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The start of something extraordinary

Capp, Gichard, Pascoe, Dubber add to qualifiers

Ten New Zealand swimmers have now qualified for the upcoming world championships after just two nights of the New Zealand Open Championships in Auckland.

Two further swimmers qualified in the pool tonight in Tauranga’s Nathan Capp and 15 year old Bobbi Gichard to add to the six swimmers through on the opening night and Kane Radford and Charlotte Webby, who have already secured their places in the 10km open water swim in Kazan, Russia in August.

Added to this were FINA A times set by Lauren Boyle and Glenn Snyders in the 1500m freestyle and 50m breaststroke respectively, after both qualified for the world championships on the opening night.

Capp, 22, provided the early highlight on the second night of finals when he not only qualified for the world championships, but broke the long-standing New Zealand record in the 400m individual medley at the West Wave Aquatic Centre.

Rising star Gichard became the eighth swimmer this week to qualify in the pool when she took out the women’s 100m backstroke.

The Para-Swimmers, chasing qualification for the IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow in July, added two further qualifying swims.

The great Sophie Pascoe was timed at 1:07.30 in the 100m backstroke S10 which was five seconds inside the qualifying mark while North Shore’s Rebecca Dubber was three seconds under her qualifying time for the S7 category in the same event.

Pascoe has now qualified for three events and Dubber two with six Para-Swimmers qualifying in 10 events so far.

The early attention was in the 400m individual medley where Capp clocked 4:17.72 to be 1.5 seconds under the qualifying standard and also took half a second off Dean Kent’s national record that has stood since 2006.

He finished ahead of the 200m individual medley qualifier Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) in 4:21.36 and Andrew Trembath (Neptune) in 4:34.08.

Capp was not confident of his chances in this event, after suffering a shoulder and hip injury this summer, and focussing on his chances in the 1500m freestyle where he is the national record holder in both long course and short course.

“I felt good tonight. I needed to pace myself because Bradlee (Ashby) is probably the best fly swimmer over 100m in the country right now,” Capp said.

“To qualifying is great but to break Dean’s record is really special. I have held him in such high esteem all of my career so to have his record is incredible.”

Capp came back later in the meet to win the 800m freestyle in 7:58.30, nearly five seconds inside the previous New Zealand record set by Dylan Dunlop-Barrett.

It made it a superb night for the Tauranga swimmer who will target the 1500m freestyle with confidence.

Gichard, the Youth Olympic medallist, was locked in a battle with fellow 15-year-old rising star Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Roskill) in the 100m backstroke final, with both chasing qualification to their first open world championships.

Fa’amausili led through the turn but Gichard edged her in the final 10m to win in 1:01.46, and while 24/100ths of a second outside the FINA A qualification, she was well inside the qualifying time for development swimmers and as the winner, will earn a place in the world championships’ team.

“I could not have got here without the help of my coach, my strength and conditioning coach, my club and my family. It’s incredible,” Gichard said.

“I really wanted that FINA A time and that will be my focus now, to go to the world championships and go under the 1:01 barrier.”

Matthew Stanley was a fingertip away from a second qualification in the 200m freestyle tonight, winning in 1:48.39, just 2/100ths of a second outside the FINA A time.

He finished ahead of fellow Commonwealth Games and Howick Pakuranga club swimmers Ewan Jackson (1:49.65) and Corey Main (1:50.14).

While Stanley will likely get a start in the event after qualifying in the 400m freestyle yesterday, the combined times of the four fastest swimmers was outside the total needed for a men’s 4x200m freestyle relay in Kazan.

“I should have gone out harder and really wanted to drag the rest of the field through for that relay. For me personally I will get to swim this in Kazan and I know that I have a lot of work ahead of me.”

Lauren Boyle was a shade outside the 200m freestyle qualifying time, trying to drag the field through to a relay qualification.

