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Ben Proud reclaims 50m Butterfly Commonwealth title at home Games

Ben Proud clinched Team England’s first swimming gold medal of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as he reclaimed the Men’s 50m Butterfly title.

After the disappointment of being disqualified in the opening heat four years ago on Australia’s Gold Coast, Proud stormed to victory on home soil.

The Bath swimmer returned to the top of the podium to take back his gold medal in a new Games record time of 22.81.

Jacob Peters also set a new personal best time of 23.29 in the final to finish in sixth place, while Adam Barrett rounded off his birthday with a seventh-place finish and a time of 23.57.

Having been crowned champion in this event at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Proud described the victory as a ‘legacy just completed’.

He said: “It’s a weird one.

“On paper, it’s just another gold medal but to me this is an eight-year legacy that I’ve just completed.

“I walked into this event eight years ago and walked away with the gold almost not knowing what I’d done.

My legacy swim

“Four years later, I got disqualified and felt like I was held back from retaining that title.

“So to be able to come back four years later after a lengthy career, after some highs and lows and take that gold back into my hands, that’s something that I’m extremely grateful for.

“This is the thing about maturing as an athlete. You walk into these things and you don’t really know what you’re doing but you’re just doing it because you want to get better and better.

“But now I’ve kind of realised if I can be at the top of the game for an eight-year period, that’s a significant chunk of my life and that’s what I’ve done.

“I’ve dedicated my life to swimming and to the sport in a way that probably not many people have and this to me is the kind of achievement that I can take away and say that I’ve done for the rest of my life.

“I can’t say I’ll be here in four years’ time to retain that title again, who knows? But to me, this was my legacy swim and I’ve done it and I’m looking forward to the freestyle now.

“There are people there who were hunting down my medal and I say that because I really felt like it was mine for a long time and so to be able to retain that is really good.

“And that time, although it’s not a personal best, it’s a significant swim for a final and to get a Games record in the final as well is another special achievement.”