James Wilby leaves Birmingham with double gold success

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Team England's James Wilby in action during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
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James Wilby played his part in England’s stunning men’s 4x100m medley relay victory to win his second gold of the Commonwealth Games.

The 28-year-old built further on his individual heroics in the 100m breaststroke in the absence of Adam Peaty, who recovered from defeat to win the 50m title but not race relays.

Wilby was instrumental as England defied a highly fancied Australian quartet to win the medley relay title in thrilling fashion, by a margin of eight-hundredths of a second.

He said: “It’s an important race to us, we really enjoy doing relays.

“To be able to just pip the Aussies is good. We’re all carrying a lot of fatigue, but we put it in when it mattered.”

Wilby took over from 200m backstroke champion Brodie Williams with a 0.05 advantage and extended that to 0.75 with a superb swim.

The York-born star split 59.22 for 100m to pull clear of 200m Olympic champion and world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook.

Wilby was left to watch and roar from the pool deck as James Guy was reeled in somewhat by Matthew Temple but still maintained a healthy advantage.

Then one of the best battles of the whole meet ensued on the final leg as England’s Tom Dean and Australia’s Kyle Chalmers duelled from 100, with Dean winning it at the touch.

It meant Wilby’s haul for the Games swelled to four.

Guy said: “When you swim in a relay, you have the whole country behind you. Tonight, was a real dogfight between us and the Aussies.

“We knew it would be tight, but it was about swimming a smart race and getting the tactics right, which we did. It’s the best crowd I’ve ever heard.

“When they’re cheering for us, it’s so much more inspirational. It’s great to end the week on a high.”

It was a perfect end to a record-breaking week for Dean who won six silvers and this gold, more than any England athlete at a single Commonwealth Games.

Dean said: “I showed how much it meant to me; it was pure emotion coming up. Six silvers, to finally get gold at the end means the world. It’s the first time we’ve had this medley combination and all the boys executed the perfect race plan.”

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