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The start of something extraordinary

Fa’amausili makes it a golden double medal haul

Burgeoning teenage swim star Gabrielle Fa’amausili completed a golden two weeks with victory in the 50m backstroke on the second day of finals at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa.

Late last month the 15-year-old from the United club in Auckland won the same event at the FINA Junior World Championships in Singapore where she set a new junior world record.

Tonight Fa’amausili clocked 28.74s to hold off compatriot Bobbi Gichard who settled for the silver to reverse their placings from results of the 100m backstroke on the opening night.

“I was happy with that result tonight and happy to have been with such an awesome team this year,” Fa’amausili said.

“I tried not to think about times tonight but to just go out there to do my best and see what happens.

“I will now look forward to some relays to come and the 50m freestyle before I go home for two weeks break.”

New Zealanders made a clean sweep of the medal colours in this event with Bayley Main winning the bronze in the men’s 50m backstroke final.

The 18 year old from Howick Pakuranga clocked 26.43s, which further lowered his personal best set in the heat this morning, finishing less than half a second behind winner Zane Waddell from South Africa.

It was his second medal after a bronze in the 100m backstroke on the opening night.

“I was very happy with that performance tonight. I had hoped to have medalled in the freestyle events too but I am happy with that result,” said Main who is on scholarship at the University of Florida.

“I was doing mostly middle distance at Howick Pakuranga club but when I got to Florida they put me more on to a sprint programme so it is quite different.”

Accordingly he will not swim the 200m backstroke and loses the chance to emulate the feat of his older brother Corey who won medals in all three backstroke events at the 2011 Youth Commonwealth Games in the Isle of Man.

Main’s medal took New Zealand’s tally to seven individual medals after two days of competition.

Of the other finalists tonight Main was eighth in the 100m freestyle in 51.83 while Yeonsu Lee was sixth in the 400m individual medley. Howick-Pakuranga’s Mario Koenigsperger (1:04.66) and Taranaki’s Eliot Lundon-Moore (1:06.09) finished fifth and seventh respectively in the final of the 100m breaststroke.

The New Zealand quartet of Gichard, Fa’amausili, Lee and Annabelle Paterson finished fourth in the 4x200m freestyle relay won by Australia.

Tomorrow Koenigsperger and Lundon-Moore compete in the 50m breaststroke; Lee tackles the 100m butterfly and 400m freestyle; Coetzee swims the 100m butterfly and 200m backstroke while Gichard and Paterson compete in the 200m backstroke.

The swim programme finishes on Thursday.

Day 2 finals results:

Women 400m individual medley: Calypso Sheridan (AUS) 4:49.38, 1; Bec Sutton (WAL) 4:51.52, 2; Tazmin Pugh (ENG) 4:53.65, 3. Also: Yeonsu Lee (NZL) 5:04.49, 6.

Women 50m backstroke: Gabrielle Fa’amausili (NZL) 28.74, 1; Bobbi Gichard (NZL) 29.15, 2; Gemma Cooney (AUS) 29.72, 3.

Men 50m backstroke: Zane Waddell (RSA) 25.94, 1; Conor Ferguson (NIR) 26.19, 2; Bayley Main (NZL) 26.42, 3.

Men 100m freestyle: Vincent Dai (AUS) 50.26, 1; Craig McLean (SCO) 50.96, 2; Lewis Clough (ENG) 50:98, 3. Also: Bayley Main (NZL) 51.83, 8.

Men 100m breaststroke: Fu Kang Wong (MAS) 1:03.36, 1; Edward Baxter (ENG) 1:03.72, 2; James Isemonger (RSA) 1:04.03, 3. Also: Mario Koenigsperger (NZL) 1:04.66, 5; Eliot Lundon-Moore (NZL) 1:06.90, 7.

Women 4x200m freestyle relay: Australia 8:08.24, 1; England 8:15.93, 2; Wales 8:20.26, 3. Also: New Zealand 8:37.24, 4.

CAPTION: Gabrielle Fa’amausili (lane 4) and Bobbi Gichard (lane 5) at the start of the 50m backstroke final on day two of the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa.

The image is free for editorial use. Credit: Amanda Stead.