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The start of something extraordinary

Gasson leads way as New Zealand win four gold medals

New Zealand swimmers won four titles on the opening day of pool finals at the 11th Oceania Championships in Fiji.

Rio-bound Helena Gasson, her North Shore clubmate Wilrich Coetzee, young Auckland star Gabrielle Fa’amausili and the mixed medley relay claimed titles for New Zealand. They trail on the gold medal count with Australian winning six gold medals and the Cook Islands one.

Gasson (North Shore) won the women’s 50m butterfly in 27.14s and was second in the 200m butterfly in 2:12.67. Junior world champion Fa’amausili (United) won the 100m backstroke in 1:02.38 while Coetzee took out the 200m butterfly in 2:00.44.

Fa’amausili opened the mixed medley relaywith a 1:02.25 in the 100m backstroke, faster than her individual win earlier in the night, followed by Jacob Garrod (breaststroke) and Gasson (butterfly), before Howick Pakuranga’s Daniel Hunter screamed home with a49.44s freestyle split for New Zealand to earn a come-from-behind win in an exciting 4x100m mixed medley relay.

New Zealand earned eight other podium medals with Hunter third in the 50m butterfly in 24.62 while the North Shore pair of Carina Doyle and Yeonsu Lee was second and third respectively in the 200m freestyle. The North Shore duo of Jackson Cropp (56.98) and Corneille Coetzee (57.20) were second and third respectively in the 100m backstroke while Coast’s David van der Star (2:04.90) was third in the 200m butterfly.

Troy Balvert (Aquabladz New Plymouth) was third in the 1500m freestyle with the Kiwi team second in the 200m mixed freestyle relay.

The event is being live streamed here.