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Mayfair Pools National Age Group Championships – Day 1 Wrap

Australian-based Michael Mincham from Auckland shone amid a rush of quality performances on the opening night of the Mayfair Pools National Age Group Championships in Wellington.

The championships at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre are also the official trials for swimmers to be considered for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii and the second Youth Olympics in China, both in August.

Three swimmers per event can be considered for selection for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships while there is a maximum of two male and two female swimmers in total for the Youth Olympics team.

Tonight four swimmers went under the qualifying mark for the Junior Pan Pacs, a major championship involving full strength teams from the likes of USA, Canada, Japan and Australia. And a total of nine swimmers bettered the qualifying mark for the Youth Olympics.

Leading the way was Mincham, the outstanding Waterhole club prospect, who currently trains on scholarship at The Southport School on the Gold Coast.

Mincham, 17, clocked 3:59.11 to win the 17-18 years 400m freestyle which was well under the qualifying times for both the Youth Olympics and the Junior Pan Pacs.

He pushed the field along with the first four swimmers under the time set for the Junior Pan Pacs. The Waikato pair of Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) in 4:01.34 and Sam Perry (St Peters) in 4:01.51 was second and third respectively while Howick Pakuranga’s Dominic Mildon was fourth in 4:01.78.

The selection times are 4:02.22 for the Junior Pan Pacs and 4:01.68 for the Youth Olympics.

While he was focussed on the processes for a good performance, Mincham had the qualifying times in his mind.

“It was definitely a bit of both. I wanted to go really hard for the Youth Olympics time and at the same time I wanted to swim my own race,” Mincham said.

“The other guys were really fast and I had to build the back end of the 400.

“It’s great on the Gold Coast. I couldn’t ask for a better place to train than Southport. The training environment is amazing.

“My other target this week is the 800m freestyle. I am targeting another qualifying time and better what I did at the Opens and go sub 8:07.”

North Shore’s Jackson Cropp and Dunedin’s Andrew Trembath (Neptune) both bettered the qualifying mark to be considered for selection for the Youth Olympics in the 200m backstroke.

Cropp, 18, won in 2:05.34 with Trembath half a second back in second, both well under the qualifying time of 2:07.48 although outside the mark for the tougher criteria for the Junior Pan Pacs.

Four swimmers pushed under the Junior Olympics time in the women’s 200m butterfly.

Chelsea Ouwehand (Te Awamutu) won the 17-18 division in 2:20.02 ahead of Caitlin Rennell (Jasi, Christchurch) in 2:22.19.

Meanwhile excellent prospect Yeonsu Lee (North Shore) won the 15 years final in 2:21.31, the second fastest of the night, and Josie Kozyniak (Capital) claimed the 16 years honours in 2:22.66.

All four were under the Youth Olympic requirement of 2:24.75.

Earlier North Shore’s Monique King was the emphatic winner of the 17-18 years 400m freestyle in 4:22.27, just two seconds outside the qualifying time for both the Junior Pan Pacs and the Youth Olympics. The 18 year old finished more than three seconds clear of United’s Georgia Marris.

Jane Ip from West Auckland Aquatics won the 17-18 years 100m breaststroke in a strong 1:12.97 ahead of North Shore’s Abbie Johnston.

Auckland’s Aimee Moss (United) prevailed in the 17-18 years 50m freestyle but the shining light was the 15 years division winner, clubmate Rebekah Bradley who won in 26.94s, the fastest of the night, and only 16/100ths of a second outside the mark for consideration for the Youth Olympics.

Ben Walsh (Porirua City Aquatics) took out the 17-18 years 50m breaststroke in 29.00s.

The 4x50m freestyle club relay honours for 15 years and under and 16 years and over were shared by North Shore, United, Howick Pakuranga and QEII (Christchurch).

CAPTION: Michael Mincham in action tonight. (Credit: BW Media)

NZ Age Groups