Ashby Earns 200 IM Rio Qualifying Mark, Downs NZ National Record

Day 3 of New Zealand’s Olympic Trials in Auckland saw additional Rio-qualifying swims across both the men and women. The meet, which continues through Friday, April 1st, acts as 1 of 2 Olympic-qualifying meets, with the 2nd being that of the Canadian Olympic Trials scheduled for April 5th through April 10th in Toronto.

New Zealand Trials Results
Day 1 Recap
Day 2 Recap

Day 3 Recap

Doubling up on her 800m victory from night 1 of these championships, World Championship silver medalist, Lauren Boyle, got the job done in the shorter 400m freestyle race. Stopping the clock at a time of 4:08.28, Boyle comfortably cleared the FINA A cut of 4:09.08 and took the win in Auckland.

Boyle has been as swift as 4:04.26 in the women’s 400m freestyle, a time which sits as 2nd-fastest this season. She earned the mark in Dubai while competing at the World Cup last November. As such, the 28-year-old United Swimming Club wasn’t exactly elated with her victory on day 3 of this meet.

“I thought I was going a bit faster than I was so I am not that pleased with the time but it is always good to be on the team and do the qualifying time so I am happy with that,” said Boyle after the race.

Boyle trains with Miami Swimming Club on the Gold Coast of Australia and will be returning to that locale to finish up her training in the lead-up to Rio.

The newly-minted New Zealand National Record Holder in the 200m butterfly from day 1, Helena Gasson, charged down the pool again today to wrangle in a FINA A cut in the 100m butterfly. After scoring a solid prelim swim of 58.66, Gasson dropped another .15 of a second to register another New Zealand National Record in the event, clocking 58.51. The previous national mark, aside from Gasson’s AM swim, was that of the 58.71 held by Sophia Batchelor since 2012.

Knowing her swims dip beneath the FINA A cut of 58.74, Gasson expressed her delight in knowing she earned an Olympic-qualifying mark.  “I took a while to believe what I’ve done and still going through that process but it is my dream and I am just so glad I get to live my dream,” she said.

Comparing her earlier 200m butterfly swim, which earned a new NZ record, but fell short of the FINA qualifying time, Gasson said, “I did not handle the pressure well at all, so I’ve seen a few people about it and tried to get my head right. I really needed to,” she said.

“I just had to stay positive [for today’s race]. I wasn’t really thinking about the end time, I was just thinking about processes and how I was going to swim the race and if I did it how I knew I could, I knew I would do the time.”

On the men’s side, 20-year-old Bradlee Ashby raked in an Olympic-qualifying time in the men’s 200m IM, taking the event in a time of 1:59.76. His was the only sub-2-minute mark of the field and sits beneath the FINA A cut of 2:00.28. Ashby’s effort actually signified the first time a Kiwi swimmer has broken the 2-minute threshold in the 200m IM event, as the Fairfield swimmer also wrote his name into the New Zealand record books with a new national record. The previous mark was held by Dean Kent at 2:00.30 all the way from 2007.

“My coach challenged me to step up again tonight and try to break that two-minute barrier and it worked out,” Ashby said. Ashby had touched in a time of 2:00.00 in the AM heats.

‘I didn’t have the stress of having to qualify so it was a matter of putting my head down and give that two minutes a crack. Any of those big barriers are more a mental thing than a physical thing but now I’ve gone under it then anything can happen from here.”

Howick Pakuranga’s Daniel Hunter came painstakingly close to clocking a FINA A cut in the men’s 50m freestyle. The 21-year-old registered a 22.31 in prelims, followed by a 22.41 in finals, with both coming just outside the 22.27 automatic qualifying cut. As a consolation, Hunter did knock off the previous New Zealand National Record in the event, bettering the previous mark of 22.37 held by Orinoco Faamausili-Banse since 2008.

Additional Winners:

  • Chloe Francis earned the women’s 200m IM win in a time of 2:20.52, well off the FINA A cut of 2:14.26
  • United Swimming Club’s Gabrielle Fa’amausili doubled up on her 50m backstroke win with a victory in the women’s 50m freestyle, touching in 25.62 for the win.
  • The men’s 100m butterfly winner was 22-year-old Chris Dawson from Enterprise Swim Club.
  • Sophie Pascoe earned an Olympic-qualifying time in the paralympic 50m freestyle and 200m IM.
  • Nikita Howarth also hit a qualifying mark in the 200m IM, stopping the clock at 2:57.90.
  • Chris Arbuthnott earned a Rio mark in the S9 50m freestyle, while Hamish McLean claimed an SM6 200 IM mark.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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