Oceania Championships: Australia Dominates First Day; Robert Hurley, Amy Smith Double

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, June 5. THE Australians dominated the first day of swimming at the Oceania Championships held at the QEII Leisure Center in Christchurch, New Zealand. Overall, the Aussies claimed five out of the eight available gold medals.

Meanwhile, Robert Hurley and Amy Smith both collected a pair of gold medals at the event.

Hurley snagged the 200 free with a meet-record time of 1:48.84, while also snatching the 100 back in a meet-record 55.04.

"A couple of PB's and the record in the 200 freestyle was really good and then to back it up with a reasonable swim with good splits in the backstroke was pleasing as well," Hurley told Swimming Australia. "The Olympics is definitely the direction I want to go. Obviously it is not for another four years now, but the World Championships are next year and hopefully I can get on that team. I have had a good start here and hopefully I can carry on and swim well the rest of the week."

Smith took care of her double in the butterfly events. She snared the 50 in 27.46, while setting the meet-record in the 200 with a time of 2:09.63. In an excerpt from the Swimming Australia release, Smith's performances are put in perspective.

The swim removed the personal doubt that Smith had felt following a number of her performances at junior international meets in recent years, paying tribute to coach Michael Bohl, who is in Europe guiding the pre-Olympic campaigns of Stephanie Rice, Nic Sprenger and Megean Nay, and saying she was pleased to finally perform at her best at an international meet.

"I'm really happy with my swims and it's good to be able to swim fast at a meet like this," Smith told Swimming Australia. "It is good to be able to swim fast at a meet like this because I've never really done my best times at these meets before. I've never been really happy, and I've thought I needed to earn my spot but I have tonight. It's definitely a monkey off my back and when I have swum average and other people have swum well I have always wanted to be like them. Tonight I have."

New Zealand claimed the other two women's gold medals as Helen Norfolk walked away with the 200 free in a meet-record time of 2:00.31, while Liz Coster captured the 100 back in a meet-record 1:01.10.

In the men's meet, Corney Swanepoel of New Zealand notched a meet record with a 23.98 in the 50 fly, while compatriot Moss Burmester took the 200 fly in a meet-record 1:58.00. Theodore Pasialis of Australia snagged the 1500 free with a meet-record time of 15:27.31.

Results Day One
50m butterfly C Swanepoel (NZL) 23.98 (CR) C Wright (AUS) 24.32 R Pini (PNG) 24.48
200m freestyle R Hurley (AUS) 1:48.84 (CR) A McMillan (NZL) 1:50.41 R Turner (AUS) 1:50.73
100m backstroke R Hurley (AUS) 55.04 (CR) B Jovanovich (AUS) 56.54 G Kean (NZL) 56.82
200m butterfly M Burmester (NZL) 1:58.00 (CR) C Wright (AUS) 1:59.50 R Napoleon (AUS) 2:02.11
1500m freestyle T Pasialis (AUS) 15:27.31(CR) K Radford (NZL) 15:43.87 B Murphy (NZL) 15:48.17

50m butterfly A Smith (AUS) 27.46 J Ash (AUS) 27.92 E Thomas (NZL) 28.52
200m freestyle H Norfolk (NZL) 2:00.31(CR) L Boyle (NZL) 2:00.73 M Dingjan (AUS) 2:02.80
100m backstroke L Coster (NZL) 1:01.10 (CR) M Ingram (NZL) 1:02.48 B-R Taylor (AUS) 1:03.41
200m butterfly A Smith (AUS) 2:09.63 (CR) J Ash (AUS) 2:15.15 M Yamamoto (HAW) 2:32.37

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