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The start of something extraordinary

Swimming boss delighted with performances

Swimming New Zealand will send a 10-strong team following an encouraging New Zealand Open Championships that finished in Auckland tonight.

The team, anchored by triple world championship medallist Lauren Boyle, comprises eight individuals in the pool and two open water. This is up on the six pool swimmers who qualified two years ago in Spain.

The only qualifier tonight was the brilliant Para-Swimmer Sophie Pascoe in the 50m freestyle, to qualify her in five events for July’s IPC World Championships in Glasgow.

The highlight came with a stunning national record for Nathan Capp in the 1500m freestyle, following his records in the 800m freestyle and the 400m individual medley, where he also qualified for the world championships.

Swimming New Zealand High Performance Director Luis Villanueva was delighted with the performances this week from his proven performers, some on the edge who shone and the emergence of some young stars of the future.

“It is a good number of individual qualifiers,” Villanueva said.”We have some qualifying for the first time which is encouraging. Some who qualified in relays and weak criteria last time have stood up and qualified with the top swimmers.

“It is good to have Brad (Ashby) and Bobbi (Gichard) in the team. Some of the other younger ones who did not qualify have swum well and are on track to qualify for the World Junior Championships at the national age group championships in four weeks.

“It is good for them to experience the world championships and the top level of racing a year out from the Olympics although I think one or two others can also qualify next year.”

He was impressed with the strong performances from Capp and Wellington’s Emma Robinson in particular.

“It is good that the swimmers who failed to push through as individuals last time have managed to keep going and keep going and now make it. That is very good to have swimmers who show such resilience and it gives them a chance to be well prepared to qualify for the Olympics next year.”

Villanueva said it was now critical for the swimmers to buckle down to some hard work in the time leading to the world championships in Kazan.

“They need to swim faster than this in the heats in Kazan and then go faster again in the semifinals and finals. That will set them up to do well in the Olympic year.

Capp beat his own New Zealand record in the 1500m freestyle by more than seven seconds, winning in 15:15.50, just 1.5 seconds outside the world championships qualifying time.

“It’s been a stellar week for me,” Capp said. “The time for the 1500m is good but I am a little gutted because I wanted to make two A qualifying times but I can’t really complain because I’ve had an awesome week.

“I’ve really stepped up a lot since the end of last year. I felt it was time to make that jump and I am happy I was able to do it.”

Fifteen-year-old rising star, Gichard, already qualified for the world championships in the 100m backstroke, showed her stamina to grab victory in the 200m backstroke, while Howick Pakuranga 20 year old Daniel Hunter converted his 50m freestyle win to victory in the 100m final.

Waikato’s Helena Gasson (Fairfield) completed an outstanding meet with her fourth title when she dominated the women’s 400m individual medley, while Laura Quilter (North Shore) took out the 50m freestyle to make it three wins for the week following the 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly.

Pascoe continued her winning ways, setting her fifth qualifying mark for the IPC Swimming World Championships. Pascoe was timed at 28.22 to be well under the qualifying time, and close to the world record. She has finished with two world records this week and encouraged that she is well on track for July’s world championships in Glasgow.

The New Zealand team to contest the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia on 2-9 August is:

Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield, Waikato), Lauren Boyle (United), Nathan Capp (Greerton), Bobbi Gichard (Greendale, Hawkes Bay), Corey Main (Howick Pakuranga, University of Florida), Kane Radford (Rotorua), Emma Robinson (Capital, Wellington), Glenn Snyders (North Shore, Trojans USA), Matthew Stanley (Matamata), Charlotte Webby (Aquabladz, Taranaki).

The New Zealand Para-Swimming team to contest the IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow on 13-19 July is:

Rebecca Dubber (North Shore), Mary Fisher (Capital), Georgia Gray (North Shore), Nikita Howarth (Te Awamutu), Cameron Leslie (Laser Mt Eden), Hamish McLean (Wanaka), Sophie Pascoe (QEII, Christchurch), Jesse Reynolds  (Fairfield, Waikato).

Day 4 Results:

Women 200m backstroke: Bobbi Gichard (Greendale) 2:14.08, 1; Sophia Batchelor (Aquagym) 2:14.67, 2; Kate Godfrey (Neptune) 2:14.99, 3.

Men 100m freestyle: Daniel Hunter (Howick Pakuranga) 49.89, 1; Corey Main (Howick Pakuranga) 50.13, 2; Sam Perry (St Peter’s) 50.67, 3.

Women 400m individual medley: Helena Gasson (Fairfield) 4:51.70, 1; Yeonsu Lee (North Shore) 4:59.71, 2; Rachel Smith (North Shore) 5:02.27, 3.

Men 1500m freestyle: Nathan Capp (Greerton) 15.15.50, 1 (NZ Record); Michael Dai (Coast) 15:26.40, 2; Michael Mincham (Waterhole) 15:35.03, 3.

Women 50m freestyle: Laura Quilter (North Shore) 26.12, 1; Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Roskill) 26.20, 2; Annmarie Temo (North Shore) 26.42, 3

Men 50m backstroke: Daniel Blackborrow (Visitor, Australia) 26.50, 1; Corneille Coetzee (North Shore) 26.52, 1; Andrew Trembath (Neptune) 26.78, 2; Cameron James (Neptune) 26.91, 3.

Women 50m breaststroke: Natasha Lloyd (North Canterbury) 32.81, 1; Kendall Reidy (Central Hawkes Bay) 33.56, 2; Bronagh Ryan (Porirua City) 33.71, 3.

Para Swimmers:

Men 100m freestyle:  Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) 1:01.43, 1; Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 1:02.61, 2; Daniel Gaualofa (Bay of Islands) 1:00.46, 3.

Women 50m freestyle: Sophie Pascoe (QEII) 28.84, 1 (Qualified IPC World Championships); Georgia Gray (North Shore) 31.07, 2; Tupou Neifu (Howick Pakuranga) 31.35, 3.

Men 50m backstroke: Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 33.50, 1; Daniel Gaualofa (Bay of Islands) 33.71, 2; Cameron Leslie (Laser Mt Eden) 43.05, 3.

NZ Open Championships