Elijah Winnington started off Birmingham 2022 with a bang. (Photo: Dolphins AUS)

The first day on any international swim meet is always enormous and has been for quite some time. For the Australians, this trend held true after a historic finals session in the pool to open the swimming at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Two of our very own world champions Elijah Winnington and Zac Stubblety-Cook returned in the events they were victorious in in Budapest, while former Olympic champions Ariarne Titmus and Mack Horton continued their stellar careers.

Men’s 400m Freestyle – Final

It’s as easy as one, two, three. Aussies Elijah Winnington (gold), Sam Short (silver) and former Olympic champion Mack Horton (bronze) clean swept an event that sits close to the heart of Australian swimming.

Winnington took total control of the event with an early lead that only extended as he went on to claim the title in 3:43.06. Despite the time being nearly two seconds slower than that in Budapest, it was a total performance and a sweet addition to the youngster’s hall of titles.

Short (3:45.07) and Horton (3:46.49) rounded out the medals that produced a podium flooded in green and gold.

Women’s 400m IM – Final

Canada’s Summer McIntosh, 15, is nothing short of a star on the world swimming stage – proven here with a Commonwealth record 4:29.01 and dominant win ahead of our very own Kiah Melverton (4:36.78), who claimed the silver medal for the Aussies.

Melverton was nothing short of admirable in her personal best effort to draw back the field with a strong freestyle leg to land on the podium in what could be called a secondary event for this Dolphin. Aussie Jenna Forrester finished in sixth (4:41.80) in what is a true test of a well-rounded swimmer.

Women’s 200m Freestyle – Final

Did someone say ‘double-treble’? The Aussies have done it again – keeping the podium strictly for those in green and gold in what was a thrilling finish.

Ariane Titmus (1:53.89) narrowly edged out teammate and training partner Mollie O’Callaghan (1:54.01) to claim gold in a Games record, adding another swim below the 1:54 mark to this growing list.

O’Callaghan, 18, looked to be swimming her way to a title as she crushed her previous best time ahead of Aussie Madi Wilson (1:56.17), both falling short of the Olympic champion.

Men’s 100m Backstroke S9 – Final

Three Aussies competed in the S9 final of the 100m backstroke, an event that saw Timothy Hodge claim another gold medal and Games record for Australia, hitting the wall in 1:01.88. Hodge produced most definitely one of the performances of the night.

Harrison Vig (1:05.40) and defending champion Brendan Hall (1:05.90) finished in fifth and sixth respectively to fall just outside the podium.

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Women’s 100m Freestyle S9 – Final

Emily Beecroft (1:03.74) claimed silver in a very impressive performance behind the neighbouring Sophie Pascoe of New Zealand.

Ashleigh McConnell (1:04.12) and Ellie Cole (1:04.21) were not far behind Beecroft in fourth and fifth respectively, with all swimmers paying their respects to Cole and what has been a fantastic career as she looks to retirement.

Men’s 200m Breaststroke – Final

Zac Stubblety-Cook was never in doubt and owned all control in the 200m breaststroke final to claim his first Commonwealth title, adding to his Olympic and world championships. In a time of 2:08.07, the champion sat back as he usually does to storm into the lead in the final 50.

Matthew Wilson (2:10.57) was unfortunately touched out of the podium in fourth by sixteen hundredths of a second.

Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay – Final

William Yang, Kyle Chalmers, Mollie O’Callaghan and Emma McKeon were victorious in style to claim Australia’s fifth gold medal on Day One of the swimming. In a time of 3:21.18, McKeon was able to draw away from England (3:22.45) in the final leg who finished second.

Canada (3:24.86) finished in third to round off the Day 1 medals.

Heading to the finals

Kyle Chalmers, Matthew Temple and Cody Simpson were all unsuccessful in the semis of the men’s 50m butterfly in making it through to the finals on Day Two.

All three of Chelsea Hodges, Jenna Strauch and Abbey Harkin nonetheless will compete for glory in the women’s 50m breaststroke final. Hodges (30.50) comes in third fastest and will swim out of lane three.

Another three Aussie final will take place on Day Two in the men’s 100m backstroke, with Bradley Woodward, Mitch Larkin and Joshua Edwards-Smith qualifying in that respective order.

You guessed it, three Australians in Emma McKeon, Brianna Throssell and Alex Perkins have qualified for the final of the women’s 100m butterfly. McKeon will be swimming out of lane four with a time of 57.49 in the semis.

Dolphin Spotlight: Day 2

It is Emma McKeon. Day One showed McKeon to be moving through the water better than ever. It is amazing to watch.

With a gold medal already around her neck in the mixed relay, she will swim for gold in the final of the 100m butterfly. The Commonwealth Games record of 56.78 looks to be in trouble, but holding out Canada’s Maggie MacNeil looks to be the toughest task of all.

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