English swimmer Sarah Hardcastle came within a fraction of a second Tuesday of breaking Tracey Wickham's world 800-meter freestyle record during competition on the sixth day of the Commonwealth Games.
The 17-year-old Hardcastle won her second gold medal of the games as she set a European record of 8 minutes 24.77 seconds, the second-best time ever recorded and just .15 of a second outside the Australian's 8-year-old mark.
Her performance capped another fine day for England, which joined Australia at the top of the medals' leaders with 71. Canada has 57.
The English have 27 gold medals, Australia has 26 and Canada 25.
As track and field athletes had the first of two successive rest days, the action centered on the rowing competition in the afternoon and the swimming pool in the evening.
England's Steve Redgrave became the first man ever to win three Commonwealth Games rowing gold medals on the last day of competition at Strathclyde Park.
Redgrave added the coxless pairs and the coxed fours titles to the single sculls gold he won Monday.
His performances helped England to overall first place in rowing with five gold medals. Australia and Canada both took four.
New Zealand's rowers were edged for the gold medal in two successive races.
Its men's coxless fours could not quite catch Canada. Bronze medalist England missed the gold for the first time in Commonwealth competition.
Women's rowing entered the games for the first time this year, and New Zealand's Philippa Baker came within a few inches of upsetting Australia's Adair Ferguson in the lightweight single sculls.
But gold finally came New Zealand's way when Stephanie Foster won the women's single sculls.
The biggest cheer of the day, however, was reserved for Hardcastle.
"I didn't think I would go anywhere near world-record pace. I am more than pleased but disappointed at the same time," she said.
"I honestly felt sick inside, but I made myself kick. It hurt all the way. It was great to go faster than an East German for a change."
Hardcastle's time bettered the previous European best of 8:26.52, set by East Germany's Astrid Strauss.
Her showing also overshadowed a superb performance by Australia's Susie Baumer, who won the women's 200-meter freestyle after being the slowest qualifier.
Drawn in one of the outside lanes, rather than in the favored center of the pool, the Australian posted 2:00.61, almost six seconds better than her heat time.
Her victory robbed Canadian Jane Kerr of a 100- and 200-meter freestyle double. Kerr had to be satisfied with the silver.
Anthony Mosse collected New Zealand's second swimming gold of the games, upsetting Canadian favorite, Tom Ponting, in the 200-meter butterfly.
In the cycling's 4,000-meter individual pursuit final, Dean Woods of Australia beat Colin Sturgess of England to take the gold medal.
Kelvin Roy of Canada won the 110-kilogram (243-pound) category in weightlifting, while defending champion Dean Lukin of Australia took the 110-kg plus division.