Smith & Ashby highlight New Zealand Short Course Champs
Ciara Smith’s national age-group record and Bradlee Ashby’s two open titles highlights the opening day of the 2018 New Zealand Short Course Championships in Auckland.
Smith (Northwave) had an impressive morning session, smashing her own girls 17 years national age-group record and personal best by 1.19sec. Her new record now stands at 1:07.85s, only 0.5s off Bronagh Ryan’s national open record.
In the evening A-final, Smith posted a 1:07.91s to win the national title from Mikayla Dance (United) and Kaylee Jackson (QEII).
It was a welcome return back to competitive swimming for Rio Olympian Bradlee Ashby, who missed the NZ Opens in July and the Pan Pacific Championships in August due to injury.
Now swimming for North Shore Swimming Club, Ashby won the men’s 200m freestyle and 50m butterfly national titles.
“It was good to come out and do some races that I don’t usually do and hopefully we will see more good results throughout the week.”
Ashby set a new personal best of 1:45.87s in winning the 200m freestyle from Daniel Hunter (Howick Pakuranga), 1:45.98s, and Matt Hyde (Matamata), 1:48.05s.
North Shore club mate Carina Doyle won the women’s event in a new personal best of 1:57.40s.
Doyle showed her strength in the back half of the race, reeling in early leader Paige Flynn (St Peter’s) who took silver in 1:58.63s. Hayley McIntosh (Northwave) won bronze in 2:00.22s.
In a tighter battle for minor placings, Ashby won gold the 50m butterfly in 23.96s (PB) from Jeremy Tasker (North Canterbury), 24.18s, with Daniel Hunter and Sam Perry (St Peter’s) touching in a dead heat for the bronze medal in 24.22s.
Vanessa Ouwehand (St Peter’s) dominated the women’s 50m butterfly final from start to finish. Ouwehand stopped the clock in a new personal best time of 26.97s to win gold from Yeonsu Lee (North Shore), 27.20s, and Alice Waldow (United), 27.29s.
Wilrich Coetzee (North Shore) held off challenges from Thomas Watkins (Capital) and Callum Prime (North Shore) in the A-final of the men’s 400m individual medley.
Coetzee established a commanding lead in the butterfly leg with Watkins and Prime threatening to close in on the lead in the middle stages of the race. Coetzee put his foot down in the freestyle leg to win in 4:14.70s from Watkins (4:16.12s) and Prime (4:16.38s).
In more positive news, Smith, Ashby, Doyle, Ouwehand and Coetzee all achieved FINA B standards. These standards can be considered for selection for the FINA World Short Course Championships in China in December.
In Para swimming results – Chris Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) was superior at the 25m mark turn, powering off the wall to lead by over a body length in the men’s 50m butterfly Para multi-class final.
Arbuthnott won gold in 27.80s, a new personal best, with Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) second, 29.49s and David Beck (MAGS) third, 30.59s.
Mary Fisher (Capital) was back on top of the podium in the women’s 50m butterfly Para multi-class final. In her post race interview Fisher made it known that it was the first time she’d swum the event in over 16 years.
The Wellingtonian showed her class and experience to take gold in 35.25s from Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga), 36.31s, and Jane Fox (Orca), 35.90s.
Para swimming results are calculated by percentage from each swimmers Para swimming classification world record.
In other A-finals highlights - Matt Hyde (Matamata) slashed five seconds off his 800m short course personal best to win the A final in 8:04.93s from Quinton Hurley (Jasi), 8:13.34s and Luke Mitchell (St Peter’s), 8:16.67s.
Another athlete aiming to make the standard for FINA World Short Course Championships selection is George Schroder (Hokitika) who was just off the pace in the men’s 100m breaststroke A-final
Schroder held off Australian Andrew Hemsworth (Knox Pymble) down the stretch to win in 1:00.98s. Hemsworth won the visitors silver in 1:01.39s.
Eliot Lundon-Moore (Aquabladz) won silver in 1:01.63s, with Josh Pickett (Matamata) winning bronze in 1:02.12s.