Sophie Pascoe breaks pool medal drought
The floodgates opened for Sophie Pascoe and the New Zealand swimming team in Glasgow this morning.
Pascoe couldn't stem the flow of tears as she took to the podium to claim her Commonwealth Games gold medal for winning the women's 100m breaststroke SB9 final.
The 21-year-old para-swimmer from Christchurch recorded a winning time of one minute 19.36 - just shy of her personal best - to grab New Zealand's first swimming gold and first medal on the fourth day of competition at the Tollcross pool.
With her mother, father, sister and sister's partner all in attendance, Pascoe - who had her left leg amputated below the knee following an accident with a ride-on mower as a two-year-old - was overwhelmed by her win.
"It's really been an emotional day," she said among sobs.
"I have more events to come too. There's the IM [200m individual medley] on Tuesday and then the Pan Pacs, which is our pinnacle event straight after."
Pascoe was over two seconds quicker than silver medalist Madeleine Scott of Australia, while the Games' youngest competitor, Scotland's Erraid Davies was third.
Pascoe's Kiwi team-mate Nikita Howarth, having moved up a category to compete at Glasgow, was seventh in the same final.
The victory added to Pascoe's impressive medal haul in recent years. She won five golds at the IPC world championships - three in world-record time - at last year's meet in Montreal and three gold and three silver at the 2012 London Paralympics.
Pascoe's other event in Glasgow in the SM10 category is on the final day of the six-day swim competition and starts with a heat on Tuesday night.
She will be heavily favoured to grab another gold, while her Athletes' Village room-mate Lauren Boyle will also be after gold in the women's 800m freestyle on Tuesday morning.
Boyle won her heat in 8:24.85 after a tight tussle throughout with Australia's Alanna Bowers. She was the second-fastest qualifier for the final behind Wales' Jazmin Carlin, who set a Commonwealth Games record of 8:22.69 in the final heat.
"I'll be down here supporting her all the way - I'm not going to say exactly what I think she's going to do," Pascoe said.
"But she's had a really good preparation heading up to this."
Boyle will also pursue gold in the women's 400m freestyle on the final day of competition in the pool.
After a disappointing fifth in the 100m breaststroke final the previous night, Glenn Snyders was third in his men's 50m breaststroke semifinal in 27.43 seconds. That qualified him for a star-studded final tomorrow as the sixth-fastest entry.
The men's 4x200m freestyle relay quartet of Matthew Stanley, Mitchell Donaldson, Ewan Jackson and Dylan Dunlop-Barrett were fifth in their final in an unofficial new national record time of 7:14.63, as Australia, Scotland and South Africa took the major medals.
Samantha Lucie-Smith was 12th overall in the 100m freestyle after finishing fifth in her semifinal in 56.09s.
There was a familiar name among the medals for NZ swimming fans too as Australian Ben Treffers won the men's 50m backstroke title. Treffers is the son of Kiwi Mark Treffers, who won three Commonwealth Games medals in the pool, including gold in the 400IM at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.