Can Ipswich earn golden treble?

COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Ipswich swimming ace Karen Pickering has claimed another Commonwealth Games gold for England.Pickering sensationally anchored the England quartet to victory in last night's 4x200m freestyle relay final.

By Debbie Watson

IPSWICH swimming ace Karen Pickering has claimed another Commonwealth Games gold for England.

Pickering sensationally anchored the England quartet to victory in last night's 4x200m freestyle relay final.

That brought the 30-year-old's Commonwealth career tally to an impressive dozen medals, following her brilliant individual triumph in the 200m freestyle earlier this week.

And now, fellow England stars Leisa King and Jo Ellis could complete an incredible gold medal hat-trick for Ipswich at the games.

The Ipswich hockey players helped England to a memorable 2-1 victory over favourites Australia in the

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semi-final.

And only India stand in their way of bringing more glory to the town in tomorrow's final.

Pickering narrowly missed out on a medal in the 100m freestyle early yesterday evening, but was elated by her part in the relay success.

To the delight of the home fans, she completed the final leg of the team race with a strong sprint – helping to smash the games record in the process and inflicting a shock defeat on the all-conquering Australian quartet.

"I can hardly remember it," said Pickering. "I am in a daze after such a great race.

"I knew Petria Thomas (her Australian challenger in the last leg) had been in action and would be tired.

"I just thought of the guys cheering me on and I knew I couldn't let them down, but I was hurting so much."

Pickering was joined in the triumphant England team by 100m Freestyle bronze medallist Karen Legg, Joanna Fargus and Georgina Lee.

"We met up just before the race because we had all been doing our own events and we got stuck in," she added.

"I tried not to use my legs on the first 100 metres and let the crowd carry me through because I knew the Australian girl (Thomas) was tired too. Then it was all about who had the most passion.

"I could see and hear my team-mates and the crowd cheering and all the flags waving, it was fantastic.

"It has been a great night for English swimming and everyone should know the words of the anthem now!"

Pickering's impressive medal wins have helped to add extra pride to Suffolk in a fantastic sporting week for Ipswich.

King and Ellis have been particularly impressive as the host nation has swept towards hockey glory.

And Pickering's golden double today drew praise from Ipswich mayor Richard Risebrow.

He said: "We are all delighted with Karen's latest success – she's a golden girl indeed who has done so much to put Ipswich on the sporting map."

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