She was timed at 1:59.29 ahead of USA-based Georgia Marris (United) in 2:00.80 and Emma Robinson (Capital) 2:00.98.

She turned around to clock 16:22.76 to win the 1500m freestyle, the ninth fastest time in the world this year, with the Kiwi star not pressing things although she was well inside the FINA A time for the world championships.

“I was taking this quite easy tonight with a big schedule in three days with five swims and this is not an individual qualifying event for the world championships,” Boyle said.

“It’s good practice to swim two different events on the same day. People like Phelps do this to world class level. For me the focus is on the 800m freestyle tomorrow where I want to do a really good time.”

In other early swims Shaun Burnett (North Shore) won the 200m butterfly in 1:59.46 ahead of Ashby (2:00.20) and Isaac Foote (Masterton) in 2:00.65.

Waikato’s Helena Gasson (Fairfield) continued her strong form to win the 200m butterfly in 2:12.98 just pipping the Commonwealth Games representative Samantha Lee (Capital) and 16 year old Yeonsu Lee (North Shore).

Snyders dominated the 50m breaststroke, winning in 27.50s, the 11th fastest time in the world this year, after qualifying in the 100m breaststroke on the opening night.

The championships conclude on Friday.

Day 2 Results:

Men 400m individual medley: Nathan Capp (Greerton) 4:17.72, 1 (Qualified FINA World Championships & NZ Record); Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) 4:21.36, 2; Andrew Trembath (Neptune) 4:34.08, 3.

Women 200m butterfly: Helena Gasson (Fairfield) 2:12.98, 1; Samantha Lee (Capital) 2:13.08, 2; Yeonsu Lee (North Shore) 2:17.26, 3.

Men 200m freestyle: Matthew Stanley (Matamata) 1:48.39, 1; Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga) 1:49.65, 2; Corey Main (Howick Pakuranga) 1:50.14, 3.

Women 100m backstroke: Bobbi Gichard (Greendale) 1:01.46, 1 (Qualified FINA World Championships); Caroline Baddock (North Shore) 1:01.70, 2; Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Roskill) 1:02.04, 3.

Men 200m butterfly: Shaun Burnett (North Shore) 1:59.46, 1; Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) 2:00.20, 2; Isaac Foote (Masterton) 2:00.65, 3.

Women 200m freestyle: Lauren Boyle (United) 1:59.29, 1; Georgia Marris (United) 2:00.80, 2; Emma Robinson (Capital) 2:00.98, 3.

Men 50m breaststroke: Glenn Snyders (North Shore) 27.50, 1; Jeffrey Arona-Tuifana’e (Howick Pakuranga) 28.81, 2; Alex Peach (United) 29.05, 3.

Women 1500m freestyle: Lauren Boyle (United) 16:22.76, 1; Charlotte Webby (Aquabladz New Plymouth) 17.01.37, 2; Monique King (North Shore) 17:06.14, 3.

Men 800m freestyle: Nathan Capp (Greerton) 7:58,30, 1 (NZ Record); Phillip Ryan (Waterhole) 8:27.17, 2; Liam Albery (Capital) 8:27.33, 3.


Women 100m backstroke: Sophie Pascoe (QEII) 1:07.30, 1 (Qualified IPC Swimming World Championships); Rebecca Dubber (North Shore) 1:25.76, 2 (Qualified IPC Swimming World Championships); Nikita Howarth (Te Awamutu) 1:29.62.

Women 200m freestyle: Olivia Hay (Whakatane) 2:53.43, 1.

Men 50m breaststroke: Cameron Leslie (Laser Mt Eden) 57.50, 1; Daniel Gaualofa (Bay of Islands) 37.27, 2; Hamish McLean (Wanaka) 50.37, 3.

CAPTION:  Hawkes Bay 15 year old Bobbi Gichard (left) is congratulated by Gabrielle Fa’amausili after the 100m backstroke.

The image is free for editorial use only. Credit: BW Media

NZ Open Championships