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The start of something extraordinary

World Junior Championships Wrap

The World Junior Championships took place in Dubai from 26 - 31 August. New Zealand sent a small team of four swimmers who all punched above their weight on the world stage posting personal best times, New Zealand records, and improving their world rankings.

Thirteen year old Gabrielle Fa’amausili stunned the swimming community with a New Zealand open record of 28.14 in the heats of the 50m backstroke. The Laser Mt Eden swimmer broke the games record in the process. In the final she swam half a second slower than the heat but still clinched the gold medal in a time of 28.64, becoming a World Junior Champion!

Fa’amausili also qualified for the semi-finals of the 50m freestyle after breaking her national age group record in the heats, but she scratched the event to focus on her 50m backstroke final.

Team-mate Bobbi Gichard also significantly improved her personal best time in the 50m backstroke. She finished ninth with a personal best time of 29.14 in the heats before swimming slightly slower in the evening semi-final, finishing 10th with a time of 29.59.

Gichard also qualified for the semi-final of the 100m backstroke. The Greendale club swimmer was the fastest 13 year old in the event, but not quite quick enough to gain a place in the final against swimmers up to four years older. She stopped the clock in a time of 1:02.91 to finish 13th, just outside her personal best time and New Zealand age group record of 1:02.49.

Auckland swimmer Michael Mincham smashed the 17 year old national age group record on his way to a ninth placing in the 1500m freestyle. Clocking 15:31.53 he took nearly seven seconds off the previous record set by London Olympian Dylan Dunlop-Barrett four years ago.

Mincham also posted a five second personal best time in the men’s 800m freestyle. The Waterhole club swimmer swam an evenly split race, turning at the 400m mark in 4:05.0 before powering home with a 4:06.9 to finish 17th in a time of 8:11.97.

Fairfield club swimmer Bradlee Ashby, also 17, and training partner of Michael Mincham at The Southport School in Queensland, was outside his best time in the 200m individual medley but still finished with a solid 11th placing in a time of 2:04.31.