Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

Gasson on target, Fisher breaks world record

Twenty-year-old Helena Gasson is on target to repeat her honour as the leading individual at the Swimming New Zealand Short Course Championships in Auckland.

Gasson, formerly from Fairfield club in Waikato but now at North Shore, claimed her second title on the second night of finals, winning the 200m individual medley.

Last year Gasson won four national short course titles, and the World University Games finalist is on target with a strong performance in winning the medley in 2:13.27 to be a second clear of Otago’s Kate Godfrey and Australian Emily Washer.

“I wanted to go a 2:12 but it was pretty much there so I was very happy with that,” said Gasson.

She started her winning ways with the 50m butterfly on the opening night.

“Last night’s 50m butterfly, it’s never been a main event of mine, so that was just a fun one but this is one of my main ones so I was happy to retain my title.”

Gasson is chasing performances rather than titles this week.

“In the butterflies I’m really looking for good PBs, same in the IM as well. My placing is just whatever happens happens. Of course I want to be gold but personal bests are the main thing at the moment.”

The new Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre has already received kudos as fast water, with two records tonight.

Leading the way, the remarkable Mary Fisher, an eight time Para-Swimming world champion, was in record-breaking form tonight.

She set a new mark in winning the women’s S11 100m backstroke in 1:17.22, more than two seconds off the previous record held by Germany’s Daniela Schulte. It is the fourth short course IPC world record currently held by the Tawa club swimmer.

“It was really exciting to hear the announcer say unofficially a new world record. From this morning's swim I knew it was possible to go under the previous mark so it's just really exciting and good looking forward in terms of backstroke and medley races,” Fisher said.

“My main chance really was tonight in the 100m back to break a world record so it's a really nice feeling and a good confidence booster to put down a good time now before training on towards Rio.”

Exciting 15-year-old prospect Gabrielle Fa’amausili (United) grabbed her first open short course title in winning the 100m backstroke in 58.64s, breaking Sophia Batchelor’s national age group record in the process.

Fa’amausili, preparing for defence of her world junior title later this month, was the only swimmer under the 59 second barrier in an impressive performance.

The closest finish fell to Otago’s Andrew Trembath who held off a storming finish from Wilrich Coetzee (North Shore) and Daniel Hunter (Howick Pakuranga) in the men’s 100m backstroke.

Trembath, who won the 50m backstroke title last year, showed the benefit of that speed to open a lead of nearly a second at the 50m and was still more than half a second ahead of Hunter with Coetzee further back at the three-quarters mark.

But Coetzee zoomed home to catch Hunter but had to settle for second, as Trembath prevailed by 13/100ths of a second at the wall.

Earlier 19-year-old Max Polianski grabbed his first open national short course title in taking out the 200m individual medley in 1:59.06.

The United club swimmer, son of former Olympic and world champion Igor Polianski, held off another strong finish from Coetzee who again had to settle for the runner-up spot.

New Zealand-based English swimmer Matt Shead (United) followed up his win in the 100m breaststroke on the opening night with victory in the 50m breaststroke in 26.98, pipping titleholder Jeffrey Arona-Tuifana’e from Howick Pakuranga.

North Canterbury’s Natasha Lloyd mirrored Shead’s efforts, winning the women’s 50m breaststroke in 31.87s after claiming the 100m title in record time on the opening night.

North Shore’s latest star signing, Commonwealth Games representative Samantha Lucie-Smith showed early promise with victory in the 400m freestyle. The 23 year old clocked 4:12.18 to win following a brilliant dice with Australian Sophie Taylor. The Australian led at the 100m mark before Lucie-Smith edged ahead and withstood a strong finish from the visitor to claim the honours.

In other Para-Swimming tonight Ice Breaker’s Christopher Arbuthnott produced two gold medal performances in the 200m individual medley (2:22.06) and 100m backstroke (1:06.22).

Howick Pakuranga swimmer Tupou Nieufi was first in the women’s 200m individual medley in 3:01.49 and Parnell’s Olivia Upston first in the 400m freestyle in 6:02.69.

Fourteen year old Celyn Edwards (Selwyn) topped the podium in the men’s 50m breaststroke in 43.34.

The championships continue until Saturday with heats from 9am and finals from 6pm.

Results day 2

Men 200m individual medley: Max Polianski (United) 1:59.06, 1; Wilrich Coetzee (North Shore) 1:59.66, 2; Donald Cameron (AUS) 2:01.13, 3.

Women 200m individual medley: Helena Gasson (North Shore) 2:13.27, 1; Kate Godfrey (Neptune) 2:14.19, 2; Emily Washer (AUS) 2:14.37, 3.

Men 100m backstroke: Andrew Trembath (Neptune) 53.93, 1; Wilrich Coetze (North Shore) 54.06, 2; Daniel Hunter (Howick Pakuranga) 54.11, 3.

Women 100m backstroke: Gabrielle Fa’amausili (United) 58.64, 1; Caroline Baddock (North Shore) 59.11, 2; Rebekah Bradley (United) 59.72, 3.

Men 50m breaststroke: Matt Shead (United) 26.98, 1; Jeffrey Arona-Tuifana’e (Howick Pakuranga) 27.56, 2; Matthew Phillips (Wharenui) 28.32, 3.

Women 50m breaststroke: Natasha Lloyd (North Canterbury) 31.87, 1; Bronagh Ryan (Poriruan City) 32.05, 2; Ellie Rukuwai (Nelson South) 32.34, 3.

Women 400m freestyle: Samantha Lucie-Smith (North Shore) 4:12.18, 1; Sophie Taylor (AUS) 4:12.46, 2; Carina Doyle (Capital) 4:14.83, 3.

Para-Swimming Results:

Men 200m individual medley: Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 2:22.06, 1; Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) 2:38.56, 2; Celyn Edwards (Selwyn) 3:09.08, 3.

Women 200m individual medley: Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 3:01.49, 1; Jacquie Ruth (QEII) 4:41.99, 2; Sarah Fuhrer (St Peter’s) 5:50.89, 3.

Men 100m backstroke: Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 1:06.22, 1; Celyn Edwards (Selwyn) 1:37.09, 2.

Women 100m backstroke: Mary Fisher (Tawa) 1:17.22 (World Record), 1; Tupou Nieufi (Howick Pakuranga) 1:14.04, 2; Bryall McPherson (North Shore) 1:27.89, 3.

Men 50m breaststroke: Celyn Edwards (Selwyn) 43.34, 1.

Women 400m freestyle: Olivia Upston (Parnell) 6:02.69, 1; Jacquie Ruth (QEII) 8:35.00, 2.

CAPTION: Helena Gasson on the way to her second victory at the New Zealand Short Course Championships at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre tonight. The image is free for editorial use only. Credit: BW Media.

NZ Short Course Championships