Through two days of the 2014 New Zealand Short Course Championships in Wellington, the country’s selection event for the 2014 World Short Course Championships, 22-year old Matthew Stanley has hit his stride.
Stanley’s progress has been followed closely by Swimming New Zealand fans for half-a-decade now, and it appears that 2014 might be the year where he finally turns the corner and heads for the promised land for the Kiwis.
On Tuesday evening, he became the first New Zealand Short Course Champion of the meet in the men’s 200 free, and also became the first swimmer to stamp his ticket to the World Championships. He swam a 1:43.99 in the final, which came up two-tenths short of the New Zealand National Record in the event. Coming off of a busy summer of long course meets, that’s a fantastic time that he’ll now have three months to build upon for Doha.
Perhaps most importantly for Stanley is that this time should put him in the top 8 at the World Short Course Championships individually. That’s significant because under New Zealand’s selection criteria, athletes who place in the top 8 at Short Course Worlds will have their trip fully reimbursed. Those who are 9th-16th will be reimbursed for part of their trips, and those finishing lower than 17th will cover the entirety of their travel costs.
Steven Kent was 2nd in 1:44.40, followed by Ewan Jackson (1:46.51) and Mitchell Donaldson (1:47.22). While none of those swimmers hit the qualifying standard, their aggregate time of 7:02.12, even without consideration for relay starts, is enough to put them in a final. That would be a big step after the country didn’t enter any relays at the 2012 meet. The challenge is that Jackson and Donaldson, at least, are likely to have to fund their own trips to the meet, making their participation dicey at best.
This selection event was without Matthew Hutchins, who could make the relay even stronger if allowed to participate. Hutchins race now at the University of Wisconsin in the United States, and there is consideration in New Zealand’s selection procedures for “extenuating circumstances” precluding participation at this meet.
The women’s 200 free title went to Samantha Lee of the Capital Swimming Club in 1:58.25, with teenager Georgia Marris placing 2nd in 1:59.26. Neither swimmer hit the World Championships qualifying standard.
Glenn Snyders cruised under the selection time in the men’s 100 breaststroke final, going a 58.05 for the title. That time in finals, however, paled in comparison to his prelims swim. There, Snyders was a 57.67 to cruise under his own National Record of 57.82 that he swam back in 2011.
Snyders, at 27-years old, is possibly on his last Olympic cycle, but thus far his improvements have not slowed. He won bronze at the 2014 Pan Pac Championships in the 100 breaststroke for his first career Pan Pacs medal.
Jeffrey Arona-Tuifana’e took 2nd in the men’s race in 1:00.74.
Once again, however, after the excitement of the men’s event, the women were a bit of a let-down. Kendall Reidy did improve her seed time by two seconds to win the event in 1:09.54, but it would have taken a National Record, by a mile, to make the Worlds team, and Reidy wasn’t close.
Nathan Capp won the men’s 400 IM in 4:08.38. That put him 12 seconds ahead of anyone else in the race, and would have put him third, for example, at the most recent Dubai stop of the World Cup, and it would have put him into the final at the 2012 Short Course Worlds, it was exactly a second too slow for selection to Doha.
Capp will have another chance, and his best chance really, in the 1500 free later in this meet. In December of last year, he broke the long course National Record in that 1500 by a whopping five seconds.
See full selection criteria here.
Full, live meet results here.
Other Event Winners:
- Nielsen Varoy of West Auckland Aquatics won the men’s 50 fly in 23.75. The non-Olympic events are not selection events. There were a couple of young, talented finishers in that race, including 15-year old Sam McKenzie, who won the 15-year olds group in 25.99; and Finn Kennard-Campbell, who won the 13-14 50 fly in 26.81. 13-year old Xavier Hill missed a National Age record by a few hundredths with a 27.28.
- Helena Gasson from the Fairfield Swimming Club won the women’s 50 fly in 27.30
Team New Zealand After One Day
Matthew Stanley – 200 free
Glenn Snyders – 100 breast