New Zealand Spring Competition: Hayley Palmer Triples, Including New Zealand Record

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, September 28. NORTH Shore swimmer Hayley Palmer enjoyed a busy and successful second night of finals at the New Zealand Spring Competition in Christchurch tonight.

Palmer, 20, won three titles in an exhausting night, including a New Zealand record at the QEII Leisure Centre.

The world championship semifinalist took out the women's 50m butterfly, 100m individual medley and 100m freestyle honors in a grueling effort made tougher with Palmer still in full training through the meet.

She had to withstand storming finishes from fellow New Zealand team member Tash Hind (International Training Centre – Capital) who almost ran her down in both the medley and 100m freestyle.

"I don't normally do a program this heavy. To come out with three titles, two of which were by the skin of my teeth, is pretty good. I am very happy," Palmer said.

"I am full work through this meet without any taper at all. To be honest, I'm absolutely knackered.

"But to really be world class you need to be able to get up and perform whenever it is required. I've started to build-up towards the Commonwealth Games and of course London, so this will have its benefits.

"It was real tempting just to try and beat Tash. I race the 100m free so much, I have a game plan and I just stuck to it. In fact I turned the other side to breathe and so I did not see her at all in the final 25m."

Palmer proved too strong in the 50m butterfly, winning in 26.94 from Wellington's Samantha Lee, who set a national age group record in the process.

The North Shore swimmer, 11th in the world in the 100m freestyle, then took out the 100m individual medley, holding off a strong finish from ITC's Tash Hind. Palmer won in 1:01.24 to knock nearly half a second off the previous New Zealand record held by Hind, who also went under her old mark in finishing second.

Palmer made a strong start in the 100m final, turning in 26.04s but by the 75m mark Hind had closed to within a body length. She held her off to win in 54.66 with Hind just 5/100ths of a second behind.

Corney Swanepoel (ITC) showed his class with an emphatic performance to win the 50m butterfly in 22.84, just 2/10ths outside his national record, with the star like many of the leading New Zealand squad, training through this meet.

He pipped Auckland's Tim Dawson, the winner of the 100m butterfly last night, and Olympic finalist Ryan Pini (Queensland).

Swanepoel returned to finish second in the 100m freestyle, edged out in the final few metres by fellow world championship teammate Michael Jack (West Auckland).

It proved a top race with Jack storming home to win ahead of Swanepoel and 200m freestyle winner Andrew McMillan, with just 3/10ths of a second separating the trio.

Auckland's Kurt Bassett, another to improve his ranking in his first major international meet at the world championships, impressed in winning the 200m backstroke in 1:53.64, just 5/100ths of a second outside the national record, after running down early leader Daniel Bell in the final 30m.

In other finals Queensland's Daniel Leston took out the 400m individual medley, Dunedin's Phoebe Williams (Waves) won the 800m freestyle and Katie Kenneally (Neptune, Dunedin) in the 200 breaststroke, breaking a national age group record in the process.

There were several other young swimmers to shine, none more so than Christchurch 14-year-old Sophia Batchelor (Aqua Gym) who set new national age group records in the 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly. The other age group records went to Samantha Lee (Capital, 17) in the 50m butterfly, Natasha Lloyd (Kaiapoi) in the 100m individual medley, Corey Main (Howick Pakuranga) 200m backstroke and Nathan Capp (Greerton, BOP) who broke Danyon Loader's long standing mark in the 400m individual medley.

The championships continue until Wednesday.

Open results:
Women, 50m butterfly: Hayley Palmer (North Shore) 26.94, 1; Samantha Lee (Capital) 27.07, 2; Emily Thomas (North Shore) 27.22, 3.
100m individual medley: Palmer 1:01.24, 1 (NZ Record); Tash Hind (ITC Capital) 1:01.40, 2; Grace Francis (North Shore) 1:04.23, 3.
800m freestyle: Phoebe Williams (Waves, Otago) 8:39.49, 1; Emma Lowther (Howick Pakuranga) 8:41.19, 2; Alannah Jury (North Shore) 8:42.93, 3.
100m freestyle: Palmer 54.55, 1; Hind 54.60, 2; Amaka Gessler (ITC-Aquagym) 55.33, 3.
200m breaststroke: Katie Kenneally (Neptune, Otago) 2:27.19, 1; Kelly Briden (QEII) 2:32.04, 2; Carmen Ooi (West Auckland) 2:34.54, 3.
Men, 50m butterfly: Corney Swanepoel (International Training Centre) 22.84, 1; Tim Dawson (United Auckland) 23.54, 2; Ryan Pini (Queensland) 23.66, 3.
400m individual medley: Daniel Lester (Queensland) 4:13.85, 1; Brett Newall (West Auckland) 4:17.25, 2; Matthew Glassford (Neptune, Otago) 4:24.43, 3.
100m freestyle: Michael Jack (West Auckland) 48.46, 1; Swanepoel 48.51, 2; Andrew McMillan (North Shore) 48.79.
200m backstroke: Kurt Bassett (ITC – Mt Eden) 1:53.64, 1; Daniel Bell (North Shore) 1:54.82, 2; Cameron Stanley (North Shore) 1:54.83, 3.

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