Helena Gasson Lowers New Zealand Open Record At Day Three Of Competition

Photo Courtesy: Simon Watts, BW Media

 by Dave Crampton, Swimming World contributor.

It was a mixture of elation and disappointment on day three of the New Zealand Short Course championships in Auckland, which doubles as a qualifying meet for the World Short Course championships in Canada.

As expected, Daniel Hunter headed the 50m freestyle; his time of 21.52 was his second World Championships qualifying mark after his 200m effort earlier in the week. He also broke the New Zealand record by 0.1s.

“It was a lot better than this morning, the breakout was a lot better. I think the 100m will be a solid swim.”

I’ve put so much time and effort into this. I’ve put my university on hold – sacrificing so much,” the former World University Games swimmer said.

Hunter is not on a full taper, as he is swimming the World Cup in Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong from next month with fellow New Zealand swimmers Bobbi Gichard and Rio Olympian Emma Robinson, before flying direct to Canada for worlds.

“Jana (Wilkitzki, coach) wants us to mix with the top guys as much as possible.”    

Helena Gasson broke the New Zealand open record in the 100m medley, and lowered it further to 1:00.61 in the evening, but it was 0.04s outside the world champs mark.  She came second to Australian Emily Washer, who clocked 1:00.52 for her ticket to Canada.  

“To get the New Zealand record is pretty cool,” Gasson said. “I didn’t know what the qualifying time was until someone told me I was 0.04 off. I just want to keep all the pressure out of the competition and enjoy it.

“The Games were fun and I learned a lot but a lot of pressure came with it. So it’s good to take a step back and fall back in love with the sport.”

Gasson is swimming the 100m butterfly later this week, her qualifying distance at Rio.

It was also disappointment for Gabrielle Fa’amausili, 16 in the women’s 50m freestyle.  While her time of 24.85 bettered her NAG record set earlier in the day, it was just 0.03s off the World Champs qualifying standard. Like Hunter, she is also down to swim the 100m freestyle later in the week.

George Schroder, a member of Swimming New Zealand’s high performance squad, won the men’s 200m breaststroke in a personal best 2:08.71, but was 0.05s off a world champs qualifying time.

Thirteen-year-old Brearna Crawford, 13, broke Fa’amausili’s 100 IM NAG record in 1:05.32, and was the fifth – placed New Zealander in the 200m breaststroke A final in 2:32.93, another NAG time.   

Australia’s Cassandra van Breugal won the 200m breaststroke in 2:29.71 with the national title going to Caitlin Delany from Bronagh Ryan, who had won the 50m and 100m breaststroke titles. There was just 0.9s separating the trio in a closely fought race.

 The championships continue until Thursday.

Day 3 results

Men 100m individual medley: Wilrich Coetzee (North Shore) 54.92, 1; Donald Cameron (Aust) 55.90, 2; Luke Bibby (Aust) 56.31, 3.

Women 100m individual medley: Emily Washer (Aust) 1:00.52, 1; Helena Gasson (North Shore) 1:00.00.61, 2 (NZ Record); Chloe Francis (Parnell) 1:02.22, 3.

Men 50m freestyle: Daniel Hunter (Howick Pakuranga) 21.52, 1 (NZ Record, World Champs Qualifying time); Julian Weir (Aquabladz) 22.32, 2; Eric Kahr (United) 22.52, 3.

Women 50m freestyle: Gabrielle Fa’amausili (United) 24.85, 1; Gasson 25.46, 2; Chelsey Edwards (SwimZone) 25.79, 3.

Men 200m breaststroke: George Schroder (Hokitika) 2:08.76, 1; Jacob Garrod (North Shore) 2:10.07. 2; Hamish Trlin(Capital) 2:13.55, 3.

Women 200m breaststroke: Cassandra van Breugel (Aust) 2:29.71, 1; Caitlin Delany (Tasman) 2:30.06, 2; Bronagh Ryan (Porirua) 2:30.63, 3.

Men 400m freestyle: Michael Mincham (United) 3:49.17, 1; Zac Reid (Aquabladz) 3:52.66, 2; Matthew Scott (Enterprise) 3:53.24, 3.

Para-Swimming Results:

Men 100m Individual Medley: Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 1:07.97, 1; Celyn Edwards (Selwyn) 1:15.16, 2; Tama Solouota (Howick Pakuranga) 1:14.27, 3.

Women 100m Individual Medley: Olivia Upston (Parnell) 1:30.95, 1; Ella Benn (Waitaha) 1:28.64, 2; Kate McKelvie (Raumati) 1:47.39, 3.

Men 50m Freestyle: Christopher Arbuthnott (Ice Breaker) 26.59, 1; Celyn Edwards (Selwyn) 30.53, 2; Tama Solouota (Howick Pakuranga) 28.82, 3.

Women 50m Freestyle: Tupou Neiufi (Howick Pakuranga) 30.18, 1; Ella Benn (Waitaha) 35.53, 2; Olivia Upston (Parnell) 36.25, 3.

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Author: Taylor Brien

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Taylor Brien is the Assistant Operations Manager and a staff writer at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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