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The start of something extraordinary

North Shore swimmers in winning form

Eighteen year old Wilrich Coetzee got his fast-finishing radar on range with a second title tonight at the Swimming New Zealand Short Course Championships at the new Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre at the AUT Millennium.

The North Shore swimmer was narrowly beaten on the second night despite his powerful finishes in both the 200m individual medley and 100m backstroke.

But he got it right to reverse the result against United’s Max Polianski in the 100m individual medley last night, and did the same in the 200m backstroke on the penultimate night of action tonight.

Coetzee trailed Otago’s Andrew Trembath, the 100m backstroke winner, until the final 25m when he forged from behind with a withering finish to claim the title in 1:57.41 with the Neptune swimmer just 31/100ths of a second back in second.

His North Shore clubmate Helena Gasson claimed her fourth title of the championships, to equal her four wins last year.

Gasson, 20, took out the 400m individual medley in 4:40.35, winning emphatically from Dunedin’s Kate Godfrey. This adds to her victories in the 50m butterfly, 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley.

Godfrey, from the Neptune club, bounced back in the next race to win the 200m backstroke in 2:08.75 from the United pairing of Annabelle Paterson and Rebekah Bradley.

Polianski, who won the 200m individual medley in impressive fashion, had to accept a second runner-up effort tonight. He was beaten by veteran Andrew McMillan in final of the 100m butterfly. McMillan, who is now coaching fulltime, returned to the pool to win in 52.76 with Polianski, some 12 years his junior, second in 53.43 from Sam Perry (St Peters) 53.48.

The closest finish of the night came in the women’s 100m butterfly where Glasgow Commonwealth Games representative Samantha Lee (Capital) came from third at the final turn to win in 59.26s.

There was just a blink separating the first three with Australian Emily Washer just 2/100ths of a second in runner-up and defending champion Laura Quilter (North Shore) a further 4/100ths of a second back in third.

Washer led at the first turn before Quilter took over, leading until 10m from the finish where Lee powered home to victory.

“I haven’t done a lot of short course training or racing for a while and since World University Games. I just got thrown back into hard training so I wasn’t really expecting much coming into this meet but I’ve sort of surprised myself and I just tried to have fun,” Lee said.

Wellington’s Emma Robinson, just back from the FINA World Championships in Russia, was untroubled in winning the final of the 800m freestyle in 8:31.04 well clear of Howick Pakuranga’s Kimberly Richter and Aquagym’s Sammy Winward.

In the Para-Swimming tonight Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) and Bryall McPherson (North Shore) claimed honours in the men’s  and women’s 100m butterfly in 1:03.62 and 1:21.62 respectively.

The championships conclude tomorrow with heats from 9am and finals from 6pm.

Results day 4

Women 400m individual medley: Helena Gasson (North Shore) 4:40.35, 1; Kate Godfrey (Neptune) 4:42.29, 2; Yeonsu Lee (North Shore) 4:48.47, 3.

Men 200m backstroke: Wilrich Coetzee (North Shore) 1:57.41, 1; Andrew Trembath (Neptune) 1:57.72, 2; Matthew Pender (AUS) 1:58.22, 3.

Women 200m backstroke: Kate Godfrey (Neptune) 2:08.75, 1; Annabelle Paterson (United) 2:10.29, 2; Rebekah Bradley (United) 2:11.58, 3.

Men 100m butterfly: Andrew McMillan (Parnell) 52.76, 1; Max Polianski (United) 53.43, 2; Sam Perry (St Peters) 53.48, 3.

Women 100m butterfly: Samantha Lee (Capital) 59.26, 1; Emily Washer (AUS) 59.28, 2; Laura Quilter (North Shore) 59.32, 3.

Women 800m freestyle: Emma Robinson (Capital) 8:31.04, 1; Kimberley Richter (Howick Pakuranga) 8:59.23, 2; Sammy Winward (Aquagym) 8:59.43, 3.

Para-Swimming Results:

Men 100m butterfly: Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 1:03.62, 1.

Women 100m butterfly: Bryall McPherson (North Shore) 1:21.62, 1; Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 1:37.67, 2.

CAPTION: Wilrich Coetzee (North Shore) in action at the New Zealand Short Course Championships at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre tonight. The images are free for editorial use only. Credit: BW Media.

NZ Short Course Championships