Canada's Mac Neil, Turbide capture swimming gold at Commonwealth Games

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BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom — Canada's Maggie Mac Neil added another victory to her illustrious swimming resume.

The Olympic and world champion won the women's 100-metre butterfly on Saturday at the Commonwealth Games, while Nicolas-Guy Turbide raced to gold in the Para 50 freestyle.

Mac Neil, a 22-year-old from London, Ont., raced to a Games record of 56.36 seconds, edging Australia's Emma McKeon (56.38).

She then teamed up with Summer McIntosh, Katerine Savard and Rebecca Smith to win bronze in the 4x100 relay.

Mac Neil, who captured gold in the 100 fly at last summer's Tokyo Olympics, already had three medals through just two days in Birmingham. She was part of the mixed freestyle relay that captured bronze on Friday.

‘’I was really motivated to get back,’’ Mac Neil said. ‘’I’m extremely proud to win the gold here at my first Commonwealth Games. At the worlds I got my feet a little bit wet but I knew the focus was going to be these Games.’’

Turbide’s race was even closer. The two-time Paralympian clocked a Games record and Canadian record for the S13 category, posting a 24.32 in the men’s 50-m freestyle for the visually impaired. He edged Stephen Clegg of Scotland by a mere 0.01 seconds (24.33) while Jacob Templeton of Australia was third in 24.47.

‘’I executed the race plan exactly the way I wanted to,’’ said Turbide, world champion in the 100-m backstroke and silver medallist at last year’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

‘’I had just one key in my head which was to keep my head down in the last 15 metres and touch the wall first. ’I usually struggle with that and keep my head up too much, but I didn’t do that and that’s what got me on top on the podium.’’

The men's 4x100 free relay of Josh Liendo, Ruslan Gaziev, Finlay Knox and Javier Acevedo also won bronze.

Kelsey Mitchell raced to silver in the women's track cycling sprint race, her second medal of the Games.

A day earlier, the Olympic champion raced to silver in the sprint team event with Sarah Orban and Lauriane Genest.

"Consistently silver," Mitchell said. "Every competition's tough, you go out there and give your best. Coming here today, obviously you go in to try and win that gold and win every race that you do. Came up a little bit short, but gave it my all. I'm happy to walk away with a silver."

New Zealand's Ellesse Andrews won the gold.

Mitchell, a 28-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., captured gold in the sprint at last summer's Tokyo Olympics.

Hannah Kaminski of Calgary won bronze in the women's 49-kilogram weightlifting class.

"I came into this competition knowing that if I just did what I have been doing in training that I was in contention for a medal, so I haven't quite wrapped my brain around the fact that I did that," Kaminski said. "And it's just really lit a fire under my butt to get back to training and keep doing what I've been doing, because I know that I'm on the right track. This was just like a kick in the pants from the universe to be like, 'Yep, you're doing what you need to do.'"

Canada's Emma Spence, Jenna Lalonde, Laurie Denommee, Maya Zonneveld, and Cassandra Lee captured bronze in the gymnastics team event.

Saturday's medals boosted Canada's total to 11.

The Canadian team won 82 at the Games four years ago in Australia.

Wheelchair racer Josh Cassidy of Port Elgin, Ont., one of Canada's flag-bearers in Thursday's opening ceremonies, was fourth in the marathon. He finished in one hour 47 minutes 47 seconds.

"The course was tough, technical," Cassidy said. "I love the technical aspects, but the hills and the elevation was a grind for sure."

Matthew Sarmento scored the lone goal for Canada's men's field hockey team in a 5-1 loss to Wales.

"Today we opened far too defensively and I as coach am responsible for that as it was my decision," said interim head coach Peter Milkovich. "I think what we really needed was to get our legs under us by pressing in the first quarter in order to create more opportunities to attack and maintain possession. I am pleased with the effort but disappointed with the result against a very strong opposition."

The Canadian women opened the 3x3 wheelchair basketball competition on Saturday with a win and loss.

In the team's first game Canada defeated the British Virgin Islands 22-6, but Canada then dropped a 21-11 decision to New Zealand.

“I think we started off a little slow. We definitely had some nerves going in but after we got going a bit we just relaxed and just played basketball,” coach Taya Hanson said.

Canada plays England on Sunday.

On the men’s side, Canada defeated Northern Ireland 13-5 to conclude their pool round play. Colin Higgins paced Canada with six points and six rebounds in the win.

“Today was a lot of fun,” said Higgins. “We knew what to expect; we hit a couple more shots and played some good defence. It’s good to get that win.”

Bo Hedges finished with four points, and seven rebounds, and Vincent Dallaire added three points and three rebounds in the victory. Canada now awaits the conclusion of the pool round play on Sunday to determine their Monday opponent.

The Games run through Aug. 8.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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