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Mayfair Pools New Zealand Age Group Championships – Day 4 Wrap

It was a case of the fantastic five for swimmers at the Mayfair Pools New Zealand Age Group Championships in Wellington tonight.

Five swimmers went under the qualifying mark for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships to be held in August, which comprises full strength teams from the Pacific Rim including USA, Canada Japan and Australia as well as New Zealand.

The championships at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre double as the official trials for swimmers to be considered for the Junior Pan Pacs in Hawaii and the second Youth Olympics in China, both in August.

Three of the swimmers – Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield), George Schroder (Aquagym) and Jacob Garrod (North Shore) – had already met the standard in other swims this week.

However it proved a real victory for Fairfield’s Carter Edgecombe and Porirua’s Ben Walsh who both bettered the qualifying standard on the penultimate night of competition.

Edgecombe clocked 15:58.39 to sneak under the qualifying mark for the 1500m freestyle by 29/100ths of a second.

The 17 year old has fought back into the sport after a challenging time suffering from a serious shoulder injury.

“I am ecstatic. It was pretty surreal and I am glad to get it over and done with.  I was pretty nervous for sure,” Edgecombe said.

“I’ve had an injury over the last 18 months and have been working through it and strengthening my shoulder.

“I thought the boys would really push me along but I just swam my own race. The crowd got behind me over that last 300 when it started to hurt and helped get me home.”

Walsh (Porirua City) clocked 1:02.61 to win the 100m breaststroke, nearly two seconds under the qualifying time for the Junior Pan Pacs, and broke his own national age group record for 17 years by 0.36secs.

He also dragged Schroder and Garrod under the qualifying mark. Schroder and Garrod, who met the qualifying standard in the 200m breaststroke, clocked 1:03.60 and 1:04.04 to go under the required standard of 1:04.34.

“I am so happy I’ve made the Junior Pan Pacs mark. I was hoping to go the time but was unsure after my morning heat with a 1:05. I wasn’t sure I had it in me,” Walsh said.

“It weighed on my mind a bit that I just missed in the 200m breaststroke and that George and Jacob might beat me. Then I told myself that I deserve to be here after I got the silver medal at the Opens.

“The plan was to go out hard in the first 50 because I knew the others had a strong back end after the 200, and it worked out.”

Ashby (Fairfield), one of the stars of the meet, clocked another qualifying effort, winning the 17-18 years 100m butterfly in 54.79s, just 4/100ths under the Junior Pan Pacs mark.

Caitlin Johnston (Ashburton), 16, won her age group and was fastest overall in the 50m breaststroke in 34.06s, while outstanding North Shore prospect, Yeonsu Lee, 15, was fastest of all age groups in winning the 400m individual medley in 5:03.07.

Andrew Trembath (Neptune) continued his strong form with victory in the 17-18 years 50m backstroke in 26.72s, while Georgia Marris (United) added another victory, this time in the 17-18 years 100m butterfly, clocking 1:02.87.

The championships continue until Saturday.

CAPTION: Ben Walsh in action tonight. (Credit: BW Media)

NZ Age Groups