Commentary by Dave Crampton, Swimming World Contributor.
Champion paralympic swimmer Sophie Pascoe is turning the New Zealand Short Course swimming championships into a checklist for world records, while younger women swimmers are also making their mark.
In her final morning event of the championships, Pascoe broke the S10 100m butterfly record in 1:03.03, beating the previous record held by Australian Paige Leonhardt by almost four seconds.
Pascoe has set world records in six different events this week.
“It’s been a pleasure to be back home to race and be a part of a great week,” she said. “It’s been tough, but tough is what I strive off.”
She also wants to be an inspiration to other para-swimmers – but on the same basis as any other swimmer.
“It’s not about being an inspiration for your disability, it’s about being an inspiration through hard work, and that’s what drives me.”
Also swimming in the same heat was Mary Fisher, who lowered British swimmer Elaine Barrett’s S11 world record, clocking 1:16.77. Their jobs done, they scratched from the evening finals.
Pascoe had planned to be at the world championships in Mexico, but they have been rescheduled to November due to the earthquake. Pascoe is not going to these championships; instead she will be concentrating on her preparation for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Commonwealth Youth Games medallist Hannah Bates, 17, took out her first national open title, winning the 400m individual medley in 4:48.92, a five second personal best. She said it was her biggest personal best in her best race.
“I’m very pleased; very happy – It’s definitely all gone to plan,” she said. “It was my best race.”
As well as a new title and her first national open medal, she also has a new coach of four weeks, David Prattley.
“He has been working on my underwaters, improving my breaststroke,” Bates said.
Bates got her first ever national open medal in the 100m medley earlier in the week.
Thirteen -year-old Erika Fairweather has also put on a record-breaking display this week. She broke the New Zealand age group record in the 800m freestyle – her fourth age group record this week – clocking 8:58.05. She was also seeded fifth in the 400m individual medley open final, but scratched for the longer distances.
Fairweather admitted after the race that she was gunning for the record.
“It feels great, I’m really excited. The body is a bit sore now, but it should be good for the 100m free tomorrow.”
Brearna Crawford, 14, set three national age group records this week, the latest being in the 100m butterfly, clocking 1:00.88, putting her second equal with Olympian Helena Gasson into the open final.
She scratched to keep fresh for the final day’s racing today, but was surprised to match an Olympian, while coming off a chest infection.
“I was, like, holy cow, I`ve just equalled Helena Gasson – it’s not every day you get the same time as an Olympian,” she said. “It’s pretty special.”
The championships conclude Saturday.