Jones, Coutts join greats of pool

Leisel Jones confirmed her status as a Commonwealth Games legend and Alicia Coutts its newest star as Australia’s women wrapped up their Delhi domination in style on Saturday night.

In a fitting finale to an eventful six-day swimming program at the Dr SP Mukherjee Aquatic Complex, Australia’s 4×100 medley relay team of Jones, Coutts, Emily Seebohm and Jess Schipper powered home to smash England and Canada.

It ensured the women contributed 16 of Australia’s 22 gold medals for the meet but also sealed a fine list of individual achievements for some of Australia’s golden girls.

Breaststroke queen Jones joined Ian Thorpe and Susie O’Neill as the most successful Commonwealth Games athletes of all time with her 10th gold medal.

Coutts, meanwhile, claimed her fifth gold medal, a stunning achievement in her first Commonwealth Games and only one off the record for a single Games – also shared by Thorpe and O’Neill.

“I don’t think the other ones have sunk in yet,” Coutts said.

The 23-year-old overshadowed Australia’s predicted star of the Games Emily Seebohm, but the 18-year-old ironwoman impressed in her own right, with the relay win securing her third gold and eighth medal from as many events.

The boys got in on the party when Geoff Huegill, Brenton Rickard, Eamon Sullivan and Ashley Delaney claimed victory in the 4x100m medley, ensuring Huegill claimed two golds and a silver in his fairytale comeback to the pool.

Their win over South Africa and England in Commonwealth Games record time ensured Australia’s first clean sweep of all four relays since 1998.

With Schipper and Rickard also adding individual gold medals on Saturday night, it took Australia’s tally in the pool to 54 – 22 golds, 16 silver and 16 bronze.

It was the same amount of medals achieved on home soil in Melbourne four years ago, but with three more gold medals.

The Dolphins also proved a point two years out from the London 2012 Olympics, restricting the British nations to just nine golds, 10 silver and 15 bronze combined.

Earlier, Schipper ended a long week of waiting around to claim gold in the 200m butterfly, her only event after missing out on the 100 fly.

“I told myself it was my only swim, just go. If I die, it will be alright,” Schipper said.

Proving the boys are back in town after Huegill ended an eight-year wait for an individual male gold medal on Friday night, Rickard (2:10.89) stormed to an impressive victory in the 200m breaststroke.

“In tough conditions on the last night of racing to get up there and win the touch for once is an awfully nice feeling,” he said.

Christian Sprenger took bronze while Samantha Hamill proved another ironwoman in the making by taking silver in the 400m IM just half an hour after the 200m butterfly final.

Ryan Napoleon couldn’t grab his third medal in the 1500m, fading to sixth with his interrupted preparations appearing to take their toll.

Eamon Sullivan finished a disappointing seventh in the 50m freestyle final behind, Canada’s former world champion Brent Hayden.

The meet suffered early on from a host of athletes being struck down with stomach problems.

Officials insisted the pool was not the cause of the spreading sickness, despite it appearing slightly murky on the final night of racing.