Superb Larkin completes Triple Crown
MITCH Larkin last night swept to an unprecedented "Triple Crown" as the Commonwealth's supreme backstroker with a third gold medal through the turbulence created by the needless melodrama from girlfriend Emily Seebohm.
The lean Brisbane swimmer grabbed the 200m backstroke in style with a superbly paced race to add to the 100m and 50m golds he had earlier won in the Commonwealth Games pool.
At 24, Larkin's best may now still be ahead of him at a third Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 because he was all confidence and technical excellence when it mattered to lead an Aussie trifecta to the wall.
Larkin (1 min 56.10 sec) stormed home down the last lap after silver medallist Brad Woodward (1:56.57) had led him through the middle 100m while Josh Beaver (1:57.04) grabbed bronze.
"Unbelievable. The medals mean so much more (than just medals) ... they represent so much hard training, all the ups-and-downs," Larkin said.
Larkin has three golds and will shoot for two more on Tuesday night's closing session at the pool in the 200m individual medley and medley relay.
Would he pushing himself to swim the 200IM?
"Oh, yeah," Larkin said.
The swimmer, who counts an autographed US Olympic swim cap from superstar Michael Phelps as one of the prized momentoes from his teens, is building a formidable collection of bling for himself.
On Tuesday night, he will shoot for a fourth Commonwealth Games gold medal to go with his 2014 title in Glasgow and two gongs as a world champion in 2015.
The 50m backstroke is a relatively new addition to the list of events (2002) yet no one since Larkin last night had really even contemplated anyone being adaptable enough to win the 50-100-200 treble for the first time.
Only pool greats Ian Thorpe (2002) and Kieren Perkins (1994) had previously won three golds in a single men's stroke, freestyle, at previous Games.
A delighted Seebohm hugged Larkin in congratulations on pooldeck. It was a wonderful moment for Australia's first family of backstroking.
It just didn't need the 24 hours of angst that Seebohm triggered herself in a post-race interview following Sunday night's 200m backstroke bronze.
Seebohm's blame-game that she was down on confidence for the media not pumping up her silver medal effort against a Canadian world record-holder in the 100m earlier in the meet was both ridiculous and inaccurate.
Seebohm had been saluted for nearly pulling off the giant-killing act of the meet by getting within .03 sec of Kylie Masse when out-touched on the wall.
For a massive Taylor Swift fan, Seebohm didn't learn anything from the lyric "I swear I don't love the drama, it loves me" when she took a poke at the media sapping her confidence when any athlete should always rise above the good, bad and the neutral.
Woodward was ecstatic with silver: "Two PBs and two silvers and to go 1-2-3 with the boys ... fantastic."