Ashby Adds Two More Golds, Watkins Breaks Age Group Record In Auckland


Bradlee Ashby added two more gold medals to his incredible haul on the penultimate day of the New Zealand Short Course Championships in Auckland, bringing his individual total to seven for the competition.

The 22-year-old started things off with a decisive victory in the 200 backstroke, throwing down a time of 1:53.03 to win by two seconds and fall just a few tenths shy of Matthew Stanley‘s national record (1:52.87). “I was talking earlier with my coach Matt (Woofe) about working into the walls and hitting that third 50 the same way I did in the 200 freestyle, and it paid off”, said Ashbee.

Behind him, 18-year-old Thomas Watkins had broken Gareth Kean in the preliminaries in a time of 1:55.88, and further lowered it in the final to take 2nd to Ashbee in 1:55.05. That swim gave him a near three second drop from his PB entering the meet, as it had stood at 1:57.91.

Later on in the session Ashbee used a strong back half to claim the men’s 100 fly in 52.31, with club teammate Wilrich Coetzee placing 2nd in 52.79 and Sam Perry 3rd in 53.16.

In the women’s 200 back, Emma Godwin was the victor by close to five seconds in 2:07.48, giving her a personal best and getting her under the FINA ‘B’ standard. “It was a massive PB for me, it was about keeping the stroke rate up, keeping the turns accurate and smashing those underwaters,” said Godwin.

Annabel Simpson was the runner-up in 2:12.48 and Greta Agnew took 3rd in 2:13.17.


  • Vanessa Ouwehand completed the 50/100 double in the 100 fly, clocking 1:00.07 to get by Yeonsu Lee (1:00.28) and 15-year-old Alice Waldow (1:00.83).
  • Ruby Matthews won the women’s 400 IM in a new personal best of 4:44.80, with Australian Georgia Peregrina (4:46.08) 2nd and 200 IM winner Gina McCarthy (4:47.62) 3rd.
  • Emma Robinson won the women’s 800 free in 8:27.85, and 18-year-old Caitlin Deans obliterated her personal best for the runner-up spot in 8:30.65.

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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