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The start of something extraordinary

World University Games Wrap

The World University Games in Kazan, Russia was a highly contested event. Many Olympians and seasoned internationals used the competition as preparation for the World Championships, which take place in Barcelona, 19 July – 4 August.

The State AquaBlacks bypassed the event, but Swimming New Zealand was represented by a team of eight swimmers who were just outside the world championship selection cut at the nationals in March.

World Surf Lifesaving Champion, Laura Quilter, was the top Kiwi performer, qualifying for two semi-finals. In the 50m butterfly she dipped under the 27 second barrier for the first time, posting a personal best time of 26.82, finishing tenth, and narrowly missing a spot in the final. She also posted a personal best time in the 50m backstroke semi-final, clocking 29.45 for a 14th placing.

Two-time Olympian Hayley Palmer qualified for two semi-finals in her specialist freestyle events. Her top ranking was achieved in the 50m freestyle, where she clocked 25.66 to finish 12th. In the 100m freestyle she finished 15th in a time of 56.81.

There was a strong showing from the women in the 400m individual medley with both Kate Godfrey and Emily McGill finishing in the top 16. Godfrey finished 13th in a time of 4:58.58, closely followed by McGill in 15th with a 5:03.93.  

Wellingtonian McGill also stepped up in the 200m individual medley heats to grab a semi-final spot, despite battling a cold. McGill finished 16th with a 2:23.07.

Open water specialist Charlotte Webby gave the 1500m freestyle a good crack with a 17:39.95, finishing 12th, as she prepared for the 10km open water event at the end of the swimming programme. In the 10km Webby managed to stay with the main pack for most of the race, but the fast pace on the last lap proved too much. She finished a creditable 12th.

The women’s medley relay team consisting of Kate Godfrey (backstroke), Emily McGill (breaststroke), Laura Quilter (butterfly), and Hayley Palmer (freestyle), produced a solid performance to finish 11th in 4:18.85.