BIRKDALE'S golden girl, Alicia Coutts, is being hailed as Australia's darling of the London Olympics after winning four medals from four races.
Olympic commentators are now tipping the 24-year-old as hot favourite to carry the Australian flag at the closing ceremony.
On day five of the games, she had won half of Australia's six medals and had more medals than the entire British team put together.
Coutts won gold in the 100m freestyle relay on Sunday, bronze in the 100m butterfly on Monday, silver in the 200m individual medley on Wednesday and silver in the 200m freestyle relay early yesterday.
She has another tilt at a medal when she races in the 100m medley relay, the heats of which start tonight, Friday, August 3 at 8.45pm (AEST), before the finals are held on Sunday, August 5, at 5.07am (AEST).
After winning silver in the individual medley, Coutts was thrilled to have chalked up a personal best time of 2min 8.15sec for the event.
She criticised speculation about Chinese competitor Ye Shiwen, who won gold in the event and in the 400m individual medley.
Ye broke the world record for the event in 2min.07.57sec, clocking the fastest time for the freestyle leg of 28.93sec. That was even faster than US champion Ryan Lochte, who swam a freestyle lap in 29.10sec.
Coutts' medal haul was lauded by Olympic gold medallist Ashley Callus, from Cleveland, who trained alongside her at Cleveland pool, under coach David Urquhart.
"Alicia has deserved every one of her medals and it's great to see that she's single-handedly beating the Brits," Callus said.
He said the criticism of Ye, who beat Coutts in the 200m individual medley, was "unfounded" until anything "untoward" was proven.
"But I would assume that if the Chinese athlete is found to be taking performance-enhancing drugs, the medal would be stripped from her and Couttsy would come into the gold medal position and Rice into third."From page 1
Mr Urquhart, now Swimming Australia president, said he spent the past week on the pool deck urging on Alicia, his former protege.
He had also met Alicia's mum, Julie, and brother Brad, both in London for 10 days.
"I've known Julie for many years and they are all having a great time here in London and are using the flags The Redland Times gave them," Mr Urquhart said.
"Julie can't get into the Olympic Village but I have accreditation and I know Alicia is fine and relaxed.
"She's swum extremely well in London and her performance in the 100m butterfly was superb she was only beaten by American Dana Vollmer who set a world record.
"But nobody here has speculated on whether she will carry the flag at the closing ceremony."
Australian Olympic commentators expect Alicia to be chosen to carry the Australian flag at the ceremony on August 12.
She carried the flag at the end of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, where she was also hailed as the golden girl returning home with five medals.
Redlands can also be proud of Capalaba's Thomas Edgar, the leading point-scorer for the Volleyroos, who beat Great Britain 3-nil in their second round of games on Tuesday.The team lost its first round to Argentina on Sunday and will play Bulgaria next.