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The start of something extraordinary

State NZ Short Course Swimming Championships - Day 1 Wrap

The Olympians provided most of the action on the opening night of finals at the State 2013 New Zealand Short Course Championships at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre tonight.

London Olympians and training mates Matthew Stanley (Matamata) and Steven Kent (Coast) fought out a massive battle in the 200m freestyle, fellow AquaBlack Samantha Lee (Capital) enjoyed a dominant victory in her specialist 200m butterfly.

New Zealand’s outstanding IPC swimmers added world class glitter to the opening night of finals with world records to Paralympic superstar Sophie Pascoe in the 50m breaststroke and Daniel Sharp in the 100m breaststroke.

Kent rocketed to an early lead in the 200m freestyle open final, splitting 50.69 seconds through the 100m mark before Stanley pulled his signature move and finished strongly in the final 25m to clinch the win in a time of 1:44.98, just over a second outside the national record.

Stanley was happy to grab the win after a short preparation after a break following the recent world championships in Barcelona.

“I’m pretty happy with how the race went and the time because I’ve only really been back in the water for a month and the training hasn’t really been too hard so it’s nice to come here and just blow the cobwebs off and do some tough racing,” said Stanley.

The championships serve as a starting point for the 25m world championship bronze medallist as he begins his preparation for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

“After this we will do a lot of base training and then we’ll be going to the Gold Coast in December to do a big training camp and then some racing,” he said.

World Championship representative Lee produced a strong showing in the 200m butterfly. The 21 year old led from start to finish, clocking 1:03.15 at the 100m mark before fading slightly to finish in a time of 2:12.08.

“I tried to go out fast with easy speed and then build from the 100m which I think I did,” said Lee.

The Wellingtonian had a short break after her world championship campaign before returning to the competition pool today.

“After the world champs I had a week off and then I got thrown back into hard training with the rest of my squad so it was a hard couple of weeks adjusting back to training. I’m not quite back to full proper shape yet but I’m getting there slowly,” she said.

In the women’s Para 50m breaststroke final, Pascoe powered her way to a new world record clocking 35.14 seconds to take the win ahead of fellow IPC World Championship stars Mary Fisher and Nikita Howarth.

Partially sighted swimmer Sharp (Laser Mt Eden), a double Paralympian, was in outstanding form clocking 1:05.16 to establish a new world record in the 100m breaststroke.

In other finals tonight, the men’s 100m backstroke final saw 29 year old Kurt Crosland (Neptune) edge out Olympians Stanley and Daniel Bell (Aquabladz Taranaki), with the women’s equivalent won by Caroline Baddock (North Shore) in a personal best time of 58.68s.

Cantabrian Natasha Lloyd won the women’s 50m breaststroke in a new national age group record of 31.69, while 16 year old Ben Walsh (Porirua City Aquatics) also grabbed a national open title and age group record in the 100m breaststroke with a time of 1:01.05.

The men’s 100m butterfly final was a tightly contested race but it was rising star Samuel Perry that snatched the win in 53.99 seconds while Otago’s Kate Godfrey (Neptune) held off the challenge of North Shore swimmers Chloe Francis and Tabitha Baumann in the gruelling 400m individual medley.

The championships continue until Thursday before the inaugural Swimming New Zealand Zonal Championship on Friday.

Results, Open finals:
Men 200m freestyle: Matt Stanley (Matamata) 1:44.98, 1; Steven Kent (Coast) 1:45.67, 2; Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga) 1:47.43, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Daniel Holt (North Shore) 2:00.71, 1; Hamish McLean (Wanaka) 3:14.16, 2.
Women 50m breaststroke: Natasha Lloyd (North Canterbury) 31.69, 1; Bronagh Ryan (Porirua City) 32.31, 2; Katie Kenneally (QEII) 32.66, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Sophie Pascoe (QEII) 35.14, 1; Mary Fisher (Capital) 42.05, 2; Nikita Howarth (Cambridge) 42.09, 3.
Men 100m Backstroke: Kurt Crosland(Neptune) 52.28, 1; Matthew Stanley (Matamata) 52.61, 2; Daniel Bell (Aquabladz) 54.04, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) 1:07.53, 1; Daniel Gaualofa (Bay of Islands) 1:10.46, 2; Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 1:19.00, 3.
Women 200m butterfly: Samantha Lee (Capital) 2:12.08, 1; Helena Gasson (Fairfield) 2:15.56, 2; Charlotte Webby (Aquabladz) 2:16.62, 3.
Men 100m breaststroke: Ben Walsh (Porirua) 1:01.05, 1; Crosland 1:01.19, 2; George Schroder (Aquagym) 1:01.44, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Daniel Sharp (Laser Mt Eden) 1:05.16, 1; Gaualofa 1:21.56, 2; Arbuthnott 1:26.76, 3.
Women 100m backstroke: Caroline Baddock (North Shore) 58.68, 1; Laura Quilter (North Shore) 59.21, 2; Rebekah Bradley (United) 1:01.01, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Fisher 1:21.10, 1; Emily Grace (St Pauls) 1:22.74, 2; Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 1:24.69, 3.
Men 100m butterfly: Samuel Perry (St Peters) 53.99, 1; Kent 54.08, 2; Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) 54.10, 3.
AWD Multiclass: Reynolds 1:07.98, 1; Gaualofa 1:13.40, 2; Arbuthnott 1:15.29, 3.
Women 400m individual medley: Kate Godfrey (Neptune) 4:41.49, 1; Chloe Francis (North Shore) 4:43.52, 2; Tabitha Baumann (North Shore) 4:45.34, 3.