It was a clean sweep at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre tonight, as Australia secured a memorable 1-2-3 finish in the SB8 100m breaststroke.
Tim Disken (1:12.42) led the charge to win his second gold of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games while Sydney teenager Tim Hodge (1:15.80) took silver from three-time Paralympian and Commonwealth Games swimmer Blake Cochrane (1:18.75) who swam in a class one higher than his own (SB7).
Disken, who is now celebrating a perfect Commonwealth Games debut having finished his events, is not only thrilled with his own results but is proud of what the three Australians achieved together.
“Yesterday was amazing but today has been something else. To go one, two, three in front of a home crowd is something I can’t even describe,” the AIS athlete said.
It continued a comeback story for the ages for Disken, who underwent emergency brain surgery less than one year ago, after complaining of a headache before the 2017 Canadian Open.
“It’s great to be back at my best, racing for this fantastic country. This competition and what I bounced back from shows me I can perform when I think I can’t,” he said.
Hodge, 17, not only achieved a personal best but also won his first major international medal.
“I far exceeded my expectations. I was hoping for at least a small PB but better splits and better turns but I wasn’t expecting that,” he said.
“This is a dream come true, literally. I remember racing the Berlin Championships and winning gold in the junior category and listening to the anthem there, but standing next to Blake and Tim on the podium is going to be 100% better.”
Cochrane was always in for a tough fight against the two Australian heavyweights, but also had the event class against him, usually competing as an SB7.
“To race a class up and come away with a medal is unreal. It was going to be a pretty tough ask coming into this meet but we set our goals and set a time we wanted to get to, and to get under 1:19s for the first time in 12 months, it’s pretty good to get there,” the bronze medallist said.
As a senior member of the team, Cochrane also commented on the trajectory of Disken and Hodge, showing his pride as a teammate.
“They’ve shown so much potential. They both keep stepping up and getting those results. It’s nice to try and give them a helping hand but the maturity and respect these guys have for everyone on the team, they put their best out on race day and show some quality results.”
The final Para-swimming event of the evening was the SM10 200m Individual Medley, featuring London Paralympian and Glasgow 2014 athlete Katherine Downie (2:31.81), Rio Paralympian Paige Leonhardt (2:32.68) and the youngest athlete on the entire Australian Commonwealth Games Team Jasmine Greenwood (2:34.97).
Downie claimed bronze and swam the fastest she has swum since Glasgow 2014.
“To do this in front of a home crowd is unreal. I could hear them in the freestyle and I could hear them in the breaststroke and I thought, ‘you know what? I’ll do this for Australia.’”
“I had three years where I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted to, and having swum the fastest since Glasgow, I’m beyond stoked.
“I was looking at the end of my career, but swimming here, it’s kind of like being given golden eggs, where you kind of have to keep going now. It’s a bit rude, really!” she joked.
Racing continues tomorrow night with Ellie Cole and Lakeisha headlining the S9 100m freestyle, and Patterson and Tiffany Thomas-Kane competing in the SM8 200m Individual Medley.
By APC Media
Photo with thanks to Delly Car / Swimming Australia Ltd.