Launceston’s Ariarne Titmus helped swim Australia to a Commonwealth Games-record victory in the women’s 4x200-metre freestyle relay final on Saturday night.
Titmus followed Emma McKeon, Brianna Throssell and Leah Neale in the water – stopping the clock at seven minutes and 48.04 seconds to clinch gold.
McKeon, who finished third in the individual 200m freestyle, set the pace with a 1:56.62 split while Throssell handed Neale a body-length lead.
Titmus, 17, was sensational, holding off a challenge from silver medallists Canada and England a fair way back in third.
It was Australia’s 11th medal of the Games in the pool and it followed Titmus’ silver medal in the 200m individual freestyle final on day one, when she fell just 0.04 seconds short of snatching the gold medal off Canadian teen Taylor Ruck.
Tasmanians Eddie Ockenden and Jeremy Edwards were given the testing start they wanted as the Kookaburras began their Commonwealth Games campaign with a 4-0 defeat of South Africa.
Two field goals from Trent Mitton and one from Aaron Kleinschmidt plus a Jeremy Hayward penalty corner conversion made the result look comfortable but both Hobartians said it was a rigorous opener to the team’s Commonwealth title defence.
“It was a tough game,” said Ockenden, who turned 30 the day before the opening ceremony.
“We knew it would be but we've been ready to go for a few days. It was what we expect against South Africa, a pretty solid team and a really good hit out for us.”
Edwards, 26, added: “Their keeper certainly had a good game and we missed one or two penalty corners on the trap. But if we get eight or nine penalty corners per game we'll be happy.
“We've been here for about 10 or 11 days training so we were all really keen to get into that and it was a lot of fun out there. Really rapt with that.”
The Tasmanians, who both played predominantly defensive roles in the side, said they were proud to be performing at a home Games.
Making his Commonwealth Games debut, Edwards said: “We don't normally get to play in front of home crowds so the Commonwealth Games is quite a rare opportunity for us to have a multi-sport tournament like this in Australia.”
Ockenden, who is chasing his third gold medal after New Delhi and Glasgow, added: “It's an unbelievable experience for all of us, we're very lucky to experience something like this.
“To have an Olympics or Comm Games in your home country is rare, looking at those who went before us, not many get to play in their home country so I think we're going to relish it. It's been a great experience so far.”
Australia next plays Scotland at 9.30pm on Sunday.
Tasmanian cyclists Amy Cure and Georgia Baker teamed up with South Australian Alex Manly in the women’s points race final but were unable to get among the medals at the Anna Meares Velodrome.
Welsh rider Elinor Barker took a lap and never looked back, claiming gold with 40 points, double that of Scot Katie Archibald in second.
Manly finished fourth with 14 points while Cure was seventh (eight points) and Baker 21st.
Cure, 25, of West Pine, was disappointed she could not provide more assistance for Manly with whom she shared team pursuit gold on Thursday.
“Alex was in a good position. I wanted to see what I could do to take the pressure off Alex but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. I’m going to rest up for tomorrow.”
In her only race at her maiden Commonwealth Games, Baker, 23, of Perth, said: “I’m feeling pretty tired, it was a hard race. Alex finished fourth which was good.
“We executed our plan and we got to the front of the race, but we got caught out of position.”
Asked how it felt to compete at her first Commonwealths two years after becoming an Olympian in Rio, Baker added: “It was great, it was my first time at the Commonwealth Games. I’m proud to be here and represent Australia and Tasmania.
“I've got heaps of family and friends to thank. My mum and my sister are my sideline champions. They support me every step of the way.”
Earlier on Saturday, Jake Birtwhistle claimed Tasmania’s fourth medal of the Games with a gold in the triathlon mixed team relay while the Australian women's four bowls team, featuring Rebecca Van Asch, qualified for the knockout stages of its tournament.
Maintaining its unbeaten record with a 14-13 defeat of Malaysia, Australia will take on Canada in the semi-final on Sunday morning at 9.01am.
Ariarne Titmus was in action late on Saturday night in the 4x200m freestyle relay final while Chris Goulding and Lucas Walker also faced a night shift as the Boomers took on New Zealand in Cairns.
Sunday is set to be another huge day for the Tasmanian competitors.
The Australian women's four bowls team featuring Rebecca Van Asch qualified for the knockout stages of its tournament, maintaining its unbeaten record with a 14-3 defeat of Malaysia.
Semi-finals begin on Sunday morning at 9am.
Titmus faces what she believes is going to be the toughest turnaround of her seven-race Gold Coast schedule.
The 17-year-old freestyler has to back up from the late Saturday final with heats for the 800m.
A field of 11 means heats are required for the longest of Titmus’s events, and she has been drawn in the second of those, at 12.11pm.
Cure has been named for the 10km scratch race which is now a straight final at 8.24pm while the opening day of the athletics program will also see Huw Peacock and Stewart McSweyn face straight finals at Carrara Stadium during the afternoon.
Peacock is due to lead off a field of 16 in the hammer from 2pm a few hours before McSweyn is part of a field of 17 in the 5000m.