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The start of something extraordinary

State 2013 NZ Short Course Championship Highlights

The State 2013 New Zealand Short Course Championships saw the young challenging the old as many age group swimmers stepped up to give older, more established swimmers a run for their money. With the State AquaBlacks only recently returned to training after their World Championship campaign the next tier of athletes had their chance to shine.

Dunedin swimmer Kurt Crosland proved he is a strong contender for next year’s Commonwealth Games with five national titles in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke, and the 100m and 200m individual medley. He was the leading individual male at the championships narrowly missing the national open record in the 200m backstroke by just 0.4s.

“My plan was to smash the third 50m and see what I had left in the tank, but unfortunately I just missed that record so next time I’m going to have a crack at it,” said Crosland.

Next year’s Commonwealth Games are always in the back of the father of one’s mind.

“Definitely the podium is the main goal for me so that’s going to be in the back of my mind training the whole time,” he said.

Twenty-one year old Laura Quilter made her mark on the national swimming scene with four wins to go with three second placings in her seven finals races last week. She was the only swimmer under the 59 second mark in winning the 100m butterfly ahead of world championship representative Samantha Lee (Capital).

Quilter followed this when she out-touched teen star Gabrielle Fa’amausili by 1/100th of a second to win the 50m backstroke.

World Junior Champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili continued on her winning ways with her first national open title in the 50m freestyle.

The 13 year old from the Laser Mt Eden club in Auckland shot out to an early lead and held on to upset the fast-finishing field for the victory.

Fa’amausili broke her national age group mark in the heats before bettering it again in the final to clock 25.33s. 

“I’m so excited. It’s such a privilege to race people like Lauren Boyle and Hayley Palmer. It’s just great, I feel awesome,” said Fa’amausili.

She wanted to be confident and strong-willed against her more senior rivals last week, and her plan for the championships paid off with her record breaking form.

“I wanted to go into every race being confident, feeling good, and just wanting to win,” she said.

North Canterbury swimmer Natasha Lloyd broke the only New Zealand Open record of the championships in the 200m breaststroke. She bettered the record in the heats before lowering the record again in the final.

After years of contending with injuries, the 17 year old was ecstatic to be injury free to produce an outstanding result.

“I’m really pleased with that. It’s such a relief. I’ve had a pretty rough two years with three surgeries and a couple of strained groins so I’m absolutely over the moon, I’m so happy,” said Lloyd.

The national mark had been on the teenager’s mind for months but two weeks before the competition another injury threatened her record- breaking form.

“Two months out the goal was to break the open record and then a couple of weeks ago I strained my groin so we had to go back to square one. But we kept up the positive thoughts and I’ve had a fantastic support team around me and they’ve really helped to bring me back up,” she said.

World Championship medalist Lauren Boyle won the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle titles. She was happy with her results after a limited preparation following a break after her world championships success.

“I’m pretty happy with how I’ve done but it is a mental challenge to get back into the competitive mindset after a break,” said Boyle.

The successful championships were topped off by outstanding performances from the Para swimmers, most notably Sophie Pascoe, Mary Fisher, and Daniel Sharp who all broke world records during the competition.

Head swimming coach of Paralympics New Zealand, Jon Shaw, was greatly encouraged by the fantastic results of his swimmers commenting, 

"This has been a fantastic meet for the 18 Para swimmers who attended, by far the most at a national championship, with a number of World and Oceania records broken. The swimmers have established an amazing amount of new PBs. This meet has truly showcased the strength and the continued growth of Para-Swimming in New Zealand, something we look to build upon as we move toward Rio 2016," said Shaw.