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The start of something extraordinary

World records for Howarth & Fisher - Stanley & Boyle qualify for worlds

Para-Swimming stars Mary Fisher and Nikita Howarth continued their world record blitz while Matthew Stanley broke a national record on the penultimate day at the New Zealand Short Course Swimming Championships in Wellington today.

Howarth, 15, broke the world mark in her disability in the 100m butterfly in this morning’s heats and bettered it again in the final tonight, lowering the record to 1:20.92 at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre in Kilbirnie.

Freestyler Matthew Stanley showed his class in the backstroke tonight, breaking the New Zealand record in the 200m backstroke final when he won in 1:52.87.

Fisher also bested the world record in her disability this morning in the 100m butterfly clocking 1:15.82 which was 4.5 seconds inside the previous record, but didn’t swim in the final leaving Howarth to take the gold.

“I’m pretty happy I wasn’t really expecting much, it was a hard race but I did well,” Howarth said.

Howarth has had a busy lead up to the event competing at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland and the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in USA.

Meanwhile Stanley has been close all week to breaking New Zealand records in his favoured freestyle events but it was in the backstroke that he finally managed to do the job. His swim also went under the qualifying time for the World Short Course Championships (1:53.73).

“It’s funny because I haven’t trained backstroke ever and I do no practice in it. It’s just good fun to get out there and work hard on the underwater more than anything,” Stanley said.

If he decides to swim the backstroke event at the World Short Course Championships in December he will take on the world’s best.

World short course champion Lauren Boyle was back in the pool tonight for her first individual swim of the meet after yesterday competing in the 4x200 freestyle relay.

The United swimmer cruised to victory in the 800m freestyle in 8:21.86 which was more than three seconds inside the qualifying time for the world championships.

She was followed home by Commonwealth Games teammate Emma Robinson (Capital, 8:36.44) and Charlotte Webby (Aquabladz, New Plymouth, 8:42.21), who has returned from competing in the Pan Pacific Championship open water swim which was moved to Hawaii last weekend.

“It’s fun to come down to wellington and not really be as focused on swimming fast as I usually am,” Boyle said.

“I’m going to need to do a lot of work in the next two months (before the world championships) because I’m going on holiday after this so hopefully I’ll come back fresh.”

Boyle had previously qualified for the World Short Course Championships but had to compete at this meet to affirm her qualification.

Fourteen year old star Bobbi Gichard claimed honours in the women’s 200m backstroke and set a new age group record for 14-year-olds with her time of 2:07.38.

Waikato swimmer Helena Gasson continued on her excellent form this week to claim honours in the 400m individual medley in 4:44.38. Gasson earlier won the 50m butterfly, 100m and 200m individual medley.

Junior Pan Pacific medallist Bradlee Ashby became the men’s 100m butterfly champion while Commonwealth Games swimmer Laura Quilter took the women’s title and was the only woman to go under the minute mark, winning in 59.15s.

In the other Para-Swimming finals, men’s 100m butterfly champion was Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) followed by Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) and Daniel Gaualofa (Bay of Islands).

The championships conclude tomorrow.

Day 4 Results:

Women 400m individual medley: Helena Gasson (Fairfield) 4:44.38, 1; Mya Rasmussen (Kiwi West Aquatics, Manawatu) 4:49.05, 2; Kate Godfrey (Neptune, Otago) 4:50.64, 3.

Men 200m backstroke: Matthew Stanley (Matamata) 1:52.87, 1 (New Zealand record and World Short Course qualifying time); Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (Coast, Auckland) 1:56.47, 2; Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) 1:57.38, 3.

Women 200m backstroke: Bobbi Gichard (Greendale) 2:07.38, 1; Sophie Wotherspoon (North Shore) 2:10.84, 2; Annabelle Paterson (United) 2:12.55, 3.

Men 100m butterfly: Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) 52.76, 1; Isaac Foote (Masterton) 54.03, 2; Max Polianski (United) 54.08, 3.

Women 100m butterfly: Laura Quilter (North Shore) 59.15, 1; Helena Gasson (Fairfield) 1:01.14, 2; Georgia Marris (United) 1:01.40, 3.

Women 800m freestyle: Lauren Boyle (United) 8:21.86, 1; Emma Robinson (Capital) 8:36.44, 2; Charlotte Webby (Aquabladz New Plymouth) 8:42.21, 3.

Para Swimmers:

Men 100m butterfly: Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) 1:05.36, 1; Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker Aquatics, Manawatu) 1:05.74, 2; Daniel Gaualofa (Bay of Islands) 1:12.16, 3.

Women 100m butterfly: Nikita Howarth (Te Awamutu) 1:20.92, 1 (World Record); Bryall McPherson (North Shore) 1:26.17, 2.

NZ Short Course Championships