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The start of something extraordinary

Fa’amausili bags double records at New Zealand Age Group Championships

The outstanding Auckland teenager Gabrielle Fa’amausili staked her claim for higher honours with two records on the second night of finals at the New Zealand Age 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.

Fa’amausili, who broke a national age record in the 100m freestyle on the opening night, broke records in the 50m freestyle and 100m backstroke on the second night.

She was joined by Gisborne 14-year-old Michael Pickett who broke the record for the 50m freestyle in his age group twice today, in the morning heat and again in the final.

The other national records went to Auckland’s Brearna Crawford, from the Mount Albert Grammar club, in the 200m breaststroke and 12 year old Tarquin Magner from Gisborne in the 100m backstroke.

That adds to the four age group records from the opening night.

Fa’amausili, 17 from the United club, was impressive in winning the 16-18 years final in the 50m freestyle. She was only 2/100ths of a second outside the age group record in the morning heats when she clocked 26.19, but won the final in an outstanding 25.39s which was 0.8s inside Sophia Batchelor’s 2013 record. It was only 0.21s outside the qualifying mark for the world championships.

Fa’amausili, coached by former Olympic champion Igor Polianski, returned to win the 100m backstroke for the 16-18 years’ division in 1:02.67 which also beat another national mark previously held by Batchelor of 1:03.04.

“Tonight’s plan was to just go out there and swim as fast as I could and see how close I can get to a PB. I was happy to go 0.1s off my 50m Free PB and then just to win the 100m backstroke was awesome,” Fa’amausili said.

“To also have my teammates pushing me as well and do well themselves tonight was cool. This is my last New Zealand Age Group Championships so I’m just going to enjoy it this week and swim as fast as I can.”

Pickett, who holds the 12 years and under and 13 years national age records in the 50m freestyle, broke the 14 years mark by 1/100th of a second when he clocked 24.54 in the morning heats. The Enterprise club swimmer returned to win the final and lower the record further in 24.25s.

Crawford impressed in winning the 14 years 200m breaststroke in 2:34.84, which was well under the previous record of US-based New Zealand representative Natasha Lloyd of 2:35.58.

Tauranga’s Tarquin Magner set a new record for 12 year olds in the 100m backstroke. The Otumoetai club swimmer clocked 1:04.69 in finishing second in the 13 and under final, which was the first time a 12-year-old has gone under the 1:05 barrier.

The other impressive performance came from 14-year-old Auckland swimmer Jonathan Selman who won his 14 years final of the 100m backstroke in 59.51 which was only 0.2s outside the 1996 record of Ross Dunwoody.

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 at www.swimming.org.nz

CAPTION: Gabrielle Fa’amausili celebrated two national records at the New Zealand Age Group Championships in Wellington today. Credit: BW Media.

NZ Age Groups