Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

State New Zealand Open Championships – Day 3 Wrap

Twenty-one year old Mitchell Donaldson came of age as a swimmer tonight, adding the spark for a relay to better the qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games on the penultimate night of finals at the State New Zealand Open Championships in Auckland tonight.

Donaldson, North Shore, set a significant personal best of 1:48.80 to win the men’s 200m freestyle at the West Wave Aquatic Centre.

With a blanket covering the next three swimmers comprising in-form Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (Coast), Matthew Stanley (Matamata) and Steven Kent (Coast) all in the low 1min49sec, the fastest four combined 7:14.12 to be over one second inside the qualifying time for Glasgow.

It was also the second fastest time in the world this year.

Earlier 19 year old Howick Pakuranga swimmer Corey Main surprised himself with his personal best time of 54.47s in the morning heats of the 100m backstroke that bettered the Commonwealth Games standard by 16/100ths of a second.

It brings the total performances under qualifying for Glasgow to six individuals – four able bodied swimmers and two para-swimmers – and both the women’s and men’s 4x200m freestyle relay with one day remaining.

Donaldson, until now a noted medley swimmer who competed in last year’s world championship, has made huge gains in freestyle since moving to Sydney late last year to return to his old coach Scott Talbot.

The Whangaparaoa swimmer said the move has been fundamental to his huge gains.

“It’s been a huge refresher moving to Sydney. Plus all the other things like looking after myself has definitely been for the better and I have grown as a person,” Donaldson said.

“I have done a lot of work on the 200m freestyle in the last few months. All season I have been working on the middle 100. The main thing was not to get too excited and go out too fast.

“You can’t go into any race racing for second or third, so I went in gunning for gold and it worked out. And it’s great the boys all came through for the relay to qualify.”

Main, in his first year of scholarship at the University of Florida, won the 100m backstroke final, although slightly outside his heat time with a 54.81s effort.

“This morning I was trying to just go out to swim my race and it resulted in going under the trials time which I wasn’t really expecting,” Main said.

“Tonight I wanted to go out to beat my heat time but didn’t quite achieve that but I am so happy to get that qualifying time.”

Dunedin father Kurt Crosland, 29, from the Neptune club, again pushed hard all the way to clock a personal best 54.88s which was 25/100ths of a second outside his dream of qualification to Glasgow.

The remarkable Sophie Pascoe added yet another world record to her long list when she clocked 31.62s in the 50m backstroke. The Cantabrian, who has six Paralympic gold medals and five IPC World titles to her credit, was 26/100ths of a second inside her own previous world record.

Te Awamutu’s Nikita Howarth, 15, became the second para-swimmer to better the qualifying standard in the 100m freestyle in the S8 category to go under the required time for Glasgow.

US-based North Shore swimmer Glenn Snyders completed his clean sweep of all breaststroke events when he won the men’s 50m final in 27.38s, which was 0.3s outside his own national record, but good enough for the third fastest time in the world this year.

This follows his qualifying performances in winning the 100m and 200m breaststroke titles earlier in the meet.

In other finals, 14 year old Bobbi Gichard (Greendale) took out the 50m backstroke in 28.98s while North Shore’s Abbie Johnston claimed the 200m breaststroke in 2:35.36.

Swimming New Zealand High Performance squad swimmers Nathan Capp (Greerton) and Tash Hind (Capital) both retained their titles in the 400m individual medley. Capp won the men in 4:21.54 while Hind won the women’s final in 4:51.18.

North Canterbury’s George Eglesfield flew home to claim the 100m butterfly in 54.80, while Capital’s Samantha Lucie-Smith won the 100m freestyle in 55.69.

The championships conclude tomorrow.

NZ Open Championships