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The start of something extraordinary

Hunter flies as Kiwis dominate to lead medal table

New Zealand swimmers produced an outstanding second day of the Oceania Swimming Championships in Fiji.

They won eight of the 11 A finals at the Damodar National Aquatic Centre in Suva today to claim the lead on the medal table with 12 gold medals among 28 in total, ahead of Australia with nine golds in 23 medals.

Today’s wins were headed by a superb effort from Howick Pakuranga sprinter Daniel Hunter who won the 100m freestyle in 49.49s, which was only 6/100ths of a second outside the New Zealand record he set at the Open Championships this year. It broke the Oceania Championship record of 49.83s set by New Zealand’s Mark Herring eight years ago.

The 21 year old turned around to clock an impressive 22.67 for the anchor leg of the 200m mixed medley relay, to cement the victory for New Zealand.

The other individual wins went to Dunedin’s Andrew Trembath (Neptune) in the 400m individual medley (4:32.82); junior world champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili (United, Auckland) who clocked 29.19 to win the 50m backstroke; Helena Gasson (North Shore) with a 56.49s effort in the 100m freestyle; Bronagh Ryan (Porirua City) timed at 1:11.71 and Jacob Garrod (North Shore) in 1:03.31 to claim the honours in the men’s and women’s 100m breaststroke.

Gasson, Carina Doyle, Yeonsu Lee, Monique King then combined to win the women’s 800m freestyle relay in 8:17.78.

New Zealand also claimed seven other podiums. US-based Bayley Main (Howick Pakuranga) was third in the 50m backstroke in 26.58; Blake Gunn (Kiwi West Aquatics) was third in the 400m medley in 4:35.97; Lee (North Shore) was third in the 400m medley in 5:05.38; Doyle (North Shore) was equal second in the 100m freestyle in 57.11; Julian Weir (AquaBladz, New Plymouth) was third in the 100m freestyle in 50.85 while Ellie Eastwood (United) was third in the 100m breaststroke in 1:14.61.

The Kiwi combination of Matt Hyde, David van der Star, Weir and Jonathan Rutter were second in the 800m freestyle relay in 7:38.23.

The meet continues until Friday, with the 5km Open Water competition on Saturday.