Emma Robinson Collects Wins; NAG Records Tumble Down on Last Day of NZ Open

Photo Courtesy: Simon Watts/www.bwmedia.co.nz

By Dave Crampton, Swimming World Contributor. 

Freestyler swimmer Emma Robinson swam under another qualification standard for the Pan Pacific Championships on the final night of the Swimming New Zealand Open championships in Auckland on July 6.

Younger swimmers also continued to feature with Michael Pickett, 15, and Erika Fairweather, 14, both setting more National Age Group records.

Robinson, the sole Pan Pacific qualifier at these championships, qualified for the 800m earlier this week, then scratched the 400m to attempt a good 1500m time.

It worked. Not only was she just a second off her lifetime best, her 16:26.88 time was more than five seconds inside the qualifying standard. Second was Charlotte Webby, who has qualified for the Pan Pacific Championships in the women’s 10k open water event. She clocked 15:53.08.

Robinson eased through the first 500m, pacing her 100s well to set herself up for the best opportunity for a Pan Pacific timed final swim. It wasn’t easy, as she swam solo; her winning time was nearly 20 seconds ahead of the field.

Her only disappointment was the fact that she would rather compete with those who can keep up with her and challenge her.

“It’s pretty hard when you are on your own and pacing it by yourself – but I was pleased with that – you can thank my coach (Chris Nesbitt at Australian club TSS Aquatics) for that,” she said.

While Robinson is unsure if it is enough to make a Pan Pacific timed final – she said it was ‘touch-and go”, she certainly wants to do lifetime bests in all swims – but is she up for it?

“I bloody well hope so – you can’t hope for anything more than a personal best,” she said.

Zac Reid made it a clean-out of the longer freestyle distances, winning the 200m and the 400m – and both the 800m and 1500m in NAG record time, with his last final timed at 15:25.64.

The men’s 100m freestyle was won in the slowest time for several years, with no swimmers clocking under 50 seconds. Daniel Hunter headed off 15-year-old Michael Pickett with a 50.1, while Pickett got another NAG record – his sixth for the meet – with a 50.61, just splits faster than his relay-lead off earlier that week. Tyron Henry, 16 also lowered his NAG record to 50.81 for fourth.

Carina Doyle took out the women’s event in 56.67. Sixth placed Erika Fairweather, 14, got another NAG record to cap off an outstanding meet, clocking 57.19 for sixth. Eve Thomas, who has qualified for Junior Pan Pacs in longer freestyle events was unable to progress in the 50m, but she has had a solid meet. She moved over to Australia to train at St Peter’s Western in January and that has paid dividends, doing personal bests in heat and even bigger ones in all her finals.

“Everything is so focused – they are there to train hard – they all motivate each other to do well. The standard in Australia is a lot higher, I`m surrounded by people who are so much better – but it’s nice to race at home.”

In the 50m breaststroke events, Ciara Smith and Julian Layton missed out on a clean sweep of women’s and men’s breaststroke titles after winning the 100m and 200m titles.

Kaylee Jackson upstaged Smith by winning women’s 50m title in 32.47s. The men’s final was a much closer affair as the trio of Josh Pickett (29.02), Matthew Holder (29.09), and Eliot Lundon-Moore (29.28s) medalled, with Layton and George Schroder fourth equal.

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