Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Medley star Lewis Clareburt improves on Gold Coast bronze in pool

Kiwi swim star Lewis Clareburt has delivered on his promise to climb higher up the Commonwealth Games medal podium, claiming gold in his specialist 400m individual medley at Birmingham.

Four years ago, Clareburt finished third in the same event, then followed up with seventh at last year's Tokyo Olympics, but the all-rounder would not be denied at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, shattering the Games record to finish clear of his rivals.

After qualifying as the fastest through heats overnight (NZ time), the Gold Coast bronze medallist occupied one of the coveted centre lanes for the final and took advantage of that vantage point.

Cameron Gray celebrates bronze at Birmingham
Cameron Gray celebrates bronze at Birmingham. Photo credit: Getty

He trailled South African Matthew Sates through the opening 50 metres of butterfly, but assumed the lead over the second length of the pool and never relinquished that position.

Closest rivals Bendon Smith of Australia and Scott Duncan Scott closed over the final freestyle discipline, but Clareburt had more than enough up his sleeve to hold on, clocking 4m 08.70s.

He will return later in the programme, chasing another medal over 200m individual medley.

Earlier, Cameron Gray grabbed a shock bronze medal from the outside lanes of the 50m butterfly final, while backstroker Andrew Jeffcoat faded in the final metres to miss the podium by 0.07s over 100m.

Gray had barely progressed through heats and semis among the slowest qualifiers at each stage, and was slowed off the blocks in the final, before storming home to ambush his more illustrious rivals over the final metres.

His 23.27s was well behind English winner Ben Proud's Games record (22.81s), but just 0.06s off silver, and barely held off Trinidadian Dylan Carter (22.28s) and England's Jacob Peters (23.29s) for the podium.