DORSET’S Alice Tai and Jacob Peters will return from the Gold Coast with three medals between them after stellar debuts at the Commonwealth Games.
Tai, 19, from Bournemouth Collegiate School, made history by winning England’s 100th swimming gold since the Games started in 1930 – then followed up with silver in her second event.
Poole’s Peters, 17, swam nine races in six days and achieved all his targets, reaching all three men’s butterfly finals and collecting a last-day silver medal as an England heat swimmer in the medley relay.
World record holder Tai, now based at the national performance centre in Manchester, finished three seconds clear of Australia’s Ellie Cole to win the S9 100m backstroke in 1:08.77.
She said: “Ellie’s a phenomenal athlete so I’m really glad to have won. The whole England team has been buzzing off the back of the success.”
Tai looked set to win a surprise second gold in the S9 100m freestyle, only to be pipped by Australia’s Lekeisha Patterson.
Tai’s 1:03.07 was just 0.05sec slower than Patterson’s 1:03.02 but 0.29 ahead of bronze medallist Cole.
Peters started as he meant to continue, breaking his Dorset record in the 50m butterfly on day one to qualify sixth fastest in 24.19.
He was in the next lane to world champion Ben Proud, who was controversially disqualified for moving at the start.
In the semi-finals, Peters shaved 0.06sec off Proud’s British 17yrs age group record from 2012 with 24.05.
He lowered it again to 24.00 to finish seventh in a final won by South Africa’s Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos.
Peters, the youngest in all three butterfly finals and the only teenager in two, now holds the British age group records for all three fly distances.
He qualified seventh for the 200m final in 1:58.42, then dropped to 1:57.75 – the second fastest of his career – to place fifth.
Peters carried his form into the 100m fly, placing sixth in the heats in 53.72, equal sixth in the semis in 53.40 and joint fifth in the final in 53.11.
His form earned him the butterfly leg in the 4x100m medley relay heats and his split of 53.27 helped England to qualify second behind Australia for the final.
England’s Luke Greenbank, Adam Peaty, Jimmy Guy and Proud came within 0.09sec of beating the Aussies in the final, winning silver medals for the four heat swimmers as well as themselves.
Peters said: “It’s been an amazing experience. I’m so happy to have made all three finals, completed my set of 17yrs records and won a relay medal.
“Swimming against the likes of Ben, Chad and Jimmy has been a great experience, and having call-room chats with all of them is something I never thought I’d be doing so soon.”
Poole coach Barry Alldrick said: “What impressed me most was how Jacob has taken everything in his stride – dealing with the village, the media and one of the rowdiest crowds you will get.
“He stepped up in each final and clearly belongs on this stage.
“Placing fifth has given him a sniff of individual medals and will take his training to a new level in order to take that next step.”
As the second British swimmer behind Scotland’s bronze-winning Duncan Scott in the 200m, Peters added the European Championships in Glasgow in August to a summer schedule that already includes A levels in May and European Juniors in Helsinki in June.
Source : BournemouthEcho