Skaters dominate nationals

Last updated 05:00 06/01/2014

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South Canterbury ended the week as they started by dominating the national speedskating championships in Auckland on the track like they had done on the road.

They recorded many resounding victories while also easily retaining the Unity Shield for the top New Zealand club.

South Canterbury won 49 of the 104 titles, Mt Wellington Auckland 18 titles, and Wanganui and Hamilton 12 each.

On the last day they won 10 of the 18 titles after losing the 1500 metres junior girls relay they were expected to win, but a crash to Jazmyn McAuley put paid to that, with Wanganui taking the title and South Canterbury having to settle for second and third.

Guy McDonald and Nicole Begg both skated brilliantly to take an unexpected win in the senior 1200m pairs relay over Ollie Jones (Hutt Valley) and Georgia Hurley (Manawatu).

McDonald now has a senior New Zealand title to add to his Oceania cadet titles, along with New Zealand junior and intermediate titles, a very good nationals for McDonald.

Four South Canterbury skaters went through the track and road championships winning their individual titles. Nicole Begg, senior women, Tyla Smith junior girls, Keaton Swindells juvenile boys and Tasha McAuley primary girls.

Begg, back to her top form, set three New Zealand records, in the womens 800m in 1hr 20min 001sec to beat her previous record of 1.21.811; the womens 1200 pairs with Judah Kelly in a time of 2.03.165 down from 2.05.755 set in 2012. But the biggest surprise came in the womens 3000m relay when Begg, Dahna Penty and Judah Kelly beat the Manawatu 2012 record by more than 14 seconds with a time of 5.05.031.

Begg won all the senior and open womens events and all three relay events contested.

Yesterday the club had a full podium in the junior girls 1500m, after one of the favourites Jazmyn McAuley crashed, Tyla Smith went on to win from teammates Leah McDonald and first time medallist Ariana Snook took third.

Snook also got silver in the junior girls 1500m relay and won the mixed four to go from being without a medal at the start of the last day to stepping on all podium spots.

Such was the club's dominance that on the final relay day Nick Frame, Jan Kuepper, Fin O'Connor, Ariana Snook, Boudine Brown and Dahna Penty, who had all worked tirelessly through the championships, all picked up gold in various relays.

Sophie Lowen lost her chance when she was in the No 1 relay team that crashed and she had to settle for bronze, along with Tyla Smith and Jazmyn McAuley.

Laura Kuepper, intermediate womens 800m, Ariana Snook juniors 1500m and Charli Nevin 1500m and 800m all gained their first individual medals of the championship on the last day.

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Juveniles Keaton Swindells continued on his winning way, as Charlottle Clarke picked up another silver and Kaylum McAuley bronze.

- The Timaru Herald

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