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The start of something extraordinary

Mayfair Pools Oceania Championships – Day 3 Wrap

National record holder Matthew Stanley fought his way back from disappointment to win on the third night of finals at the Mayfair Pools Oceania Championships in Auckland tonight.

The 22-year-old from Swimming New Zealand’s High Performance Centre took out the victory in the 400m freestyle in a solid 3:53.95, just outside the Oceania Championship record, at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Henderson.

Stanley was upset at being disqualified off the blocks in last night’s relay which cost the New Zealand team a title and an Oceania Championship record.

Tonight he made doubly sure of his start, last off the blocks but recovered with a 57-second final 100m to win, more than a second clear of up-and-coming Commonwealth Games teammate Ewan Jackson in 3:55.13, with Australian Damian Fyfe third.

The Australians turned up the wick on the penultimate night of action with six wins to New Zealand’s four, including three Oceania Championship records.This has levelled the title count to 16 each between the two nations.

While the other Oceania countries had a share of the podium spoils last night, an historic third placing to a swimmer from the Northern Mariana Islands was the only respite from a total domination of the medals in individual events by the two powerhouse nations in the region.

The Australians scored championship records by 15-year-old Tamsin Cook in the 400m freestyle in 4:10.94, nearly two seconds inside the previous mark; Brianna Throssell with a 59.43 effort to win the 100m butterfly and the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay combination that wiped more than five seconds from the old record set by Australia in 2006.

The other eye-catching performance came from 16 year old Nicholas Groenewald, who completed a clean sweep of all backstroke events, winning the 200m in 2:03.56. New Zealand’s best performances came from Beckie Dooley, who added the 50m breaststroke honours to the 100m title won earlier this week, and the up-and-coming Ben Walsh in the same 50m breaststroke.

Stanley was the most impressive with his winning effort in the 400m freestyle and then returning with a powerful third leg of the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay to secure New Zealand’s win in 3:23.62.

The Matamata swimmer has fought back tonight from recent illness and his disqualification.

“I haven’t been very well and trying to work my way back into the meet,” Stanley said.

“Last night was a shocker and really disappointed to let the team down with my disqualification. I felt so bad for the boys last night and wanted to make it up.”

Stanley said he was satisfied with his performance tonight which was close to his best in full work, but knows he has plenty to do before the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships.

“I need to get healthy and get some good training in over the next little while. I race again in two weeks and the aim is to swim faster and then the next meet the same and so on right up to the Games.

“I have a lot to work on and I need to get back into the grind.”

Stanley plans to mix hard training with lots of tough racing in Australia in a different lead-up to Glasgow.

“I am doing a lot more racing this season than in past seasons just so I can feel more comfortable when I get to Commonwealth Games  I think this has more been the issue than a physical thing. It is about being competitive and I am going to get that a lot in the next few weeks.”

The championships, which have attracted 175 competitors from 14 nations, conclude tomorrow.

Day 3 Results, A Finals:

Women 50m breaststroke: Beckie Dooley (New Zealand) 33.63, 1; Cara Jernigan (Hawaii) 33.96, 2; Jane Ip (New Zealand) 34.19, 3.

Men 50m breaststroke: Ben Walsh (New Zealand) 29.22, 1; Grayson Bell (Australia) 29.57, 2; Jake Baggaley (Australia) 29.91, 3.

Women 400m freestyle: Tasmin Cook (Australia) 4:10.94, 1(Oceania Championship record); Sacha Downing (Australia) 4:11.59, 2; Samantha Lucie-Smith (New Zealand) 4:17.91, 3.

Men 400m freestyle: Matthew Stanley (New Zealand) 3:53.95, 1; Ewan Jackson (New Zealand) 3:55.13, 2; Damian Fyfe (Australia) 3:58.86, 3.

Women 100m butterfly: Brianna Throssell (Australia) 59.43, 1 (Oceania Championship record);  Samantha Lee (New Zealand) 59.74, 2; Laura Quilter (New Zealand)1:00.88, 3.

Men 100m butterfly: Nicholas Brown (Australia) 54.07, 1; Shaun Burnett (New Zealand) 55.44, 2; Dominic Richardson (Australia) 55.52, 3.

Women 200m backstroke: Amy Forrester (Australia) 2:14.17, 1; Caroline Baddock (New Zealand) 2:16.06, 2; Bobbi Gichard (New Zealand) 2:17.45, 3.

Men 200m backstroke: Nicholas Groenewald (Australia) 2:03.56, 1; Bradlee Ashby (New Zealand) 2:07.30, 2; Kensuke Kimura (Northern Mariana Islands) 2:18.04, 3.

Women 4x100m freestyle: Australia 3:41.75, 1 (Oceania Championship record); New Zealand 3:44.90, 2; Fiji 4:03.28, 3.

Men 4x100m freestyle: New Zealand 3:23.62, 1; Australia 3:26.66, 2; Hawaii 3:33.69, 3.