Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

Two rising stars better standard for world championships

Two rising stars have booked spots for the world championships after reaching qualifying times on the third morning of heats at the New Zealand Open Championships in Auckland.

Sam Perry from the St Peters club in Waikato and Gabrielle Fa’amausili from Auckland’s United club went under the qualifying times in heats at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre.

This adds to the four swimmers who had qualified on the first two days at the championships which double as the trials for the world championships, Youth Commonwealth Games and the World University Games.

Perry, 21, who is a junior on scholarship at Stanford University near San Francisco, equalled the qualifying time in the 50m freestyle. He won his heat in 22.47 to equal the qualifying standard while world short course representative Daniel Hunter (Howick Pakuranga) was just 1/100th of a second slower in 22.48s but has a chance to go under that time in what promises to be an exciting final tonight.

The 17-year-old Fa’amausili, the world junior backstroke champion, showed her talents in freestyle to clock 25.02s in heats of the women’s 50m freestyle. This was 16/100ths of a second under the qualifying time for Budapest, and only 1/100th of a second outside the New Zealand record.

There were three other close efforts this morning in the 200m individual medley by Rio Olympians Bradlee Ashby and Helena Gasson, who both swim in Swimming New Zealand’s high performance squad.

Ashby, 21 (Fairfield club) topped qualifiers in 2:00.62 which is only 0.4s outside the qualifying mark and closing in on his national record.

Gasson, 21 (Coast club) was fastest in the women in 2:13.99, which is only half a second outside the qualifying mark.

Florida-based Corey Main, who qualified in the 200m backstroke on the opening night, was fastest in heats of the 100m backstroke in 54.13s which is only 7/100ths of a second outside the time for Budapest.

Former Youth Olympic medallist Bobbi Gichard (17, Howick Pakuranga) topped qualifiers in the 100m backstroke in 1:01.21 ahead of Fa’amausili. The world championship qualifying mark is 1:00.61.

Meanwhile Emma Robinson, who qualified in the 800m on the opening night, was fastest in the 400m freestyle in 4:17.67.

Top qualifiers in Para-Swimming action included multi- World and Olympic champion Sophie Pascoe (28.97s in 50m freestyle); Chris Arbuthnott (27.79s in 50m freestyle and 2:29.96 in 200m individual medley); and Nikita Howarth (3:03.33 in 200m individual medley)

The finals start from 7pm with competition continuing until Friday.

All heats sessions will be streamed live on Swimming New Zealand’s website with finals live on SKY TV.

NZ Open Championships    FINA World Championships