2022 COMMONWEALTH GAMES
The women’s 50m breaststroke final at these 2022 Commonwealth Games brought down the house, with South African Lara van Niekerk firing off a new competition record for gold.
Stopping the clock in a mighty 29.72, van Niekerk crushed the only sub-30 second time of the field, bettering both her prelims and semi-final outings here in Birmingham.
In the heats, 19-year-old van Niekerk produced a time of 29.82 to snag the top seed. Then the South African dropped that down to an even quicker 29.80 in last night’s semi-final.
Flash forward to tonight, and van Niekerk logged the 2nd fastest time her career, clinching the gold in a mark of 29.73. That’s just .01 off her own national and continental record of 29.72 produced earlier this year.
Runner-up status this evening went to English swimmer Imogen Clark in 30.02 while Chelsea Hodges of Australia rounded out the top 3 in 30.05.
As for Clark, her time here in front of a home crowd established a new British national record. Her silver medal-garnering outing overtook her own previous GBR national standard of 30.04 produced at the 2018 European Championships.
But Hodges also nailed a new national record en route to bronze tonight as well. Posting 30.05, Hodges’ result here overtook the previous Aussie national record of 30.15 she hit at this year’s Australian Championships.
At this year’s World Championships, van Niekerk wrangled up bronze in 29.90, although her 29.73 here would have snagged the silver there in Budapest.