“Bittersweet” gold medal for Sophie Pascoe

Sophie Pascoe has called her first gold medal of these Commonwealth Games ‘bittersweet‘, despite finishing two body-lengths ahead of her nearest rival.

Photo: Photosport

Pascoe won New Zealand‘s first gold medal in the pool at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, with victory in the SM10 200m individual medley.

Pascoe went into the race as the favourite, as both the reigning Paralympic champion and the defending champion from the Glasgow Games four years ago.

She led from start to finish, but was about three seconds off her world record time of 2:24.90s, which she set at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Pascoe was visibly exhausted after the final and was checked by medical staff before the medal ceremony, after she nearly collapsed on her way back to the changing area.

That was the result of “a very tough race”, she said.

“I gave it everything and obviously the body wasn‘t responding afterwards.

“That‘s obviously bound to happen if you give everything and your body‘s full of lactic acid.”

She had been in “great spirits” going into the race, she said.

“So to see the time and not come out with what I wanted is obviously a little bit disappointing

“It was a little bit bittersweet at the end … but I gave it everything I possibly could.”

The race, and the Commonwealth Games, was useful preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she said she expected to go a lot faster.

“I got the gold, yes, but we‘ve got a lot to work on… I‘m hungry to work on that.”

New Zealand has now won two medals in the pool, with Lewis Clareburt winning a bronze medal

on Friday in the 400m individual medley.

Lewis Clareburt Photo: Photosport

Clareburt missed out on another medal on Saturday, finishing seventh in the men‘s 200m butterfly final.

He “got smoked” off the the start before regaining some pace over the first 100 metres, he said.

“And then those big boys just had their turns on me – they had really quick turns and powerful underwater [sections], which I‘m sort of lacking at the moment.”

Teammate Daniel Hunter broke his own New Zealand record to qualify for the men‘s 100m freestyle final, with a time of 49.11s.

He was now gunning for a sub-49-second swim.

“That‘s been a goal for a long time. To have a [personal best] tonight for the first time since trials for Rio is the first step towards it – so exciting.

“I really hope I can get under that 49 barrier tomorrow night.”