New Zealand Short Course Championships: Trio of Swimmers Qualify for Worlds

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, October 2. TEAM New Zealand for Worlds is now up to five swimmers after day three of the New Zealand Short Course Championships. After an initial two days of two swimmers making the World Short Course Championships roster, three more cleared the qualifying mark today.

Olympian Matthew Stanley edged Ewan Jackson in a touchout triumph, 3:42.63 to 3:42.83, in the men's 400 freestyle as both swimmers undercut the FINA World Short Course Championships qualifying time to earn bids to Turkey in December. Meanwhile, Steven Kent placed third in the middle distance event
with a 3:47.75.

“It was a hard swim but definitely rewarding. It feels really good,” Jackson said. “I tried to swim my own race but I kind of gauged myself off him (Matthew Stanley) a little bit. He's been to the Olympics. I knew as long as I was around him at the finish i would have a chance of qualifying. My big goal is to break out on to the world scene. I have been telling myself in training that I need to work harder to get on to the international scene this year. I want to build towards the next Olympics and do some damage.”

Sophia Batchelor also earned a spot on the Worlds roster with a victorious time of 2:04.13 in the women's 200 backstroke event, giving New Zealand five qualifiers thus far this week. Kate Godfrey placed second in the distance dorsal with a 2:10.35, while Carolina Baddock earned third-place honors in 2:11.58.

Batchelor just missed making the London Olympic team in the women's 100 back, and has been stewing about it throughout the summer.

“It was a fantastic race, I felt so good in the water. Training has been really good with the team and we are really pulling together,” said Batchelor. “I've been training so hard and it really came together. Within the last two years all my swims have been about making this time or getting on this team. It has been outcome-based so I had got from racing and focusing on the wrong thing. I got away from the bit I love so missing the Olympics helped me reassess how I was swimming. The experience of my first world championships will help me immensely. I was the only one there last time and I was absolutely terrified. Now I know what to expect.”

Olympian Natalie Wiegersma topped the women's 100 IM with a 1:03.17, while Laura Quilter placed just behind with a 1:03.29. Chloe Francis rounded out the podium in 1:03.33. Kurt Crosland snared the men's 200 IM title in 1:58.68. Ashton Baumann took second in 1:59.44, while Worlds qualifier Corey Main took third in 2:01.29. Baumann returned in the men's 200 breast with a winning 2:12.73, while Julian Layton touched second in 2:14.22. George Schroder wound up third in 2:15.33.

A day after setting the New Zealand record in the men's 50 free, Nielsen Varoy won the men's 50 fly with a 23.96. Adam McDonald finished second in 24.21, while Crosland placed third in 24.55. Meanwhile, Samantha Richter captured the women's 50 free title in 25.47. Samantha Lee (25.79) and Naomi Smit (25.82) completed the top three.