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The start of something extraordinary

Record-setting start to New Zealand Age Group Championships

Three new records and one equalled sparked an excellent opening night of finals at the New Zealand Age Group Championships in Wellington.

Nearly 700 swimmers from more than 100 clubs, including several who are targeting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, are in action at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre.

World junior champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili (United, Auckland) led the way with a record in the 100m freestyle, clocking 56.21 to win the 16-18 years final. Her time was 0.34s under the 17 years record set by Lauren Boyle 12 years ago.

She was joined by fellow New Zealand representative Yeonsu Lee (North Shore) – the pair winning 11 titles between them at the championships last year. Lee, 17, won the 200m butterfly in a time of 2:14.39 which took a significant 1.31s off the previous mark set in 2010 by Wellington’s Samantha Lee.

“I have been battling with the 200m butterfly race for two years now so going into this race I had to trust myself, trust my trainings, relax and focus on the process which was the most important thing,” Lee said.

“In the end I got the results that I wanted today so I’m really happy.

“I didn’t have a very good meet at Junior Pan Pacs last year so I’ve just been getting back in the water and enjoying it. My main goals right now are working on my personal bests and chipping off my times.

Thirteen year old Wellington swimmer, Orlando Cristobal-Mandel set an age group record in winning the 12-13 years final in the boys’ 50m breaststroke. The Capital club swimmer was timed at 31.38s which was under the old mark by half a second.

Northland’s Ciara Smith (Northwave, Northland) equalled Annabelle Carey’s long-standing record in the 16 years 50m breaststroke, clocking 32.33s.

The other standout was Lewis Clareburt from the local Capital club. Clareburt, who won five gold medals last year, started strongly with two wins in the 16-18 years 400m freestyle in 3:56.59 and the 16-18 years 200m butterfly in 2:03.91 in a demanding opening night for the talented Wellington swimmer.

The championships, also a qualifying meet for the Youth Commonwealth Games, run until Saturday with heats from 9am and finals from 6pm and streamed live here.

CAPTION: Yeonsu Lee sets a New Zealand Age Group Record in the 200m butterfly at the New Zealand Age Group

Championships in Wellington. Credit: BW Media.

NZ Age Groups