Emma Robinson hit most of her targets at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii last week.
The Wellington East Girls' College pupil was targeting personal bests at the meeting and produced an outstanding swim when finishing sixth in the 800m freestyle in 8:48.90.
Robinson, 17, had hopes of breaking 8:50 and achieved that with something to spare when taking almost five seconds off her previous best.
Ironically, had the meeting been a month later, Robinson would have been able to claim a national record.
Robinson turns 18 late this month and her 800m time was well inside Samantha Lucie-Smith's national age record for 18 years but outside the record for 17 years, of 8:47.87, set earlier this year by Tabitha Baumann.
"That [800m performance] was a really good effort," Robinson's coach, Gary Hurring, said. "She was up against very tough fields - there were a lot of good swimming nations involved.
"Emma's preparation hadn't been ideal," he said. "She's had a lot of sickness this year but we managed to get her fit over the last five or six weeks and she tends to lift her game for the big events. She usually prepares well mentally."
Robinson also recorded a personal best of 59.52 for the 100m freestyle in Honolulu and was close to her best time when recording 2:06.33 in the 200m.
She had also been keen to record a PB in the 400m freestyle, her favourite event, but could not improve on her heat time of 4:20.96 in the B final. She had qualified for the Pan Pacific meeting by recording 4:19.18 at the national open championships in March.
Robinson, a finalist for the 2011 emerging swimmer of the year award, also attended the Youth Commonwealth Games last year and the Pan Pacific championships was her main goal this year.
The year 13 pupil will now prepare for the national short course championships in Wellington, which begin on September 30.
The Junior Pan Pacific championships comprise the leading non-olympic under-19 swimmers from the United States, Japan, Canada and Australia, as well as teams from New Zealand, Mexico and Hong Kong.
The most successful Kiwi swimmer at the meeting was Auckland's Corey Main who earned a silver in the 100m backstroke and bronze in the 200m backstroke.
- The Dominion Post
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