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The start of something extraordinary

Coetzee enjoys double victories but eyes big prize later in meet

North Shore teenager Wilrich Coetzee earned his third title in just two days before competing in his favoured events at the New Zealand Short Course Championships at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre in Auckland.

The 19 year old won the 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley tonight to go with his win in the 400m medley on the opening night of the meet that doubles as the trial for December’s FINA World Short Course Championships.

Coetzee grabbed his second title with an emphatic victory in the 200m individual medley. He was the only swimmer under the two minute mark, winning in 1:59.66 from Jacob Garrod (North Shore) and Australian Donald Cameron.

The third title came in the 100m backstroke when he stormed home in the final 25m to claim the title in 53.57s, to pip his older brother Corneille by 0.1s with defending champion Andrew Trembath (Neptune) 0.3s behind in third.

His main targets are the 100m butterfly on Wednesday and the 100m fly on the final day on Thursday where he wants to qualify for the world championships.

“The targets are the butterfly events on the last two days so it’s a case of being patient, every day doing all the processes and working on the skills,” Coetzee said.

“We are working towards world championship qualification. Tonight we were gunning for it but the skills weren’t up to it so it was a good learning experience.

“Once the butterfly hits I want to reach the target both morning and night. I want to qualify well and not by the skin of my teeth.”

Coetzee’s North Shore club has now won six titles in two days, fitting testimony to club swimmer Hayley Edmond who passed away recently. The swimmers are wearing a special cap with Hayley’s name and her favourite orange colour for the competition.

Sixteen year old Gabrielle Fa’amausili retained her title in the 100m backstroke after topping qualifying this morning. On target for a possible qualifying swim for the world championships, Fa’amausili did not make the best final turn but had enough in the tank to win in 59.54s, the only swimmer under a minute. United’s Rebekah Bradley was second in 1:00.00 with North Shore’s Caroline Baddock third in 1:00.13.

Porirua’s Bronagh Ryan won her second breaststroke title of the meet, adding the 50m honours to her record breaking effort in the 100m on the first night.

Ahead at the turn, Ryan had to withstand a storming finish from Rio Olympic butterfly specialist Helena Gasson (North Shore) who was second in 31.86 with Australian Cassandra van Breugel third in 31.94.

Top qualifier Erik Kahr (United) claimed the national title in the 50m breaststroke in 27.73 which was nearly 0.8s outside the world championship standard.

Fourth at the turn, Kahr finished strongest to win by 0.4s from Matthew Phillips (Wharenui) and half a second ahead of Jacob Garrod (North Shore).

North Shore’s Carina Doyle took out the 400m freestyle in 4:13.61 to edge out top qualifier Hayley McIntosh by half a second. The 17 year old from the Northwave club in Whangarei led through 350m before Doyle edged ahead in the final 50m for the victory.

The Australians could not be denied in the women’s 200m individual medley, with the well-performed Emily Washer, from the famed Carlisle Swim Club in Sydney, winning in 2:12.22 with the national title going to second placed Chloe Francis (Parnell) in 2:14.82.

In Para-Swimming action, Rio Paralympian Tupou Neiufu (Howick Pakuranga) took out her second title in the 100m backstroke, while talented Manawatu teenager Christopher Arbuthnott (Icebreaker) impressed in the men’s 100m backstroke.

Parnell’s Olivia Upston had a top night winning both the 50m breaststroke and 400m freestyle.

The championships continue until Thursday.

Day 2 results

Men 200m IM: Wilrich Coetzee (North Shore) 1:59.66, 1; Jacob Garrod (North Shore) 2:00.42, 2; Hamish Trlin (Capital) 2:02.20, 3.

Women 200m IM: Chloe Francis (Parnell) 2:14.82, 1; Paige Schendelaar-Kemp (Howick Pakuranga) 2:17.06, 2; Gina McCarthy (Hillcrest) 2:17.58, 3.

Men 100m Back: Wilrich Coetzee (North Shore) 53:57, 1; Corneille Coetzee (North Shore) 53.67, 2; Andrew Trembath (Neptune) 53.94, 3.

Women 100m Back: Gabrielle Fa’amausili (United) 59.54, 1; Rebekah Bradley (United) 1:00.00, 2; Caroline Baddock (North Shore) 1:00.13, 3.

Men 50m Breaststroke: Erik Kahr (United) 27.73, 1; Matthew Phillips (Wharenui) 28.10, 2; Jacob Garrod (North Shore) 28.27, 3.

Women 50m Breaststroke: Bronagh Ryan (Porirua City) 31.79, 1; Helena Gasson (North Shore) 31.86, 2.; Kaylee Jackson (Jasi) 32.06, 3.

Women 400m Freestyle: Carina Doyle (North Shore) 4:13.61, 1; Hayley McIntosh (Northwave) 4:14.05, 2; Caitlin Deans (Neptune) 4:15.29, 3.

Para-Swimming Results:

Men 100m Back: Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 1:08.47, 1; David Beck (Mt Albert Grammar) 1:13.01, 2; Tama Solouota (Howick Pakuranga) 1:13.32, 3.

Women 100m Back: Tupou Neiufu (Howick Pakuranga) 1:12.54, 1; Jane Fox (Orca) 1:26.68, 2; Ella Benn (Waitaha) 1:28.95, 3.

Men 50m Breaststroke: Celyn Edwards (Selwyn) 38.61, 1; Tama Solouota (Howick Pakuranga) 38.90, 2.

Women 50m Breaststroke: Olivia Upston (Parnell) 48.08, 1; Ella Benn (Waitaha) 50.29, 2.

Women 400m Freestyle: Olivia Upston (Parnell) 5:40.22, 1; Ella Benn (Waitaha) 5:46.21, 2; Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 5:52.62, 3.

CAPTION: North Shore’s Wilrich Coetzee in action during his win in the individual medley at the New Zealand Short Course Championships at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre. Credit: BW Media.

NZ Short Course Championships