Gold: Col Pearse wins in Birmingham

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Winner: Australia's Col Pearse celebrates after the Men's 100m Butterfly S10 Final of the swimming competition at the Commonwealth Games, at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Birmingham, England, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. Photo: (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi) Photo by Aijaz Rahi

Bamawm’s Col Pearse is a Commonwealth Games champion after claiming the gold medal in the men’s S10 100m butterfly on Wednesday morning.

The 19-year-old joined the Australian gold deluge in Birmingham with a phenomenal swim in his pet event, beating countryman Alex Saffy and England’s James Hollis to the wall in a time of 56.91, a personal-best time for Pearse.

Pearse went neck-and-neck with the seven-swimmer field until the 75m mark, pulling away to claim his first international gold nearly one second quicker than Saffy.

The Tokyo Paralympic bronze medallist in the butterfly has gone one better at the Commonwealth Games, and has improved on his 57.66 swim in Japan as he reaffirmed his status as one of the promising young forces of Australian swimming.

He also becomes the first in history to claim a Commonwealth Games gold in the S10 butterfly over 100m after its introduction for the 2022 edition.

Gold in Birmingham has capped off a stellar run of recent form for Pearse, with a silver double at the recent World Paraswimming Championships in Madeira, a bronze at the 2019 edition of the World’s, and of course his Paralympic bronze.

However, it was this swim that had a touch of added pressure to it.

With no crowds permitted at the Tokyo Games and lower spectator numbers at previous events, Pearse swam in front of the biggest crowd of his young career.

“He was really nervous in front of the crowd, because there aren’t usually a lot of people at multi-class athlete swims,” said Col’s mother, Teena.

Pearse claimed Australia’s 40th gold at the 2022 edition, a total that has now swelled to 46, with 123 medals overall for the green and gold.

Now a member of the illustrious gold medal club, Pearse also joined another local legend in that exclusive club after his golden swim.

He becomes Bamawm’s second Commonwealth Games gold medallist after Australian Diamonds legend Sharelle McMahon, who claimed gold medals at the 1998 and 2002 games.

McMahon is currently in attendance at the Commonwealth Games as one of the general managers of the Australian team in Birmingham, the largest representation at the Games in the country’s history.

With his campaign in Birmingham now complete, Pearse will return home for a two-month break out of the pool, before commencing training for the Paris 2024 Paralympics.

Turn to page 3 to get Pearse family reaction to Col’s swim.