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The start of something extraordinary

Two medals, 10 Individual finals in the pool in Hawaii

It proved close but no podium reward for New Zealand swimmers on the final night in pool competition at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii today.

New Zealand swimmers managed two fourth placings and one fifth in an exciting night at Kihei, Maui in the championships that attracted 300 swimmers 18 years and younger from USA, Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, China, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

The fourth placing to Hokitika’s George Schroder and fifth by Hamilton’s Bradlee Ashby in their respective A Finals did come without recompense, with both breaking New Zealand age group records.

Schroder, from AquaGym club in Christchurch, broke the 200m breaststroke record for 18 years twice today. He was fourth fastest in the heats in 2:15.64 to go under the previous record of 2:16.85. He went faster again in the final in 2:14.97 to finish fourth, just 24/100th of a second from a spot on the podium.

The Kiwi was last after 50m and still seventh at the 150m mark before rushing home in 33.73s over the final 50m, the fastest of all, but just short of a medal.

Ashby, from the Fairfield club, finished fifth in the A final of the 200m individual medley. He was third fastest in qualifying in 2:05.74 and went faster in the final to clock 2:03.25. It was enough for fourth in a fast and closely fought final with his time nearly a second inside his own national age group record.

Both swimmers currently train at the High Performance Centre at Millennium Institute.

The other fourth placing went to the men’s 4x100m medley relay combination of Andrew Trembath, Schroder, Ashby and Julian Weir with Japan, Canada and the New Zealanders locked in a close battle for the final two spots on the podium behind winners USA.

New Zealand had to settle for fourth in 3:43.75, only a second behind Japan and half a second from Canada.

In other swims Rebeka Bradley (United, Auckland) was 13th in the 50m Freestyle in 27.23s, with Weir (AquaBladz New Plymouth) 14th and Dominic Mildon (Howick Pakuranga) 15th in the men’s B final of the same event in 24.02s and 24.53s respectively. Porirua City’s Ben Walsh was 14th in the 200m breaststroke in 2:22.41.

New Zealand pool swimmers finished with two medals by Ashby, who was third in the 100m butterfly and 400m individual medley, fourth in the 200m butterfly and fifth in the 200m individual medley to complete an encouraging week.

Along with Ashby’s two medals, the Kiwi swimmers gained three fourth placings and one fifth in the 10 individual qualifiers for A finals.

The competition is not over with Ashburton’s Grace Sommerville and Wellington’s Liam Albery competing in the 10km open water swim off Ulua Beach in Kihei tomorrow.

The elite Pan Pacific open water finals, unable to be held in Gold Coast two weeks ago after inclement weather, will be held at the same time, with Rotorua’s Kane Radford and New Plymouth’s Charlotte Webby competing over the six laps of the 1.66km course.

CAPTION: George Schroder in action. The image is free for editorial use only. Credit: BW Media

Results and Live Stream: www.usaswimming.org

Junior Pan Pacific