Nicholas Groenewald Glides to Backstroke Sweep in New Zealand

Nicholas Groenewald

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, May 22. NICHOLAS Groenewald closed out a men’s backstroke sweep for Australia at the Oceania Championships.

The 16-year-old posted a 2:03.56 in the men’s 200-meter back. He’d already won the 50 and 100 the previous two days here in Auckland. New Zealand’s Bradlee Ashby placed second in 2:07.30 with Northern Mariana Islands’ Kensuke Kimura taking third in 2:18.04.

Australia had a special women’s 400-meter freestyle finale with Tamsin Cook setting an Oceania meet record of 4:10.94, while teammate and open water specialist Sacha Downing hit the wall in 411.59. New Zealand’s Samantha Lucie-Smith claimed third in 4:17.91.

New Zealand bounced back in the men’s 400-meter free with a 1-2 effort as Matthew Stanley won the middle distance event in 3:53.95, while Ewan Jackson posted a second-place 3:56.33. Australia’s Damian Fyfe picked up third-place honors in the event with a 3:58.86.

New Zealand snared a 1-3 finish in the women’s 50-meter breaststroke finale. Beckie Dooley threw down a 33.63 for the win, while teammate Jane Ip claimed third in 34.19. Hawaii’s Cara Jernigan split the difference with a second-place time of 33.96. Ben Walsh, meanwhile, clinched the men’s 50-meter breast title for New Zealand in 29.22. Australia’s Grayson Bell (29.57) and Jake Baggaley (29.91) earned second and third.

Brianna Throssell delivered a meet-record performance in the women’s 100-meter fly with a 59.43 as she pipped New Zealand’s Samantha Lee (59.74) in the process. New Zealand’s Laura Quilter stopped the clock third in 1:00.88.

Nicholas Brown gave the Aussies another butterfly win with a 54.07 in the men’s 100-meter fly. New Zealand counterpart Shaun Burnett finished second in 55.44 with Australia’s Dominic Richardson hitting the wall in 55.52.

For the second straight day, a longer distance female event proved to be sparsely filled. After four competed in the women’s 400-meter IM last night, just five swam in the women’s 200-meter back tonight. Australia’s Amy Forrester posted a 2:14.17 to win, while New Zealand’s Caroline Baddock (2:16.06) and Bobbi Gichard (2:17.45) finished second and third.

In relay action, Australia won the women’s 400-meter free relay in 3:41.75, while New Zealand’s A (3:44.90) and B (3:54.28) teams took second and third with relay member names unreported. New Zealand’s A team countered in the men’s 400-meter free relay with a 3:23.62, whiel Australia (3:26.66) and Hawaii (3:33.69) rounded out the podium.