11 August 2016
Australia is aiming for its first 100m freestyle double in 56 years on day six of the Rio Olympics after teenager Kyle Chalmers claimed gold in the men’s event.
Cate Campbell will start favourite for the women’s 100m final after breaking the Olympic record twice, in the heats and semi-final, making the prospect of double gold in the glamour events very real.
Chalmers, 18, showed his finishing prowess by mowing down the field to become the first Australian since Michael Wenden in 1968 to win the men’s Olympic 100m freestyle.
“It’s unbelievable, I mean I’m only 18,” said Chalmers, whose father Brett played 75 AFL matches with Port Adelaide and the Adelaide Crows between 1994 and 1999.
“I knew I had to stick to my guns. They were out pretty fast and probably a body length in front of me at the turn, but once I hit the turn I had to build.”
The last time Australia won both women’s and men’s 100m freestyle titles at an Olympic Games was in Rome in 1960 with John Devitt and Dawn Fraser.
An Australian has been on the 100m freestyle men’s podium at the past three Olympics with James Magnussen and Eamon Sullivan finishing second in 2012 and 2008 respectively and Ian Thorpe winning bronze in 2004.
It was a great night in the pool for the Dolphins, who also collected two silver medals. Madeline Groves collected Australia’s first silver medal of the Games in the women’s 200m butterfly, before the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team held on for second behind the USA.
Groves, an Olympic debutant who swam a personal best, missed out by just .003 of a second on the gold, won by Spain’s Mireia Belmonte.
“It was such an incredible experience,” she said. “I left everything in the pool.”
The relay team of Leah Neale, Emma McKeon, Bronte Barratt and Tamsin Cook swam strongly, pushing the American team right to the finish.
Earlier, the Australian men's basketball team pushed the USA Dream Team in their Group A clash with the Americans coming out 98-88 winners.
Australia sits fourth on the medal table after day five with 12 medals overall, including five golds, two silver and five bronze.