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The start of something extraordinary

World Junior Champion sparks swim records and qualifiers

Two qualifying swims and two national age group records highlighted the second day of the Mayfair Pools New Zealand Age Championships in Wellington.

World junior champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili (United, Auckland) and Hayley McIntosh (Northwave, Whangarei) reached the qualifying standards for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships.

The national age group championship at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre doubles as the trials for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships to be held in Hawaii in August.

Fa’amausili’s time of 1:00.76 in tonight’s finals of the 100m backstroke also set a New Zealand 16 years age group record.

Taranaki’s Joshua Gilbert set his second national record of the meet, claiming the 14 years 50m breaststroke title with a time of 30.45.

“At the Opens I think the pressure got to me a bit,” Fa’amausili said. “But I was really happy with how I raced at Opens, I haven’t gone that fast since last year in August so to slowly get faster and faster is a good feeling and by Junior Pan Pacs I should be ready to go and hit some more PB’s.

“I’m just happy to go faster than I did at Opens and I feel way more relaxed than I did so that’s also nice and I’m pretty happy with that race.”

Fa’amausili was more than three seconds inside the qualifying mark for Hawaii, but just 6/100ths of a second inside the national record held by fellow teenage rival Bobbi Gichard.

Northland’s McIntosh made the grade in the 400m freestyle in the morning heats with a time of 4:20.40. She took out the national age group title in the evening with a time of 4:21.22.

It proved an outstanding night for the Northwave club from Kamo on the outskirts of Whangarei.

McIntosh’s win in the final came on the back of a superb 1:02 final 100m, including a last 50m in 31.8s to set up the time.

Her clubmate, 15 year old Ciara Smith took out her age group in the 50m breaststroke with her time of 33.21 just 7/100ths of a second outside Annabelle Carey’s national age record, and was the fastest of all age groups.

For much of the night it looked like the Josh and Wilrich Show.

Gilbert, the 14 year old from Stratford, followed up his win in the 50m breaststroke with victory in the 200m individual medley. He clocked 2:10.97 in the medley to be only 0.4s off the national record and was the fourth fastest overall.

His 30.45s effort in the 50m breaststroke final went under the previous national age record of Bradley Arona Waqanivavala of 30.62 set five years ago.

Meanwhile Wilrich Coetzee, 18, from the North Shore club, won the 200m individual medley in 2:04.43, under the standard for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships, but the teenager is outside the age limit.

He backed up with a strong effort, clocking 56.88s to be fastest in the 100m backstroke.

The competition runs until Friday with heats from 9am and finals from 6pm.

The event is live streamed for a subscription of $15 for the week. Live streaming is available here.

CAPTION: Gabrielle Fa’amausili celebrates her record racing at the Mayfair Pools New Zealand Age Championships in Wellington.

The image is free for editorial use only. Credit: BW Media

NZ Age Groups