Griffith students Emma McKeon (abov) and Shayna Jack have driven Australia to relay gold and a world record in the Optus Aquatic Centre.
On a thrilling night in the pool the pair teamed up with the Campbell sisters – Cate and Bronte – to produce the performance of day one of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018).
Shayna, a Sport Management student, led the team out in strong fashion before Public Health student Emma summoned the energy for an impressive third leg to help Australia to gold in the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay.
There was also gold for Team Griffith at the Anna Meares Velodrome where Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice student Stephanie Morton teamed up with Kaarle McCulloch in the Women’s Team Sprint. The pair set a Commonwealth Games record of 32.488 seconds in seeing of New Zealand in the final.
Stephanie is back on the track today, bidding to qualify for tonight’s Women’s Sprint Final. Qualifying gets underway at Chandler shortly after 1pm.
Earlier in the evening it was Emma who had come up with Team Griffith’s first medal of GC2018 when she swam third in a compelling Women’s 200m Freestyle Final. It was not to be for her brother David McKeon in the Men’s 400m Freestyle Final won by Mack Horton. David, a member of the Griffith Swim Club on the Gold Coast, finished sixth in a competitive final.
In his Commonwealth Games debut, Biomedical Science student, Zac Stubblety-Cook, swam a commendable fifth behind Australian teammate Matt Wilson in the first heat of the Men’s 200m Breaststroke. Alumnus Sam Seghers, in the colours of Papua New Guinea , swam seventh in his heat of the Men’s 50m Butterfly.
Team Griffith had come tantalisingly close to its first medals of the Games earlier in the day in both of the Triathlon finals.
A fast-finishing Matt Hauser (right) crossed the line just outside the medals, taking fourth place in the Men’s Triathlon. The Business student was the first Australian out of the water and held his place on the bike ride among a leading group of six. With strong support from the local crowd, Matt, who celebrated his 20th birthday only two days earlier, closed to within a whisper of bronze only to be denied by Scot, Marc Austin.
In the Women’s Triathlon, alumnus Ashleigh Gentle also performed strongly and was prominent throughout in the race for bronze. She remained in contention until the final stretch of the run and eventually finished in fifth behind Bermuda’s Flora Duffy who won the Games’ first gold impressively. Both Ashleigh and Matt will now turn their attentions to Saturday and the mixed team triathlon relay.
Lawn Bowlers cruise
Other members of Team Griffith in action on day one include alumnus Jordyn Holzberger who lined out with the Hockeyroos in their 1-0 over Canada.
At Broadbeach Kelsey Cottrell and Jake Fehlberg started their medal pursuit on a rain-interrupted first day of Lawn Bowls competition. Kelsey, a Journalism graduate, led the Australian Women’s Fours to a comfortable first round win over Papua New Guinea yesterday, the tie finishing 41-1. She’s back in action today in jousts with Cook Island (4pm) and Namibia (7pm). Jake, a Business graduate, helped Australia defeat South Africa 26-3 in his opener. He’ll be back on the lawn this afternoon up against England in round two of the mixed pairs (vision impaired, 4pm).
Today at the Games
Day 2 at the Optus Aquatic Centre sees a host of Team Griffith athletes in the pool again with Georgia Bohl, Leiston Pickett, Emma McKeon, Madeline Groves and Grant Irvine all having already qualified for finals tonight.
Grant, a member of the Griffith Swim Club, is among the medal favourites in what promises to be a competitive Men’s 50m Butterfly Final (7.37pm).
The Women’s 50m Breaststroke Final (7.41pm) will have Team Griffith interest on the double with defending champion Leiston Pickett, an accounting student at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus, up against a field that includes Public Health student Georgia Bohl who impressed in winning their semi-final.
After a hectic day one, Emma McKeon, is back on the medal hunt in the final of the Women’s 100m Butterfly (9.51pm) where she’ll be joined by Griffith Swim Club team mate Madeline Groves. Both swam first in last night’s semi-finals.
After last night’s excitement Shayna Jack (left) will have tonight’s semi-finals in her sights when she leaps into the Women’s 50m Freestyle in heat four (10.53am). Bachelor of Software Engineering student, Liam Hunter, will also be focused on qualifying for the semi-finals when he contests heat three of the Men’s 100m Breaststroke (11.05am).
We can expect to see one of Australia’s stars of swimming, Cameron McEvoy, make his entry in the second heat of the Men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay (11.59am) when he will be up against alumnus Sam Seghers who represents Papua New Guinea in the same heat.
Sam will also share the pool with another big name in swimming in heat two of the Men’s 200m Freestyle when he’s up against Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers (10.34am).
Away from the pool the attention of Griffith University sports enthusiasts will also be on basketball, weightlifting and lawn bowls.
In basketball, Griffith student Jesse Wagstaff is part of the Australia Boomers squad which opens its Commonwealth Games account against Canada at Cairns Convention Centre (5.30pm). Jesse (31) is studying a Master of Financial Planning after completing a Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning at Griffith Business School.
The second day of weightlifting competition at Carrara Sports Arena sees two members of Team Griffith in action. Alumnus Tegan Napper, who finished just outside the medals at the Glasgow Games four years ago, is up first in the Women’s 53k category (9.30am). Then it’s the turn of Business graduate, Brandon Wakeling, to contest the Men’s 69k category (2pm).
Current Students: Matthew Hauser (triathlon), Madison de Rozario (wheelchair athletics), Domonic Bedggood (diving), Tejaswinin Williamson (diving), Jesse Wagstaf (basketball), Brandon Wakeling (weightlifting), Stephanie Morton (cycling), Sara Tait (para triathlon), Jessica Ashwood (swimming), Georgia Bohl (swimming), Shayna Jack (swimming), Cameron McEvoy (swimming), Emma McKeon (swimming), Kiah Melverton (swimming), Leiston Pickett (swimming), Zac Stubblety-Cook (swimming), Matthew Denny (athletics), Riley Day (athletics), Liam Hunter (swimming), Skye Nicolson (boxing), John Lane (decathlon), Kelsey Cottrell (lawn bowls), Paul Adams (shooting), Georgina Friedrichs (rugby sevens).
Alumni: Michael Shelley (marathon), Shannon Parry (rugby sevens), Ash Gentle (triathlon), Deborah Acason (weightlifting), Katrin Garfoot (cycling), Chloe Hosking (cycling), Jake Fehlberg (lawn bowls, vision impaired), Tegan Napper (weightlifting), Murray Goodwin (athletics), Jordyn Holzberger (hockey), Sam Seghers (swimming), Michael Hosking (athletics).
Staff: Andrea Hams (weightlifting), Michael Bohl (swimming, coach).
Griffith Swimming Club: Madeline Groves, Grant Irvine, David McKeon.