Aussies hold off Canadian sensations to win relay gold
SWIMMING: Emma McKeon has collected a third gold medal as Ariarne Titmus sealed her reputation as one of the toughest racers in world swimming with a steely anchor leg that continued Australia's sweep of relays in the pool.
McKeon led the relay off in 1min 56.62sec and while the time was slightly slower than that which sealed her bronze in the individual race, it gave the Aussies a lead that Brianna Throssell and Leah Neale kept intact to give Titmus a lead heading into the final leg.
Enter Canadian Taylor Ruck, who touched Titmus out for gold in the individual 200m on the opening night of competition and the scene was set for a thrilling duel between the 17-year-olds.
Ruck moved to Titmus's shoulder in the opening 100m but the woman dubbed "The Terminator" by her own father knew her mission.
"I knew she would put the pressure on the first hundred but I know that with my race plan, I have the great back end and I had to trust that," said Titmus, who will swim her favoured 400m and 800m later in this meet.
"I think it was a pretty good swim, I could hold on, so I'm happy."
McKeon said she was desperate to hang on to her lead after going out hard.
"That's what I realised a relay is about, get as good a split as you can and finish well so the next person diving in feels motivated and ready to go," McKeon said.
"That is what I tried to do. My split wasn't that fast but that's where it's at."
The win was one of three for Australia in the pool on Saturday night, coming on the back of an emotional gold to Cate Campbell in the 50m freestyle and a win to Timothy Disken in the SB8 100m breaststroke.
The profile of "Disco" Disken continues to grow after he nabbed his second gold medal of the meet, leading an all-Australian trifecta in the SB8 100m breaststroke.
Disken led Timothy Hodge and Blake Cochrane to the wall, with Australia increasing its medal count in the next event as Katherine Downie snared bronze in the SM10 200m medley.
Cate Campbell was spared a 200m swim given there were no relay heats but her night still glittered after she collected gold in the 50m freestyle and became unexpectedly emotional on the podium.
"I didn't expect to get so teary. I think that a lot of people have supported me over the last year-and-a-half and to be able to stand there on the podium and have the whole crowd sing the national anthem with me was something that was pretty special," she said.
Meanwhile, Cameron McEvoy is hoping a day makes all the difference for him as he chases what seemed an unlikely gold medal in the 100m.
McEvoy looked down and out after his heat swim, a 49.20 effort that would have missed the final at Australian team trials just a month ago.
But he was a different swimmer in last night's semis, notching the fastest qualifying time for Sunday's final with a 48.50 swim that has him back in the frame for gold.
"It was just important to get into final," he said.
"I've felt a bit off so far this week. But the more I swim, I guess the better it's been getting.
"You can be a totally different person within the day. I'm pretty pumped with that."
Commentating for the Seven Network, Ian Thorpe said he had been "worried" for McEvoy after seeing his heat swim on Saturday morning.
"Look, (there's) a lot of pressure on him. And kind of being the poster boy of something like this adds to that pressure as well.
"We're talking about him like this as well.
"There are expectations. The expectations come from the fact that he has swum 47.0.
"For us we want to see him get back near that time because it was so brilliant to be able to see that."