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The start of something extraordinary

State NZ Short Course Swimming Championships - Day 3 Wrap

World Junior Champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili stole the limelight from two-time Olympians Hayley Palmer and Lauren Boyle on the third night of finals at the State New Zealand Short Course Championships in Wellington today.

The 13 year old from the Laser Mt Eden club in Auckland shot out to an early lead in the final of the 50m freestyle and held on to upset the fast-finishing field for the victory.

Fa’amausili broke her national age group mark in the heats this morning before bettering it again tonight 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 this 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.

The North Shore pair of Laura Quilter and national record holder Palmer rounded out the podium places with silver and bronze medals respectively.

In other finals tonight, Dunedin swimmer Kurt Crosland (Neptune) stepped up for his second win of the championships in the men’s 200m individual medley. The 29 year old veteran led the race from the start to hold off young gun Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) who broke a national age group record to finish second ahead of London Olympian Steven Kent (North Shore).

Eighteen year old Caroline Baddock (North Shore) broke the national age group record to win the women’s 200m backstroke in 2:06.76 ahead of World University Games representative Kate Godfrey (Neptune) and 13 year old star Bobbi Gichard (Greendale) who broke another national age group record. 

Olympian Daniel Bell was back in winning form in the men’s 50m butterfly, in his first significant competition after time away from the sport. The Taranaki swimmer ducked under the 24s mark to claim the gold in 23.94s with Nielsen Varoy (Roskill) and William Benson (Hawkes Bay) a touch behind in 24.2s.

It was a North Shore treble in the women’s 100m individual medley. Baddock returned to the pool for her second victory of the night, winning in an age group record and narrowly missing the national open mark by 0.1sec. Teammates Laura Quilter and Chloe Francis rounded out the podium places.

Meanwhile the remarkable Paralympian Sophie Pascoe continued her outstanding form when she set another world record time of 1:06.68.

In the men’s 400m freestyle world championship medallist Matthew Stanley showed his class with a dominant victory in 3:43.59. The Matamata swimmer powered home over the final 200m to win by nearly four seconds ahead of Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga) and fellow London Olympian Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (Coast). 

The men’s 200m breaststroke produced a barnstorming finish with George Schroder (Aquagym) grabbing the victory in 2:11.19 from Ben Walsh (Porirua City) and Alex Peach (United) in third with a time of 2:11.70, with only half a second covering the trio.

The championships continue until Thursday before the inaugural Swimming New Zealand Zonal Championship on Friday.

Results, Day 3:
Men 200m individual medley: Kurt Crosland (Neptune) 1:58.05, 1; Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) 1:58.70, 2; Steven Kent (Coast) 2:00.37, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Daniel Gaualofa (Bay of Islands) 2:31.24, 1; Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 2:37.93, 2; Hamish McLean (Wanaka) 3:48.39, 3.
Women 200m backstroke: Caroline Baddock (North Shore) 2:06.76, 1; Kate Godfrey (Neptune) 2:10.26, 2; Bobbi Gichard (Greendale) 2:13.85, 3.
Men 50m butterfly: Daniel Bell (Aquabladz) 23.94, 1; Nielsen Varoy (Roskill) 24.21, 2; William Benson (Heretaunga Sundevils) 24.29, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Daniel Holt (North Shore) 28.33, 1; Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 32.14, 2; Hamish McLean (Wanaka) 51.70, 3.
Women 100m individual medley: Caroline Baddock (North Shore) 1:01.39, 1; Laura Quilter (North Shore) 1:01.92, 2; Chloe Francis (North Shore) 1:02.73, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Sophie Pascoe (QEII) 1:06.68, 1; Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 1:33.29, 2; Bryall McPherson (North Shore) 1:37.07, 3.
Men 400m freestyle: Matthew Stanley (Matamata) 3:43.59, 1; Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga) 3:47.33, 2; Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (Coast) 3:47.39, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Daniel Holt (North Shore) 4:17.66, 1; Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) 4:27.57, 2; Daniel Gaualofa (Bay of Islands) 4:47.80, 3.
Women 50m freestyle: Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Laser Mt Eden) 25.33, 1; Laura Quilter (North Shore) 25.44, 2; Hayley Palmer (North Shore) 25.60, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Tayla Clement (North Shore) 33.72, 1; Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 35.98, 2; Bryall McPherson (North Shore) 36.57, 3.
Men 200m breaststroke: George Schroder (Aquagym) 2:11.19, 1; BenWalsh (Porirua City) 2:11.39, 2; Alex Peach (United) 2:11.70, 3.