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The start of something extraordinary

Paralympic star sets world records, Stanley qualifies for worlds

Para-Swimming’s Mary Fisher and Olympian Matthew Stanley produced the headline acts on the third night of finals at the New Zealand Short Course Championships in Wellington tonight.

Fisher (Capital) set her third world record of the meet in the 100m individual medley in 1:18.40 after twice going under the world record in the 50m freestyle at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre in Kilbirnie.

Meanwhile Stanley was a blink outside Danyon Loader’s long standing national record in the 400m freestyle. The long course national record holder was only 0.3s off the record although his time of 3:40.74 was 1.5 seconds inside the qualifying time for December’s World Short Course Championships.

The Matamata swimmer only qualified seventh fastest after easing his way into the final. He was not only chasing the world championship qualifying mark but Loader’s record of 3:40.46 that has stood for 19 years.

“After three months of travelling and racing it takes its toll so I thought I’d just take it a little bit easier this morning, which is a luxury I won’t get to have at world champs,” Stanley said.

“It’s been pretty annoying being so close to the New Zealand records and not getting them but hopefully I can swim a little bit better. I need to work on my stroke, it’s deteriorated a little over the last three months of racing but hopefully I will swim fast at worlds.”

Stanley qualified for the 200m for the world championships earlier in the meet.

Paralympic and World Champion Fisher set the time of 31.79s in the morning heat and went on to break the world record again in the 50m freestyle in tonight’s final, reducing the mark to 31.20s.

“It’s really exciting, it’s a PB and the world records are a bonus pretty much,” Fisher said. “Tonight I just worked on a couple of technical things in my individual medley and even though it wasn’t as straight, it was a good time so I’m happy with that.

“In the 50 free we had a lot of para girls swimming which was really exciting and it was cool to go fast in the morning.”

Youth Olympic medallist Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Roskill) broke her own 14 years age group record on her way to claiming the overall honours in the final of the 50m freestyle tonight.

Fa’amausili’s time of 25.08s was the second fastest time ever swum by any New Zealand age group swimmer, only bettered by the 18 years record set by Olympian Hayley Palmer of 25.05s.

Junior Pan Pacific medallist Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) came agonisingly close to besting Commonwealth Games swimmer Mitchell Donaldson (North Shore) in the 100m individual medley.

Ashby, 18, qualified fastest in this morning’s heats and led through the 50m mark in the final, but he was eventually out-touched by Donaldson who won by just 1/100th of a second in 55.06s.

In other swims tonight, Helena Gasson of Fairfield club continued her winning ways to claim victory in 1:02.58 in the 100m individual medley, while Nielsen Varoy (West Auckland) took out the men’s 50m freestyle in 22.02s.

Youth Olympian Jacob Garrod (North Shore) took the honours in the men’s 200m breaststroke in 2:11.74 while clubmate Abbie Johnston claimed the women’s title in 2:30.83.

The Para-Swimming men’s 100m individual medley title went to Hamish McLean (Wanaka), Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker Aquatics) was the men’s 50m freestyle champion and Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) claimed the men’s 400m freestyle title.

The championships continue until Saturday with morning sessions from 9am and finals from 6pm each day.

Day 3 Results:

Men 100m individual medley: Mitchell Donaldson (North Shore) 55.06, 1; Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield) 55.07, 2; Sam Turner (Capital) 56.54, 3.

Women 100m individual medley: Helena Gasson (Fairfield) 1:02.58, 1; Rebekah Bradley (United) 1:04.36, 2; Georgia Harris (United) 1:04.44, 3.

Men 50m freestyle: Nielsen Varoy (West Auckland) 22.02, 1; Daniel Hunter (Howick Pakuranga) 22.14, 2; Cameron Simpson (Waitaha) 22.15, 3.

Women 50m freestyle: Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Roskill, Auckland) 25.08, 1; Isobel Ryan (Oamaru) 25.87, 2; Hayley Edmond (North Shore) 25.96, 3.

Men 200m breaststroke: Jacob Garrod (North Shore) 2:11.74, 1; George Schroder (Hokitika) 2:12.06, 2; Mario Koenigsperger (Howick Pakuranga) 2:18.16, 3.

Women 200m breaststroke: Abbie Johnston (North Shore) 2:30.83, 1; Millie MacDonald (Parnell) 2:31.20, 2; Caitlin Mann (Roskill) 2:35.43, 3.

Men 400m freestyle: Matthew Stanley (Matamata) 3:40.74, 1; Nathan Capp (Greerton) 3:44.26, 2; Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (Coast, Auckland) 3:46.91, 3.

Para Swimmers:

Men 100m individual medley: Hamish McLean (Wanaka) 1:38.28, 1.

Women 100m individual medley: Mary Fisher (Capital) 1:18.14, 1; Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 1:26.11, 2; Rebecca Dubber (North Shore) 1:41.40, 3.

Men 50m freestyle: Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker Aquatics, Manawatu) 27.55, 1; Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) 28.34, 2. Daniel Gaualofa (Bay of Islands) 26.98, 3.

Women 50m freestyle: Mary Fisher (Capital) 31.20, 1; Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 31.65, 2; Nikita Howarth (Te Awamutu) 35.96, 3.

Men 400m freestyle: Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) 4:29.17, 1; Daniel Gaualofa (Bay of Islands) 4:48.87, 2; Hamish McLean (Wanaka) 6:07.69, 3.

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

CAPTION: Matthew Stanley in action at the New Zealand Short Course Swimming Championships in Wellington today.

The images are free for editorial use only. Credit: BW Media

NZ Short Course Championships