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The start of something extraordinary

Fa’amausili completes 10 medal haul for young swimmers

World junior swimming champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili fittingly rounded out New Zealand’s 10th and final medal at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa.

Fa’amausili, 15, took out the silver medal in the 50m freestyle final, clocking a slick 25.82s, only 17/100ths outside her best, after a deadheat with South Africa’s Erin Gallagher.

It went with the gold medal in the 50m backstroke and silver in the 100m backstroke to complete a hugely successful campaign for the swimmer from Auckland’s United club. It came on the back of her gold medal at the junior world championship the previous week in Singapore.

That was matched by her friend, rival and fellow 15-year-old Bobbi Gichard who only swam in the relays today, but finished the meet with two gold medals in the 100m and 200m backstroke and a silver behind Fa’amausili in the 50m backstroke final.

Eighteen-year-old North Shore swimmer Wilrich Coetzee made an excellent debut at international level with gold medals in the 100m and 200m butterfly and a host of personal best times.

Joining him with a bronze in the 50m and 100m backstroke was Howick Pakuranga 18 year old Bayley Main, currently on scholarship at the University of Florida. Main added three personal best times to his week in Samoa.

The collection of fourth placings continued for the relay teams in the 4x100m medley relays and Coetzee in the 200m individual medley.

It proved a humdinger behind runaway leader Clyde Lewis, with Coetzee leading through the backstroke and butterfly legs before slipping back to fourth in the breaststroke. He came home powerfully in the final freestyle to clock 2:05.46 just 24/100ths of a second from the medals after England’s Joe Litchfield smoked home from fifth to second in the 50m freestyle leg.

In other swims Main (23.76) was sixth in the 50m freestyle; Eliot London-Moore (2:21.52) was sixth in the 200m breaststroke and Annabelle Paterson was in the same place in the 800m freestyle in 9:06.65. Mario Koenigsperger (23.79) was seventh in the 50m freestyle and eight in the 200m breaststroke (2:29.87) with Yeonsu Lee eighth in the 200m individual medley (2:24.72).

Head coach Gary Hurring said the performances had buoyed his coaching team.

“We are ecstatic about the results of this young team with 10 medals with five of them gold which was way beyond our expectations coming in to the meet,” Hurring said.

“Some will have a go at qualifying for the Rio Olympics at the Trials next year which will be a big ask for this age group but definitely moving towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“If this group and some others coming in behind them can continue to improve on the world stage, then the future for them and for swimming in New Zealand is bright.”

Day 4 finals results:

Men 200m individual medley: Clyde Lewis (Aus) 2:02.40, 1; Joe Litchfield (ENG) 2:05.01, 2; Neil Fair (RSA) 2:05.22, 3. Also: Wilrich Coetzee (NZL) 2:05.46.

Women 200m individual mdley: Lucy McJannett (AUS) 2:14.57, 1; Calypso Sheridan (AUS) 2:16.80, 2; Tazmin Pugh (ENG) 2:19.30, 3. Also: Yeonsu Lee (NZL) 2:24.72, 8,

Men 50m freestyle: Zane Waddell (RSA) 22.85, 1; Jack Cartwright (AUS) 22.93, 2; Vincent Dai (AUS) 22.95, 3. Also: Bayley Main (NZL) 23.76, 6; Mario Koenigsperger (NZL) 23.79, 7.

Women 50m freestyle: Shayna Jack (AUS) 25.71, 1; Erin Gallagher (RSA) and Gabrielle Fa’amausili (NZL) 25.82, equal 2.

800m freestyle: Georgia Darwent (ENG) 8:45.85, 1; Meg Finnon (SCO) 8:47.78, 2’ Arirne Titmus (AUS) 8:53.91, 3. Also:Annabelle Paterson (NZL) 9:06.65, 6.

Men 4x100m medley relay: South Africa 3:46.33, 1; Australia 3:46.91, 2; England 3:47.75, 3. Also: New Zealand 3:48.42, 4.

Women 4x100m medley relay: Australia 4:09.28, 1; England 4:12.14, 2; South Africa 4:15.13, 3. Also: New Zealand 4:24.66, 4.

CAPTION: Gabrielle Fa’amausili celebrates her medal today.