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Talented Trio Qualify For Junior World Championships

There were three more swimmers qualify for the FINA World Junior Championships on the second day of the Mayfair Pools New Zealand Age Group Championships in Wellington today.

The championships at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre double as the official trial for swimmers to gain selection for the biennial World Junior Championships in Singapore and the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.

Teenage swimming talents Bobbi Gichard (Greendale, Hawkes Bay) and Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Roskill, Auckland) both qualified for the World Junior Championships in the 100m backstroke, while North Shore’s Wilrich Coetzee was the third swimmer to gain a qualifying time, also in the 100m backstroke.

Fifteen year olds Gichard and Fa’amausili went under the qualifying time in this morning’s heats before going faster again in the finals tonight.

Gichard was first home to claim the national age group 15 years title clocking 1:01.21, which was also under the FINA A time of 1:01.25, with Fa’amausili following in 1:02.70.

She adds this to her success from the recent New Zealand Open Championships where she qualified for the 16th FINA World Championships in the same event creating herself a busy schedule for the rest of the year.

"There will be a lot of camps and a few competitions in Australia just to keep up my racing but I’ll definitely be going to Gary Hurring to do some training with them," Gichard said.

She will also be hoping to qualify in the 200m backstroke event on Friday.

"I think I’m a second and a half under the qualifying time so that’ll be good if I stay in there."

Coetzee came home second in the 100m backstroke in 56.55 behind Neptune’s Andrew Trembath, who is too old to qualify for the junior world championships, but was pleased with the result.

"I just tried racing the race against Andrew (Trembath), just friendly competition with him, so just aimed to beat him," Coetzee said.

"I’m really excited, I’m really happy as well. It’s been the goal all season so I finally achieved it."

"Last year I just missed out on the Youth Olympics, so I’m real stoked this year that I finally got to make a team and I’m really happy I can represent New Zealand."

In other swims tonight Coetzee claimed honours in the men’s 17-18 years 200m individual medley in 2:05.39, just ahead of Trembath (2:05.60) and United swimmer Max Polianksi (2:05.94).

Millie Macdonald (Parnell) picked up two golds taking honours in the women’s 17-18 years 200m individual medley (2:22.03) and 50m breaststroke (33.20).

Jacob Garrod was the men’s 17-18 years 50m breaststroke winner clocking 29.68 followed by St Peter’s swimmer Dan Caldwell (30.36) and Howick Pakuranga’s Mario Koenigsperger (30.38).

In the women’s 17-18 years 400m freestyle Alex Pampalone (Karori Pirates, Wellington) came home ahead of Holly Parker (United) and Abigail Chapman (Pukekohe, Counties Manukau).

Two New Zealand age group records were broken tonight; they went to Josh Gilbert (Stratford) in the 13 years 200m individual medley and Gichard in the 15 years 100m backstroke.

The competition continues until Saturday 9 May. Heats sessions are from 9am daily with the finals each day from 6pm.

CAPTION: Wilrich Coetzee celebrates qualifying for the FINA World Junior Championships in the 100m backstroke.

The image is free for editorial use. Credit: BW Media

Nz Age Groups