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The start of something extraordinary

Fa’amausili, Gichard go under national age record

All three New Zealand swimmers in action on day one set personal bests to progress to the evening semifinals of the FINA World Junior Championships in Singapore.

Both 15 year old rising Kiwi stars, Gabrielle Fa’amausili and Bobbi Gichard went under the national age group record as both qualified for the semifinals in the 100m backstroke, to be fourth and fifth fastest respectively.

Fa’amausili, coached by 1988 Olympic gold medallist Igor Polianski at the United club in Auckland, clocked 1:00.86 to take nearly 0.4 seconds off the previous national age group record, set by Gichard in May. She is the first New Zealand age group swimmer to go under the 1:01 barrier and was only 0.6 seconds outside the national open record held by Emily Thomas.

“I am really happy with the personal best and I felt really good in that swim,” Fa’amausili said.

Gichard, coached by Noel Hardgrave-Booth at the Greendale club in Hawkes Bay, went through the 50m mark in 26.69, third fastest of all swimmers, and produced a controlled second half to clock a personal best 1:01.12, which was also under her previous national age record.

“That was good for a heat swim to get a personal best. I am looking forward to the semifinal tonight and swimming faster.”

Australian Minna Atherton broke the world junior record, going under the one minute barrier in 59.83.

North Shore 18 year old Wilrich Coetzee took 0.7s off his previous best to qualify 10th fastest in heats of the 100m backstroke.

Coetzee, who is coached by Thomas Ansorg, clocked 55.84 in the heats to progress to the semifinals.

“I felt better than expected going through in 27.44 and I just wanted to hold on for the back end of the race,” Coetzee said.

The fifth World Junior Swimming Championships, staged at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, runs until Sunday.

CAPTION: Gabrielle Fa’amausili in action. (The image is for editorial use only. Credit: BW Media)