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The start of something extraordinary

World champion leads way in backstroke sprint

Fourteen year old New Zealand swimming stars Gabrielle Fa’amausili and Bobbi Gichard were to the fore on the penultimate night of finals at the Youth Olympic Games in China.

Fa’amausili, from the Roskill club in Auckland, was fastest both in her heat and in the semifinals of the 50m backstroke, and will be joined in the final by Gichard at Nanjing tonight.

Fa’amausili, the junior world champion over the distance, was fastest of all competitors with a 28.71 second effort in topping the heats with Gichard eighth fastest in 29.50s.

The Auckland was a tad slower in the semifinal, clocking 28.78s to be fastest with Gichard fifth fastest in 29.09s as the pair earned a place in tonight’s final.

Earlier North Shore’s Jacob Garrod swam an excellent 2:18.00 to be 15th fastest in heats of the 200m breaststroke.

Today in the pool will see Gichard in the 100m butterfly, Garrod in the 50m breaststroke, Fa’amausili in the 50m freestyle and Michael Mincham racing in the 800m freestyle in the fastest heat during tonights finals session.