Steve Larkin / AAP News
Australia’s swim ace Emma McKeon is on the cusp of becoming the most successful athlete in Commonwealth Games history.
McKeon won her 10th career Commonwealth gold medal when part of Australia’s victorious 4x100m freestyle relay team in Birmingham on Saturday night.
She joins fellow Australian swimmers Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones with 10 career Commonwealth golds.
No athlete has won more.
“It is special – they’re people that I looked up to growing up and the Commonwealth Games has so much history in Australia,” McKeon said.
“They’re the ones that inspired me and a lot of the other girls and guys on the team to do what we’re doing now.
“To be a part of that history hopefully for the future generations coming through is pretty special.
“I know what I felt like growing up and watching those people and hopefully I can inspire people as well.”
McKeon’s feat came after Australian para-swimmer Katja Dedekind set a world record in winning the women’s 50m freestyle S13 gold medal on Saturday night.
“That’s icing on the cake,” Dedekind said of the fresh benchmark.
Dedekind, who is blind in her right eye and has limited vision in her left, clocked 26.56 seconds to better the 26.67 set by Italian Carlotta Gilli in 2018.
And Australia’s men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team – Flynn Southam, Zac Incerti, William Yang and Kyle Chalmers – also won gold.
McKeon also pocketed a silver medal in the women’s 100m butterfly and Brendon Smith took silver in the men’s 400m individual medley.
And six Australians won bronze medals on Saturday night – Chelsea Hodges (women’s 50m breaststroke), Elijah Winnington (men’s 200m freestyle), Bradley Woodward (men’s 100m backstroke), Brianna Throssell (women’s 100m butterfly), Jacob Templeton (men’s 50m freestyle S13) and Kirralee Hayes (women’s 50m freestyle S13).
The Australian swim team has a collection of six gold, five silver and nine bronze medals at the Birmingham pool.
A night after winning the 400m freestyle final, Winnington was wedged between England’s Olympic champion Tom Dean and Scotland’s Olympic silver medallist Duncan Scot.
Scot won the gold this time as Winnington rated his bronze swim “in some respects” better than his 400m race.
“Tom and Duncan are first and second at the Olympic Games, you can’t get two better freestylers in the world let alone the Commonwealth, so I was in great company,” Winnington said.
Three Australians were fastest in the women’s 50m freestyle semi-finals with Shayna Jack followed by Meg Harris and McKeon.
And Australian trio Zac Stubblety-Cook, Sam Williamson and Josh Yong all advanced into the men’s 100m breaststroke final.