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The start of something extraordinary

Gichard, Fa’amausili Progress In The Pool

New Zealand’s terrific teens Bobbi Gichard and Gabrielle Fa’amausili made strong starts in the pool on the first day of the Youth Olympic Games in China today.

The 14-year-old swimmers both qualified for the evening’s semifinals in the 100m backstroke from their morning heats in Nanjing.

Gichard, from the Greendale club in Hawkes Bay, was second in her heat and seventh fastest overall in 1:02.39 while Fa’amausili, from the Roskill club in Auckland, was fifth in her heat and eighth overall in 1:02.41.

Both swimmers looked strong with more to come, especially Fa’amausili who raced to the lead through 50m and eased off. She holds the current 14 years national record of 1:01.32 while Gichard’s best is 1:01.34, both set when they finished first and second in the final at the New Zealand Open Championships.

North Shore’s Jacob Garrod was slightly outside his best clocking 1:05.30 in heats of the 100m breaststroke, and missed out on the semifinals, with his specialist 200m breaststroke event to come later in the week.

Fellow Auckland swimmer Michael Mincham, from the Waterhole club, was just one spot outside automatically qualifying for the B Final in the 400m freestyle. Mincham clocked 3:57.33 to be 17th fastest overall, half a second outside his personal best.