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Age Groupers Making Their Mark in Hawke's Bay

Day 1 Wrap of the 2024 Apollo Projects New Zealand Age Group Swimming Championships

The 2024 Apollo Projects New Zealand Age Group Swimming Championships got underway with more than 640 swimmers converging on Hawke's Bay for an exciting week of racing.

The first night of finals started off with both the Men's 4 x 50m Medley Relays. The 15 & Under final saw a close race between North Shore and Phoenix, with North Shore just taking the win by 0.2 seconds and United rounded out the podium for bronze. Jasper Cornish (Coast) had a monster anchor split (22.53) in the Men's 16 & Over final to see Coast comfortably win over United and Roskill.

Ariel Muchirahondo (Swim Rotorua - 56.79) was a stand out performer in the Men's 100m Butterfly, swimming within half a second of one of Danyon Loader's 15-year-old NZ Age Group Records.

Amelia Bray (North Shore - 1:01.09) took out the Women's 100m Butterfly 17-18 years title in a time that was agonisingly close to a Junior Pan Pacific qualification time. Bray was all smiles after the race but noted her drive to qualify for the Junior team.

"That was a good race but I wanted to be under that Junior Pan Pacs time. To be a little bit over was a bit disappointing."

The Men's 100m Breaststroke had some tight finishes. The 13 year old age final saw Matthew Jiang (United - 1:12.54) and Joshua Baars (Vikings - 1:12.77) finishing with 0.2 seconds between them, with Jiang taking the top step of the podium. It was a similar story in the 17-18 year old final with 0.2 seconds separating the top three finishers with Leo Arrowsmith (United - 1:04.36) taking the gold, Kevin Zhang (Roskill - 1:04.50) in silver and Jackson Kennard (United - 1:04.55) rounding out the podium with bronze.

The Men's 50m Backstroke event provided a lot of entertainment with incredibly competitive finals across all age groups. Jayden Lee (Waitaha - 28.87) took the title in the 13 year old age group, with his time just slower then Rio Olympian Corey Main's 28.74 NZ Age Record.

Finn Harland (Coast - 25.55), backed up his performance after winning his first open national title in the Men's 50m Backstroke last week with a dominant performance in the same event, beating the rest of the field by one and a half seconds. Harland felt it was special that he could share the podium with his training mates, as Jasper Cornish (Coast - 26.98) and Blake Faleafa (Coast - 27.03) respectively took silver and bronze.

"I'm pretty happy, it's great to get all three Coast boys on the podium. We all train so hard together and we all push each other. It's really great that all of us can share that moment together."

The Women's 50m Backstroke followed a similar suit to the men's with great competition and competitive finals. Rylee McBride (Wharenui - 29.14) and Pippa Mihaka (Hamilton Aquatics - 29.15) were separated by 0.01 seconds in the 16 years final. Savannah-Eve Martin (Coast - 28.94) won the 17-18 year old final ahead of Isabelle Gibson (Club 37 - 29.19) with her first swim under 29 seconds.

Brendan Visser (Coast) lead start to finish of the Mens 800m Final, stopping the clock just over a second over what he won the National Title in last week and just over the JPP qualifying time. Fortunately for Visser he swam under the qualifying time last week but found it hard to back up after a big programme after last week.

"I'm knackered! It was a really hard swim after not being used to two competitions back-to-back."

The final swim of the evening was a fun one for the swimmers, with the Mixed 4 x 50m Freestyle Relays. Coast (1:42.81) dominated the 15 & under age group with consistent performances across the team members, taking the win by nearly 3 seconds over United (1:45.57) and Phoenix Aquatics (1:45.74). Jasper Cornish once again impressed with a massive anchor relay split (22.37) to help Coast (1:38.25) to win gold in the 16 & over relay, with United (1:42.71) and Pirates (1:44.30) rounding out the podium.

Congratulations to all swimmers who competed today! Whilst there are too many results across all age groups, we have tried to highlight some of the close races and results from the day.

Don't miss any of the action with opportunities to watch from the grandstand pool side or on the Whakaata Maori YouTube channel.

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