Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

Kiwi Quartet in Action in FINA World Junior Championships

The four-strong New Zealand team splashes into action in the fourth FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Dubai today.

The quartet is part of a record entry of 900 swimmers from 95 nations, aged 15 to 18 for males and 14 to 17 years for females.

Auckland swimmer Michael Mincham, currently based at The Southport School (TSS) on the Gold Coast, is first in action in heats of the 400m freestyle. The 17 year old from Auckland’s Waterhole club won a bronze medal at the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2011 and competed at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships. He won the 1500m freestyle title at the national open championships in March.

Also in action on the opening day is a pair of outstanding 13-year-old prospects in Gabrielle Fa’amausili from the Laser Mt Eden club in Auckland and Bobbi Gichard from the Greendale club in Hawkes Bay.

Gichard was one of the stars of this year’s New Zealand Open Championships where she won both the 50m and 100m backstroke open titles. Her national age group record of 1:02.49 would give her a good chance of qualifying for the semifinals later tonight (NZ time). She will contest all backstroke events at Dubai – the 50m, 100m and 200m.

Fa’amausili is the second cousin of Beijing Olympian Orinocco Fa’amausili-Banse who won a gold medal in the 50m freestyle at the World Junior Championships in Mexico in 2008. She was a finalist at the national open championships, setting three age group records in qualifying for the 50m and 100m freestyle and 50m and 100m backstroke.

The fourth member of the team is Waikato’s Bradlee Ashby, 17, who swims for the Fairfield club but is currently on scholarship at TSS on the Gold Coast with Mincham. He established national records and qualifying times in finishing second in the 200m individual medley and third in the 400m medley at the national open championships. He was a double medallist at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in January.

The championships, which begin tonight (NZ time) and conclude on Sunday, are staged in the stunning Hamden Sports Complex, which was the venue for the 2010 World Swimming Championships (25m).

Dubai follow on from the debut event in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) in 2006 followed by Monterrey (MEX) in 2008 and Lima (PER) in 2011.

The New Zealand team is:
Michael Mincham (Waterhole club, Auckland) – 400m, 800m, 1500m freestyle; Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield club, Waikato) – 200m, 400m individual medley; Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Laser Mt Eden, Auckland) – 50m, 100m backstroke, 50m, 100m freestyle; Bobbi Gichard (Greendale club, Hawkes Bay) – 50m, 100m, 200m backstroke.
Coach: Noel Hardgrave-Booth (Hawkes Bay). Manager: Sandy Turner (Wellington)