Commonwealth Games 2014: Night of the dragon as Jazz Carlin gives Wales gold in 800m freestyle swim

Rebecca Adlington was poolside to see Carlin finally come good and bring a golden end to two years of frustration

Tollcross swimming centre

Scotland have had their night in the pool, so too England. Last night, it was the Welsh turn. Jazz Carlin produced one of the best British swims of a reinvigorating week for the home nations, a perfectly timed performance taking her away from the 800m freestyle field to claim a first swimming gold for Wales.

Carlin has long been nurtured as one of the big hopes of British swimming, even earmarked as the woman to succeed Rebecca Adlington one day in the distance events. Adlington was poolside on Monday night to see Carlin finally come good and bring a golden end to two years of frustration. After becoming the first Welsh woman in 40 years to win gold, there is the chance of another this evening in the 400m freestyle. Double up and the Adlington comparison might begin to hold water.

“After two years of disappointments Jazz really deserved that,” said Adlington. “She has put in so much hard work.”

Carlin is only 23 yet this is her third Commonwealth Games. She has yet to make an Olympic Games, failing to qualify for Team GB after suffering with glandular fever during the trials. Then among the sweeping changes post-Games, she lost her funding and her coach, Bud McAllister, who returned to Australia. Last year she missed out on a medal at the world championships by her fingertips.

 

That at least got her back on the funding programme and last night, her nails decorated with dragons, she made no mistake. Now she can look forward to next year’s world championships and, beyond that, Rio 2016.

Her failing at the World Championships in Barcelona was an inability to close out a race, tiring over the last 50m. That is the area she has focused on in training in Swansea, and in occasional intensive camps with McAllister in Australia. She has not seen McAllister for two months, their contact limited to phone calls and emails. On this evidence, it has not limited her.

She and New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle were neck and neck for 14 of the 16 lengths before Carlin made her move. A lead of 0.45sec with 100m to go became 1.04sec with 50m left. Her dragons stopped the clock at 8min 18.11sec, a personal best by four seconds and a new Games record. It is seven seconds short of the world mark of Katie Ledecky – the 17-year-old who stunned Adlington in London – set in June, but Carlin’s time would have won her silver in London. This is a swimmer heading in the right direction.

Sophie Taylor, right, embraces Australia’s Lorna Tonks on the podium Sophie Taylor, right, embraces Australia’s Lorna Tonks on the podium (PA)

“Coming away with a gold medal makes you really appreciate what you’ve been through,” said Carlin. “I’ve overcome some real lows and hard times. It really does make it really special and so emotional, that’s why I was crying so much.

“It was a really difficult time for me with Bud moving to Australia. It has been tough – I’ve just had to get on with it with Glasgow in the back of my mind – it’s always been a big target. I’ve just kept my head down and worked as hard as I have ever done.”

Sophie Taylor took a surprise gold in the 100m breaststroke, the 18-year-old from Yorkshire becoming the third English teenager to stand on top of the podium in Tollcross after Ben Proud and Adam Peaty. Last night Peaty took a breathless silver behind the South African world record holder Cameron van der Burgh in the 50m breaststroke to add to his 100m gold from Saturday, while Proud will swim for his second gold tonight after qualifying fastest in the splash and dash, 50m freestyle.

Alia Atkinson had threatened a first swimming gold for Jamaica, leading with three quarters of the race gone, but abruptly ran out of gas. Taylor needed no second invitation.

“I could see Alia next to me,” said Taylor. “I could see she was dying, so I just gave it my all.”

Adam Peaty took silver in the 50m breaststroke yesterday after his gold in the 100m on Saturday Adam Peaty took silver in the 50m breaststroke yesterday after his gold in the 100m on Saturday (Getty)

With Peaty, Ross Murdoch and Michael Jamieson, British breaststroking is in a good place right now, although as Jon Rudd, England’s head coach, would no doubt point out Taylor remains someway short of matching Plymouth-based world-record holder Ruta Meilutyte. Rudd’s day job is coaching the Lithuanian, who is still only 17. 

There was also a silver for Aimee Willmott in the 200m fly after she faded in the closing stages and there was a bronze for Adam Barrett in the 100m fly.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent