Skaters get on a roll and clean up

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2014
Speed skating
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ

GOLDEN TEAM: The South Canterbury Speed Skating Club’s individual national title holders after the New Zealand Bank Track Championships were held at Caroline Bay were (from left back row) Brett McCormack, Jan Kuepper, Judah Kelly, Guy McDonald, Nick Frame, Tyla Smith, Bruce Begg and Nicole Begg; (front row, from left) Jazmyn McAuley, Ella Benson, Tasha McAuley, Charlotte Clarke and Keaton Swindells.

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South Canterbury speedskaters took full advantage of a home track to dominate the New Zealand Bank Track Championships.

They finished the season on a high note, winning 38 of the 48 national titles on offer and set seven new records.

In an extraordinary feat Nicole Begg (senior), Keaton Swindells (juvenile) and Tasha McAuley (primary) completed a clean sweep of all 2014 national titles available at three different championships on the indoor track, road and bank track.

Tyla Smith only missed out by one event after team-mates Jazmyn McAuley and Sophie Lowen were first and second in the junior girls' time trial.

In a great start to the championships South Canterbury won 10 of the 12 titles in the 300m time trial with only Kapiti's Peter Michael (senior) and Whanganui's Chase Morepeth (primary), not from the local club.

Begg showed her class after Whanganui's Jessica van Bentum broke her 300m record but only held it for three minutes before Begg grabbed it back with a 28.48s effort.

In the intermediate grade Judah Kelly beat van Bentum's old record by almost 0.5s in recording 29.057s.

World champion Michael dominated in the senior men, taking out the 300m, 500m, 10,000m and 15,000m. Clubmate Josh Whyte won the 1000m.

The pair also broke the men's relay record.

Outside the senior men there were only four other national titles that did not go South Canterbury's way.

The host's other record went to Tyla Smith in the junior girls 5000m in 9min 03.174s.

Dunedin skaters Judah Kelly and Brett McCormack also claimed records for their South Canterbury club in the 300m time trials.

Kelly took the intermediate title in 29.057s and McCormack the masters.

In the 3000m relay Begg, Kelly and Analiese Le Roy recorded 4min 50.482s while the junior record fell to Jazmyn McAuley, Charlotte Clarke and Ella Benson.

Former world champion Begg was also unlucky not to improve two further records that she already held through issues with timing equipment.

After putting a lap and a half on second place and two laps on the bunch in 10,000m, she went almost 20s under her previous time, but it did not count.

A timing technicality also cost her in the 500m heat.

Other highlights included the large Australian contingent that competed and six national anthems being played at the opening ceremony.

Young Australian Sam Evans impressed with two seconds to Michael in the 10,000m points-elimination and 15,000m elimination, but he kept the Kiwi honest.

Fellow Australian John Bueker also finished second in a tight 500m.

Swiss visitor Rina Von Berg was third in the senior women's 500m and 1000m.

Overall it was fantastic finish to a ripper season for the South Canterbury Speedskating Club that was basically defunct six years ago.

In November 2007 Nicole Begg and her mother Cheryl, both world champions, started giving free lessons at the run-down rink.

Families started to get involved and in 2011 a world class, $400,000 track was unveiled.

Along with 38 titles over the weekend, the club won 24 of the 56 titles at the New Zealand Indoor Championships and 25 of the 48 road titles, giving them 87 of the 152 national titles won, a winning percentage of 57 percent in 2014.

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- The Timaru Herald

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