More records fall at swimming champs
Two more Paralympic world records and a further world qualifying performance highlighted the fourth night of finals at the New Zealand swimming championships in Auckland last night.
Sophie Pascoe bagged her third world record this week with victory in the 50m freestyle while fellow Paralympics gold medallist Mary Fisher (Capital) smashed the 200m butterfly world mark in the morning, also her third of the meet at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Henderson.
Wellington Olympian Gareth Kean, a noted long distance backstroker, got up to win the 50m title under the A-time for July's world championships to go with his qualifying performance in the 100m backstroke.
This brings the qualifiers for the world championships to five swimmers in 10 events.
Two young swimmers, Mitchell Donaldson (North Shore) and Samantha Lee (Capital) pushed their claims for selection under the Rio Olympic development prospects. This allows for B-qualifying times to be considered when there is no A qualifier, and the swimmer is born after 1990 and with a time in the world's top 50 for 2012.
Pascoe, 20, was delighted to snare the world mark in the 50m freestyle, which is an Olympic event where she won the silver medal in London behind Canadian rival Summer Mortimer. She clocked 28.01sec to go under the world mark by 0.2sec.
"I am really happy with that," Pascoe said.
"I've been waiting for that one for two years. It was held by my main rival Summer so it's nice to say that Summer's out and winter's in.
"It's a personal best for me and my times are up at world record standard so that is what I try to do every time I get in the pool. That was a huge personal best and I came out with a world record as well which was a bonus."
Fisher, 20, from Wellington's Capital Club, took more than 10 seconds off the world record in the 200m butterfly. She clocked 2min 50.93sec to smash the previous mark which stood at 3:01.10.
Fisher said she had concentrated on butterfly following the Paralympics which has set her up for her world record blitz this week.
"It's good now that our world championships are aligned to the FINA world championships that means we can come here to qualify," Fisher said.
"It's been great to be part of it and get such awesome support. I also had my family, friends and flatmates come up for Wellington so the support has been fantastic."
Fisher hopes to add to her world record tally before the conclusion of the championships tomorrow with the next target, the 100m butterfly.
Kean (Capital) firmed up his place on the world championship team with a second qualifying swim in the 50m backstroke. Kean was just 0.2sec outside the national record held by Daniel Bell and was pleased to add another event to his schedule in Barcelona.
"It's given me an opportunity to swim another race at world champs so I'm pleased about that because I like to continuously push myself throughout the competition and keep the systems going," Kean said.
The Commonwealth Games silver medallist spent several weeks at a high altitude camp in Sierra Nevada in February working on his fitness levels so was happy with his sprinting performance ahead of his specialist 200m event.
"It's nice to see some speed come out of that before the 200m tomorrow," he said.
"I'm looking to back-end as much as possible because I know I'm definitely fit so things tomorrow should go pretty well, especially with my 100m time."
Lee, 20, clocked a significant personal best of 2:12.58 to win the 200m butterfly in emphatic fashion and was more than a second under the B standard, while Donaldson from Whangaparaoa won the 200m individual medley in 2:01.60 which was also a big personal best under the B standard.
In other final swims last night Becky Dooley (Jasi) edged out Natasha Lloyd (North Canterbury) by 0.01sec to win the 50m breaststroke and 13-year-old Hawke's Bay swimmer Bobbi Gichard added the 50m backstroke title to the 100m backstroke she won earlier in the meet.
Hayley Palmer defended her 50m freestyle title in 25.56sec which was just outside the qualifying standard, pipping clubmate Samantha Richter by 0.01sec, while fellow Olympian Matt Stanley (North Shore) got up to win the 100m freestyle in 50.31sec ahead of sprinter Cameron Simpson (Templeton) to add to his win in the 200m freestyle.
In the finals for Athletes with Disability, Daniel Holt (North Shore) won the 50m freestyle multi-class national title in 25.79sec, Pascoe's world record earned her the 50m freestyle title, Australian Michael Anderson took the visitor's gold ahead of Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) in the 100m backstroke and Tayla Clement (North Shore) won the 400m freestyle.
The championships finish tomorrow.