AUCKLAND, New Zealand, March 19. PARALYMPIC stars Sophie Pascoe and Mary Fisher stole the limelight with two world records each on the third day of the State New Zealand Swimming Championships in Auckland today.
Pascoe and Fisher, who won 10 medals between them at the London Paralympics, both set world records in the morning heats of the 50m butterfly and both went under those times again in tonight's final at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Henderson.
Olympians Glenn Snyders and Lauren Boyle both qualified in a further event for July's FINA World Championships in the 50m breaststroke and 200m freestyle respectively.
This brings the number of qualifiers to five swimmers in nine events.
Pascoe and Fisher produced stunning performances in the 50m butterfly tonight. This morning Pascoe broke her own world record, lowering it to 29.21, while Fisher took nearly one second off her world mark to 34.35.
They set their previous world records at the London Paralympics as halfway split times in the 100m freestyle finals.
Tonight Fisher took the national title in lowering her record again to 33.25 while Pascoe took nearly a second from her world record, clocking 28.38.
Twenty year old Pascoe was ecstatic to be breaking world records after a challenging end to 2012.
“I went into a dark place at the end of last year and it took me about three months to get out of that,” Pascoe said.
But there is no doubt that she is back on track after her world record breaking performances this week.
“Getting back in the water and doing it in front of a home crowd, breaking world records, has showed me that I'm on track for worlds later this year.”
Fisher was straight back into the water to win the 200m individual medley mixed category.
Californian-based Snyders added the 50m breaststroke world championship qualifying time to the 100m on the opening day of the meet. His time of 27.39 ranks him fourth in the 2012 world rankings but he's relaxed about his 50m world championship prospects.
“I'm happy with that time. The 50 doesn't matter so much, it's just a one length sprint and a bit of fun,” he said.
The 25 year old is looking to post his third qualifying time in the 200m on Thursday but he's not putting any pressure on himself to perform.
“It's something I'll do and see what happens. I haven't put too much emphasis on the 200m but I'd like to go under the qualifying time.”
Boyle has set herself a demanding schedule for the championships, winning the 200m freestyle after the 400m and 1500m freestyle victories earlier in the week.
“I really wanted to practice doing something hard every day and asking my body to do something that it is not used to,” said Boyle. “In the past I have had some problems backing up my races very well, so I thought if I hit it hard here every day, then it will help me when i get to the world championships.
“It was a consistent performance but I would have to say tonight's race was probably the toughest as I think the 1500 took a bit out of me.”
Boyle is not resting on her laurels, with the 800m on the schedule tomorrow and the 100m freestyle on Thursday.
In other finals tonight North Shore swimmer Shaun Burnett produced a strong personal best in winning the 200m butterfly in 1:58.77 while Troy Balvert (St Peter's) won the 800m freestyle in 8:24.57 from Jonathan Pullon (Howick Pakuranga).
In the other mixed category Athlete With Disability race, Australian Blake Cochrane took out the visitor's gold in the men's 200m individual medley from Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield) who claimed the national title.
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