2023 Apollo Projects NZ Age Group Swimming Championships: Day Three Wrap
The crowd built into the third day of the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Age Group Swimming Championships at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre. With strong support along the side of the pool, the swimmers powered through the 200m backstroke and 400m individual medley races before rounding out the evening with the electricity that the 100m freestyle and mixed 4 x 50m medley relay can bring.
Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore) continued his record-breaking streak in the boys 100m freestyle multi-class, breaking the S14 NZ record twice in the day after dropping under the 60 seconds mark for the first time in the heats. Smith-Franklin lowered his personal best by a further 1.64 seconds in the final (58.33) with an outstanding swim to finish ahead of Finn Russ (Nelson South – 1:00.47) who also swum a big personal best.
The finals were underway with the boys 200m backstroke, in which the 16 year old age group was the closest race. Jasper Cornish (Coast – 2:08.34) finished strongly across the last 50m to touch first ahead of James Crosbie (United – 2:09.24) and Ethan McDonald (Hamilton Aquatics – 2:09.96). There were some strong swims in the other age groups, with Joseph Koroiadi (Murihiku – 2:09.30) and Harrison James (Vikings – 2:10.09) claiming the 17-18 years and 15 years titles respectively.
For the girls, there were some impressive performances across the age groups. Hope Chmiel (Vikings – 2:16.74) took home the 17-18 years national title, as did Isabelle Gibson (United – 2:17.45) and Pippa Mihaka (Hamilton Aquatics – 2:21.69) with commanding swims in the 16 years and 15 years. National titles were also claimed by Arissa Liu (Phoenix Aquatics – 2:29.21) in the 13 years and Bridie Quayle (Wharenui – 2:23.00) in the 14 years.
The boys 400m individual medley saw a spread of good swims across the age groups, with Hugo Batchelor (United – 4:34.47) and Kevin Zhang (Roskill – 4:36.84) leading from the start with a strong butterfly leg and never looking back to claim the 17-18 years and 16 years titles respectively. Ariel Muchirahondo (Swim Rotorua – 4:41.84), Hunter Lloyd (Raumati – 4:46.67) and Andrew Feng (North Shore – 5:02.75) claimed the other age group titles with impressive swims.
For the girls 400m individual medley, Neve Tassicker (Nga Tai Tuatea a Taraika – 5:01.41) and Danielle Asiata (Howick Pakuranga – 5:04.98) claimed the 17-18 years and 16 years titles in convincing fashion. Kate Hurley (Pirates – 5:12.18) and Bridie Quayle (Wharenui – 5:16.20) swum close to their lifetime best to win the 15 years and 14 years respectively, whilst Violet Carter (Ice Breaker Aquatics – 5:22.06) set a benchmark personal best to claim the 13 years title.
After some of the endurance races at the start of the session, the boys 100m freestyle increased the stroke rate up a few notches. There were some close races with exciting finishes, with the 15 years age group seeing a tight finish between Mason Wang (United – 54.12) and Isaac Gear (Mt Eden – 54.34), with both swimmers setting personal bests in the heats and again in the finals. Finn Harland (Capital – 51.00) and Ollie Lutton (Aquagym – 51.13) also pushed each other all the way to the wall in an enthralling battle in the 17-18 years age group.
For the girls 100m freestyle, we were also treated to some great finishes, and none better than the 15 years race. In the closing stages, Charlotte Parmenter (Jasi), Olivia Emmett (Hamilton Aquatics) and Nina De Coster (St Paul’s) were all in the hunt. Watching live you couldn’t separate Parmenter and Emmett on the touch, and the results confirmed an equal gold medal (58.56) just ahead of De Coster (58.75). For the second night in a row, Summer Osborne (North Shore) and Eva Allan (United - 57.07) went stroke for stroke in a sprint freestyle event, with both swimmers achieving personal bests as Osborne (56.70) touched first in another great contest.
The girls 100m freestyle multi-class saw Rylee Sayer (Matamata – 1:10.83) continue her strong couple of weeks of racing to finish ahead of McKenzie Drage (Aquagym – 1:34.19), Brooke Anderson (Orca – 1:35.17) and Millie Long (Selwyn – 1:32.05).
Once again, the relays brought the crowd to their feet again as club teammates lined the side of the pool and were in full voice. In the 15 & under mixed 4 x 50m medley relay, United put together a commanding team performance to take the victory (1:53.76) ahead of New Caledonia (1:56.92), a fast-finishing Hamilton Aquatics (1:57.37) and Phoenix Aquatics (1:57.90).
In the 16 & over relay, a come-from-behind swim saw Coast (1:50.86) overrun North Shore (1:51.40) in the last leg, with United (1:51.92) rounding out the podium to conclude racing on day 3.
Congratulations to all the swimmers who swum during the day. Whilst we can’t fit everyone’s swims into the daily wrap, there have been loads of personal bests across the day. We can’t wait to see what day 4 has to offer!
Day 4 Preview
The fourth day of racing promises to be another exciting one, with the girls 100m breaststroke hosting two swimmers who achieved the qualifying standard for the World Aquatics Junior Championships last week. Whilst in different age groups, NZ record holder Monique Wieruszowski (Aquabladz) and Melissa Cowen (North Shore) will face off again in the heats as one to watch.
Next up will be the 200m individual medley for the boys as well as both girls and boys multi-class. The girls 200m freestyle promises to have some quick racing, before the boys 50m and freestyle and girls 50m butterfly inject some pace into the session. The 200m freestyle multi-class is held towards the end of the session, as well as the boys 1500m freestyle. The finals session will conclude with the 4 x 100m medley relay for both girls and boys for 15 & under and 16 & over age groups.
Don’t forget to tune into the livestream from 9.05am (heats) and 5.30pm (finals).