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The start of something extraordinary


Auckland teenager Kyla Alexander rounded out the New Zealand Short Course Championships by breaking former Junior World Champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili’s 17 years national age-group record in the 50m backstroke event.

Alexander (United) a year 13 student at St Mary’s College Ponsonby, dominated the age-group morning timed final to win in 27.65s, breaking Fa’amausili’s previous age-group record of 27.73s.

In the evening A-final Alexander broke the record again, going 27.60s to finish second behind Paige Flynn (St Peter’s) who also set a personal best time of 27.49s.

Emma Godwin (Heretaunga Sundevils) was third in 27.73s.

Caitlin Deans (Neptune) was also in record breaking form on the last night of competition.

Deans broke the 18 years age-group record in winning the 1500m freestyle final with a new personal best of over 33 seconds. Her time of 16:25.17s bettered Samantha Lucie-Smith’s record of 16.31.23s set in 2010.

Quinton Hurley also produced a personal best time in winning the men’s 1500m final in 15:20.19s The time was also within the FINA B standard for world short course championships. Louis Clark (Aquagym) was second 15.26.44s with Nick Pryde (Neptune) third in 15:41.54s.

Training under Lars Humer and alongside Youth Olympics representative Erika Fairweather, Deans credited the work done in training to her impressive performance. “Training with Erika has been great, I’ve been working a lot on holding pace and getting my fitness up and that’s definitely helped a lot,” says Deans.

Andrew Jeffcoat (Fairfield) upstaged Bradlee Ashby (North Shore) in the men’s 50m backstroke final. Jeffcoat had to produce the swim of his life to beat one of the form swimmers of the championships.

“It’s hard coming up against bigger guys like Brad who is half a meter taller than everyone else, but I’m really happy,” says Jeffcoat.

Jeffcoat added, “under water work is everything, it’s 30m under water and 20m above water, so if you don’t have good under water work then you get left behind."

Ashby was second in 24.25s with club mate Cornielle Coetzee (North Shore) third, 24.96s.

Daniel Hunter (Howick Pakuranga) was the heavy favourite going into the men’s 100m freestyle final fresh off winning the 50m freestyle title.

Ahead comfortably at the halfway mark, the field which included Hunters’ flat mate Sam Perry (St Peter’s) started to close in on the leader, but left their run too late with Hunter winning in 48.64s.

“It was a really tough race, I definitely saw everyone with me at the 50m and 75m marks, I just tried to put my head down and get to the wall first,” says Daniel.

Hunter finished in a time of 48.64s, well within the FINA B standard. Perry was second in 49.26s with veteran Steven Kent (Coast) in 49.35s.

In the women’s 100m freestyle final Paige Flynn (St Peter’s) added another title to her haul. The fastest qualifier from the heats extended her lead at every turn, eventually winning in 54.13s.

Carina Doyle (North Shore) was second in 54.47s, with Rebecca Moynihan (Raumati) third, 55.33s.

Wilrich Coetzee was the only swimmer to go under the two-minute mark in the morning heats of the men’s 200m butterfly.

In the final Coetzee was far too strong for the field. Well ahead at the half way mark, Coetzee just missed the FINA A time of 1:54.84s, winning in 1:55.84s, slightly off his personal best.

“It’s been a great week but it’s back to the drawing board to see how I can bring that time down and keep my fitness up,” says Coetzee.

Jeremy Tasker (North Canterbury) was second in 1:59.58s, with age-group champion Lochlainn O’Connor (Evolution) third in 2:01.00s.

Vanessa Ouwehand (St Peter’s) showed once again that she is a fighter in winning the 200m butterfly final in 2:13.01s.

Ouwehand held the lead for majority of the race before being over taken at the final turn by sixteen year-old Kiana Swain (Pukekohe). But like she did in last night’s 100m butterfly final, Ouwehand found another gear in the final 10m to touch first.

Swain was second in 2:13.51s and Yeonsu Lee (North Shore) 2:13.64s.

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