Matthew Ward Continues Backstroke Attack At Commonwealth Youth Games


  • Sunday, August 6th – Wednesday, August 9th (swimming)
  • National Aquatic Center, Couva, Trinidad & Tobago
  • LCM (50m)
  • Day 1 Recap
  • Results

Day two of the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games saw multiple meet records bite the dust when all was said and done at the National Aquatic Center in Couva.

Zoe Ammundsen of Australia kicked things off with a victory in the girls’ 50m backstroke, clocking a winning effort of 28.71. That result overtook the previous Games Record of 28.74 New Zealand’s Gabrielle Fa’amausili put on the books back in 2015.

As for Ammundsen, her gold medal-worthy time represents the 2nd fastest time of her career, sitting only behind her personal best of 28.50 posted at this year’s Australian Age Championships.

England’s Blythe Kinsman earned silver just a hair behind in 28.73 while Cayman Islands’ Jillian Crooks rounded out the podium in 29.51.

17-year-old Crooks bounced back, however, topping the girls’ 100m freestyle podium later on in the session.

The University of Tennesse commit produced a mark of 55.18 to grab the gold ahead of Aussie Inez Miller who settled for silver in 55.59. English swimmer Skye Carter bagged the bronze in a time of 56.21.

Crooks’ performance represents a new lifetime best, overtaking her own previous Cayman Islands’ national record of 55.32 notched in the 100m free heats at this year’s World Championships. There in Fukuoka, Crooks also established a new national mark in the 50m free with a time of 25.66 in the heats.

Scotland’s Matthew Ward backed up his 100m backstroke victory from night one with another win in the 50m back.

The swimmer from Mount Kelly snared the gold in a time of 25.51, hitting a new Games Record in the process.

In the heats, Ward already established a new Games Record with his top-seeded swim of 25.57. That earlier outing overtook the prior competition standard of 25.93 South Africa’s retired world champion Zane Waddell logged in 2015.

Trinidad & Tobago athlete Zarek Wilson snagged silver in a time of 26.18 while Bahamian Nigel Forbes also landed on the podium in 26.32 for bronze.

Nikoli Blackman of Trinidad & Tobago also earned a second gold, adding the boys’ 100m freestyle win to his previous victory in the 200m free from night one.

In the shorter distance, Tennesee commit Blackman posted a time of 49.60, earning the sole sub-50-second result of the field.

Behind him was the aforementioned Ward, with the Scot securing silver in 50.26. Marvin Johnson, Jr. of the Bahamas was the third-place finisher in 50.41.

Sienna Robinson of England also got in on the Games Record-breaking action, putting up a time of 32.09 to claim the gold in the girls’ 50m breaststroke.

As with Ward, Robinson’s morning time already established the new meet mark with her pole position-reaping time of 32.11. That overtook the previous record of 32.36 Jessica Legge of Australia put on the books in 2008.

Robinson then sliced an additional .02 off of the morning time to stand atop the podium. South Africa’s Simone Moll hit 32.34 as the silver medalist while Welsh swimmer Theodora Taylor also claimed a medal in 32.60 for bronze.

Additional Winners

  • England’s Oscar Bilbao followed up his night one 200m breast win with a gold in the boys’ 50m breast on night two. Bilbao clocked a time of 28.60 to comfortably defeat Jersey’s Filip Nowacki who was at the wall in 29.08 for silver. Kiwi swimmer Caleb Carlisle touched in 29.24 for bronze.
  • Northern Ireland’s Grace Davison was the girls’ 400m IM winner, hitting 4:57.68 while Reece Grady of England got it done for the men in 4:25.16.
  • The nation of Australia captured the mixed 4x200m free relay victory, producing a winning effort of 7:45.74. Jye Bennion led off with a 1:52.53 split before Harvey Larke continued the speed with a second leg of 1:51.87. Mikayla Bird was next in line, logging a split of 2:01.21 and Inez Miller sealed the deal with an anchor of 2:00.13 for the Aussies.

Through two days of competition, England leads the swimming medal table with a total of 12 pieces of hardware, including 4 golds, 6 silvers and 12 bronze.

Scotland is currently in second place, having produced 6 medal-worthy performances comprised of 4 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze.

Australia is also among the top 3, with 9 medals comprised of 3 golds, 2 silvers and 4 bronze.

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10 months ago

One of Gb’s top talents this year! But, off to Bath to be Mat Richard…

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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