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Club 37 Breaks NZ Record in Relay

Day 3 Wrap from the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships

Another exciting night of racing at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre was capped off by the NZ Record broken by Club 37 in the 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay at the end of the night. The crowd was at fever pitch during all of the relays, and anticipation filled the air as the fastest timed final was called onto the blocks. Aquablack Carter Swift got the team off to a cracking start, laying down a 21.72 opening split, before NZ Record holder Michael Pickett smoked a 21.07 second leg. Zac Dell (21.54 split) and Andrew Jeffcoat (21.65 split) brought the team home to secure a NZ Record (1:25.98) comfortably ahead of Coast (1:30.31) and North Shore (1:31.41). This is an impressive feat for a club team to hold the record, given that the existing record was set by the New Zealand team at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Melbourne last year where they placed 10th.

Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore) continued his strong form by breaking another NZ Record, this time in the Men’s 100m Butterfly Multi-Class (1:00.35 – S14) by cutting a whole second off his existing record across the heats and finals. He returned later in the finals session in the Men’s 200m Freestyle Multi-Class (2:03.87) to shave 0.60 seconds off his NZ Record, to finish with two more NZ Records for his tally this week.

It was a successful night for the Swim Dunedin squad. Erika Fairweather (Neptune & Swim Dunedin) added another national title to her collection in the Women’s 400m Freestyle final. Leading the race from the opening lap, Fairweather did the work early to finish under 4 minutes once again (3:59.79), this time in the short course pool. Teammate Caitlin Deans (Neptune & Swim Dunedin) continued her outstanding week, with a massive 4 seconds personal best on her way to the silver medal (4:04.51), with the training squad completing the clean sweep of the podium with Ruby Heath (Neptune & Swim Dunedin – 4:12.58) taking the bronze. Australia’s Jacinta Essam (ACU Blacktown – 4:11.43) claimed a visitor bronze medal.

Zac Reid (Neptune & Swim Dunedin) produced a strong swim in the Men’s 400m Freestyle to claim another middle distance title (3:44.12), making his move after halfway to pull away from Louis Clark (North Shore – 3:47.87). Teenager Brendan Visser (Coast – 3:50.83) rounded out the podium after another impressive personal best swim to reach the podium.

Kane Follows (Neptune & Swim Dunedin – 1:52.74) set the tone for his squad at the beginning of the evening, with a commanding victory in the Men’s 200m Backstroke. Follows produced a personal best time with consistent splits throughout the race. Sam Brown (Coast – 1:56.34) held off a fast-finishing Lochlan McKenzie (Vikings – 1:56.63) to complete the podium.

The local crowd lifted during the Women’s 200m Backstroke, with local Emma Godwin (Heretaunga Sundevils) leading from the outset to retain her national title (2:07.58). Gina McCarthy (Hamilton Aquatics – 2:09.17) took home the silver and Molly Shivnan (Mt Maunganui & Swim Dunedin – 2:09.45) the bronze.

The Men’s 100m Butterfly produced one of the closer races of the evening, with Christopher Elson (Vikings – 52.45) achieving a personal best to claim the gold medal. Ben Littlejohn (St Paul’s – 52.66) and Wilrich Coetzee (Coast – 52.77) completed the podium. For the Women’s event, Helena Gasson (Coast – 57.93) produced another short course skills master class on her way to the national title, with Esme Paterson (Neptune & Swim Dunedin – 59.50) and Paige Schendelaar-Kemp (Pukekohe – 1:00.86).

One of the most hyped individual races of the evening was the Men’s 50m Breaststroke, with a lot of the sprint freestylers keen to try their hand in breaststroke. Club 37 completed a clean sweep of the podium, with Carter Swift displaying his powerful dive and underwater pull outs to claim the gold medal (27.09), ahead of Josh Pickett (27.41) and Zac Dell (27.50). Club 37 actually had achieved 5 of the top 6 swimmers in the event.

For the Women’s 50m Breaststroke, Monique Wieruszowski (Aquabladz – 30.69) broke the 16 years NZ Record on route to winning the gold medal. This was an ideal preparation for her before she competes at the World Juniors in Israel next month. Zyleika Pratt-Smith (Coast – 31.25) and Phoebe Harris (Club 37 – 3136) completed the podium.

Rylee Sayer (Matamata – 2:34.83) displayed her continual development, breaking the S14 NZ Record in the Women’s 200m Freestyle Multi-Class. She took 1.57 seconds off her previous record, to finish ahead of Brooke Anderson (Orca – 3:20.43) and Amber Proudfoot (Aquagym – 3:23.33). Melissa Donoghue (Hamilton Aquatics – 3:34.80) claimed the gold in the S18 classification, with Chloe Gladwin (Whakatane – 2:26.30) winning the S19 class.

Ella Benn (Selwyn – 44.06) won the gold medal in the Women’s 50m Breaststroke Multi-Class ahead of Rylee Sayer (51.56), with Melissa Donoghue (1:10.18) winning gold in the S18 classification.

Charlotte Murphy (Aquagym – 2:15.45) improved her time from the heats to claim the gold in the Women’s 100m Butterfly Multi-Class. In the Men’s S19 classification, Denver Xavier (Club 37 – 1:07.20) won his first national title with a strong finish.

The session drew to a close with the Women’s 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay. Coast exhibited their class to comfortably win the event (1:41.85), with a close battle for the silver. The locals (Heretaunga Sundevils – 1:45.19) brought the house down with a come-from-behind effort in the final leg to beat Club 37 (1:45.43) to the wall.

During the age group timed finals in the mornings, we have continued to see some fast swimming. Jacob Humphries (North Shore – 57.22) broke the 14 years NZ Record by 0.01 seconds in the 100m Butterfly.

Another exciting day of racing is set for day 4:
  • 50m Backstroke

  • 200m Butterfly

  • 100m Breaststroke

  • 100m Freestyle

  • 4 x 50m Medley Relay

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