Team strength shines brighter than gold: Perkins
SOMETHING more important than winning haphazard gold medals has happened in the Commonwealth Games pool over the past week ... we can salute a true Aussie swim "team".
Gold matters and we all get excited about it, but seeing a nation that is strong in depth with medal quinellas everywhere and gold-silver-bronze trifectas has really highlighted the talent coming through.
In my mind, it has been a fabulous meet because of that depth and I feel Australian swimming is moving into a purple patch.
The strength in the pool was not the same without the Americans and top European nations, but there were Canadian and English world record-holders, South African Olympic champions and Welsh and Scottish Olympic medallists at this meet.
As an old member of the swimming fraternity, what made me most proud was watching a team that looked happily bonded, swimmers supporting teammates and none of the fractured feeling that existed around the time of the 2012 London Olympics.
You watch a performance like Clyde Lewis winning the 400m individual medley, in an event he was called up late to swim, and you sense he was swimming strongly for Australia and his team as much as himself.
World class. There was plenty and I'm the first to put a hand up and say I expected Cate Campbell to win the 100m freestyle.
Sister Bronte swam a perfectly controlled race to come over the top of her over the last 15m. She stepped up and you want a team with those qualities.
I still believe Cate had an amazing meet with two individual golds and bringing home a world record in the freestyle relay.
There's going to be a discussion about the size of her program because 11 races in all, including three extra bursts in the 50m butterfly, was perhaps a little big and did open the door a bit for Bronte.
I could list 10 big moments in the pool but I'll give you five that have given me confidence in the run to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Kieren Perkins' Top Five Tokyo Pointers
1 Ariarne Titmus: Winning her first big international gold. She swam a world-class 800m in a personal best and the great American Olympic champion Katie Ledecky will be paying attention in the 400m and 800m after this meet.
2 The Campbell sisters: Great swim, great racing from Bronte and Cate with a strong start on the comeback trail.
3 The relays: The girls were superb and I liked the sensible racing and good sportsmanship of the men.
4 Mitch Larkin: My goodness. There's a good reason why no one had ever won the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke at the one Games before. It was a huge effort because the demands of the 50 and the 200 are so different.
5 The growing maturity of Mack Horton: He had the temperament to stick to his pace and game plan to come from behind to start the gold medals coming in the 400m freestyle on opening night.