his victory in the Men's 100m Breaststroke final. Photo: Reuters
The youngest athlete in the swimming team, the 17-year-old also left his run late to take victory in the final stretch.

Tupou Neiufi meanwhile won silver in the women's 100m Backstroke S8 final with world champion Alice Tai taking the gold.

There could be more to come with Helena Gasson qualifying for the women's 50m Butterfly final later this morning.

Clareburt had sent a warning to the South African in this morning's heats, showing no signs of any fatigue from last night's heroics by qualifying fastest for the final with a time of 1:56:76, edging le Clos by 0.09 seconds.

But the Kiwi has always applied a far greater focus to the medley races, and finished seventh in the event on the Gold Coast four years ago.

The 200m butterfly is the event in which Moss Burmester won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, the last Kiwi male before Clareburt to earn top spot on the podium.

Earlier in the evening session at Sandwell Aquatics Centre, Andrew Jeffcoat set a new New Zealand record in the semifinals of the 50m backstroke, easing through to the final.

Jeffcoat was away quickly to establish a lead he would never cede, stopping the clock in a time of 24:82 to hold off Australia's Bradley Woodward and Scotland's Scott Gibson.

 

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