Aimee Willmott wins Team England's first gold of Gold Coast 2018April 5, 2018
Aimee Willmott landed Team England’s first gold of the Gold Coast 2018, taking the touch in a dramatic 400m Individual Medley final.
Competing in the first race of the opening finals session in Australia, Willmott held off the challenge of 2010 and 2014 champion Hannah Miley down the final 50m.
The Stirling University swimmer ultimately pulled 0.26 clear to win in 4:34.90, with Miley next best on 4:35.16.
“I tried to tactically swim it a lot better,” said Willmott. “In Glasgow, my downfall was I tried to win it after 250m and I gave everything down the first length for the breaststroke and I literally had nothing in me for the last length.
“So it was a case of swimming controlled and really trying not to worry about what was going on.
“I could see Hannah out of the corner of my eye and just tried to keep relaxed on the breaststroke then save everything I had for that last 25m of the freestyle.
“I thought she was coming for me so I stuck my head down and my legs are so sore but it was totally worth it.”
Victory gave double Olympian Willmott her first major title, having hit the crossbar with silvers over 400m IM and 200m Fly at her second Commonwealths in Glasgow four years ago.
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It also saw her follow in the footsteps of mother Jackie, who was part of England’s victorious 4x100m Freestyle Relay quartet at the 1982 Commonwealths in Brisbane.
Competing in her first Commonwealth final, Abbie Wood was sixth in 4:40.55.
James Guy repeats Glasgow result with 400m bronze
Double Olympic relay medallist James Guy reached the podium in the first of his seven events on the Gold Coast.
The Bath NC swimmer repeated his result from his Commonwealth debut four years ago, coming home for bronze in the 400m Freestyle.
Guy took the race out from lane two, turning at 1:49.88 at 200m and still in front on 2:47.42 at the 300m mark.
Australia’s Olympic champion Mack Horton ultimately came through to take gold in 3:43.76. Horton’s teammate Jack McLoughlin also overtook Guy in the final 50m, touching in 3:45.21 to the English swimmer’s 3:45.32.
“I could see I was way in front at half way and I thought I’m either going to hold on or they are going to come back at me,” said Guy, who won World gold over 200m Free in 2015.
“I wanted to try and slip a medal, and I’m pleased with the bronze.
“We’ve got Worlds next year and then the Olympics so I’ll be cutting down the number of events. I’ve never done a 200 Free fresh, it’s always been after the 400, so hopefully it will make a bit of a difference.”
Faulkner fourth in 200m Free
Ellie Faulkner and Holly Hibbott were also in action on the opening night in Australia, placing fourth and fifth over 200m Freestyle.
Faulkner came home in 1:57.72 while Hibbott clocked 1:58.55. Canada’s Taylor Ruck won the title on 1:54.81.