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Fiji and New Caledonia celebrated multiple titles on the third day of swimming competition at Samoa 2019 as the Cook Islands clinched a maiden gold medal in the sport at the Pacific Games.
Wesley Roberts produced the moment of Cook Islands history in the Faleata Aquatics Centre here as he triumphed in the opening event of the evening's finals.
The Rio 2016 Olympian secured victory in the men's 200 metres freestyle in 1min 51.36sec, holding off Tahiti's Rahiti De Vos, who ended second in 1:52.67.
New Caledonia's Thibaut Mary took bronze in 1:52.78.
Another long wait also came to an end as Fiji's Matelita Buadromo finally secured a Pacific Games title after numerous near misses.
Buadromo won her 18th Pacific Games medal, but first gold, when she won the women's 200m freestyle final in 2:08.58.
The Fijian, who had previously won 10 silver and seven bronze, finished ahead of May Toven and Maiana Flament.
The duo, both from New Caledonia, clocked 2:10.21 and 2:11.36 respectively.
After the long wait for gold, Buadromo's second came quickly as she formed part of Fiji's winning women's 4x100m freestyle relay team.
The team triumphed in 3:58.24 and ended two seconds clear of their nearest rivals New Caledonia.
Bronze was earned by the host nation Samoa as their team ended third in 4:00.90.
Further Fijian gold came in the women's 50m breaststroke where Moana Wind stormed to victory.
Wind produced a time of 33.39 seconds to finish ahead of Tiali Scanian, who touched home in 33.98 for the silver.
Scanian's effort would give American Samoa their maiden swimming medal at a Pacific Games and first in any sport at Samoa 2019.
Tahiti's Poerani Betrand rounded off the medal positions by placing third in 34.09.
New Caledonia's swimming domination would continue to be one of the stories of the Games so far, as their athletes earned a further four gold medals.
Emma Terebo defended her women's 100m backstroke title from Port Moresby 2015 as she triumphed in a time of 1:02.96.
Terebo was followed by the Samoan duo of Lushavel Stickland and Lauren Sale, with the home favourites completing the podium in 1:04.43 and 1:06.65 respectively.
New Caledonia enjoyed a one-two in the men's event as Emmanuel Limozin and Julien-Pierre Goyetche clocked 58.60 and 58.92 respectively.
Tahiti's Teiki Dupont placed third in 58.99.
Thomas Oswald won the men's 50m breaststroke in 28.36, as Guam's Benajamin Schulte and Fiji’s Epeli Rabua managed times of 28.75 and 28.89 to win the minor medals behind the New Caledonian swimmer.
New Caledonia secured their fourth swimming title of the day by winning the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay in 3:23.21, with Tahiti and Fiji ending seven and 10 seconds off the pace respectively.
The success gave New Caledonia their 15th swimming gold medal of the Games, more than any other nation has won across all sport at Samoa 2019 to date.
Their dominance was not just restricted to the swimming pool, as New Caledonia topped the podiums in both the team squash events.
Their women's team beat hosts Samoa 3-0 in the final after Fiji had overcome Papua New Guinea 2-1 in the bronze medal contest.
New Caledonia's men's squad brushed aside the challenge of Papua New Guinea by winning 3-0 to seal the double gold.
Samoa secured bronze by beating Tahiti.
SOURCE: INSIDE THE GAMES/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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