The New Zealand Age Championships are well underway in Wellington, where several young stars kicked off a siege on Kiwi National Age Group Records.
The meet, which runs through Friday, April 22nd, doubles as the Junior Pan Pacific qualification competition for the young talent of New Zealand, therefore, much is on the online for the bright crop of swimmers taking to the Wellington Regional Aquatic Center pool this week.
Leading the attack on the age group records and rankings is reigning 50m backstroke World Junior Champion, Gabrielle Fa’amausili. The teenager, who just turned 16 last October, clocked a swift 100m backstroke time of 1:00.76 in tonight’s finals to set a New Zealand 16 years age group record in the event.
Tonight’s time also marks Fa’amausili’s 2nd best outing of her young career, sitting just .02 of a second off the 1:00.74 from the World Junior Championships in Singapore, the performance which garnered the Kiwi 7th place overall. Her swim tonight qualifies her for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships scheduled for August in Hawaii.
When reflecting on her performance at the New Zealand Open Championships at the end of March, Fa’amausili said, “At the Opens I think the pressure got to me a bit.” At that meet in Auckland, Fa’amausili earned wins in the 50m backstroke (27.77), 50m freestyle (25.62) and 100m backstroke (1:00.83), the latter two of which did not meet Olympic-qualifying standards.
“But I was really happy with how I raced at Opens, I haven’t gone that fast since last year in August so to slowly get faster and faster is a good feeling and by Junior Pan Pacs I should be ready to go and hit some more PB’s.”
“I’m just happy to go faster than I did at Opens and I feel way more relaxed than I did so that’s also nice and I’m pretty happy with that race.”
Joshua Gilbert of Taranaki also claimed a new National Record on the night, earning a 14 years age group record in the 50m breaststroke. 30.45 is what the swimmer earned tonight to take his age title by two tenths of a second.