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The start of something extraordinary


The 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) kicked off yesterday in Hangzhou, China, with 11 Kiwis in action on Day 1.

Bradlee Ashby (North Shore) broke his own men's 200m individual medley NZ record in the heats with a time of 1:54.13s. Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov scratched from the final, elevating Ashby into the remaining final spot.

In the final, Ashby once again broke his NZ record to stop the clock at 1:54.01s, finishing in 8th place.

Ruby Matthews (Evolution) and Wilrich Coetzee (North Shore) set new personal bests in their individual events. 

Matthews posted a 4:43.91s in the women's 400m individual medley heats, lowering her previous best (4:44.80s) by 0.89s.

In the men's 200m butterfly heats, Coetzee lowered his personal best time from 1:55.65s to 1:54.21s to finish 17th overall.

Ashby also set another personal best in the men's 100m backstroke in 51.61s, shaving off 0.45s from his previous best.

Swimming New Zealand's Targeted Athlete and Coaches Manager Gary Francis also wanted to acknowlege the impressive individual times swum in the relays.

"Andrew Jeffcoat and Wilrich both went under 49 seconds in their men's 4x100m freestyle relay swims which were a second faster than individual PBs (unofficial). Also Emma Godwin anchored the women's relay team home and a new (unofficla) PB with her 55.18s."

Francis also added, "That was great opening swims from Ruby and Wilrich in their first major championship and Bradlee really paved the way in twice breaking his own NZ record, he did not look out of place in a world championship final and will continue to get better.” 

“A very encouraging opening day from a young team who have demonstrated really good preparation processes and a professional attitude. They are being very well led by Lars Humer and his coaching team, every day is a learning experience and the swimmers are making the most of that opportunity," says Francis.

Day 1 HEATS Results

200m Butterfly M: Wilrich Coetzee
Time: 1:54.21s (PB)
Placing: 17th

100 backstroke M: Bradlee Ashby
Time: 51.61s (PB)
Placing: 20th

400 IM W: Ruby Matthews
Time: 4:43.91s (PB)
Placing: 24th

400m Free M: Matthew Hyde
Time: 3:56.14s
Placing: 33rd

200m Free W: Paige Flynn
Time: 1:59.97s
Placing: 26th

100 Breaststroke M: George Schroder
Time: 1:01.09s
Placing: 44th

100 Backstroke W: Paige Flynn
Time: 1:00.89s
Placing: 37th

200 IM M: Bradlee Ashby
Heat Time: 1:54.13s (NZR, PB, qualifies 8th for FINAL)
Final: 1:54.01s (NZR)

4 x 100 Free W
Moynihan, Flynn, Ouwehand, Godwin
Time: 3:42.69s
Placing: 9th

4 x 100 free M
Hunter, Jeffcoat, Hyde, Coetzee
Time: 3:16.46s
Placing: 11th

IMAGE: Getty Images