Day 4 Wrap from the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships
Andrew Jeffcoat (Club 37) was the star attraction again on day 4 at the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships, breaking an incredible three NZ Records in the same session. Having already broken two NZ Records in the championships, Jeffcoat continued his outstanding form into the shorter distance events. With the Men’s 50m Backstroke the first event of the night, Jeffcoat brought the crowd to life with the fastest time swum by a Kiwi. Exhibiting his trademark excellent start and underwater skills, Jeffcoat (23.38) lowered his own record by 0.08 seconds to win the gold medal ahead of Cooper Morley (North Shore – 24.10) and Zac Dell (Club 37 – 24.25).
However, Jeffcoat saved his very best to later that session when leading off the Club 37 A team in the Men’s 4 x 50m Medley Relay. By nailing his start, breakout and turn, Jeffcoat obliterated the same record he had broken only a couple of hours earlier to become the first male backstroker under 23 seconds in New Zealand history (22.99). The rest of the relay team must have been inspired, because Josh Pickett (breaststroke – 27.26), Carter Swift (butterfly – 23.38) and Michael Pickett (freestyle – 21.14) took the NZ Record from the team that represented New Zealand at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Melbourne last December. The Club 37 B team took home the visitor silver, with Coast (1:40.22) and Vikings (1:42.89) rounding out the podium. The relay capped off a superb night for backstroke specialist.
The Women’s relay was also a spectacle at the end of the evening, with Coast smashing the NZ Record by 6.46 seconds (1:50.03). Coast got off to a great start with Savannah-eve Martin (backstroke – 27.94) and Zyleika Pratt Smith (breaststroke – 31.24), before Helena Gasson (butterfly – 25.94) and Zoe Pedersen (freestyle – 24.91) brought the team home in dominant fashion. Hamilton Aquatics (1:54.98) produced a team effort that brought home the silver ahead of United (1:55.14) in a tight finish.
The Women’s 100m Freestyle had a stacked field, with a great race to watch. In typical fashion, Rebecca Moynihan (Club 37) went out quickest at the first turn before the rest of the field got into their work. Erika Fairweather (Neptune & Swim Dunedin – 53.91) made her move in the second 25m and didn’t look back to win her third national title in as many days. Youngster Zoe Pedersen showed why she is off to the World Junior Championships next month with an impressive silver medal, with Emma Godwin (Heretaunga Sundevils – 54.67) touching out Moynihan for the bronze.
In the Men’s event, Club 37 teammates Carter Swift and Zac Dell went side by side through the first 50m, before Swift demonstrated his back-end strength to pull away and retain his crown (47.55). Dell achieved another personal best for the week (48.04), having cleared away from the rest of the pack. Kale Twist (Kiwi – 49.09) got himself onto the podium for the bronze.
The Men’s 100m Breaststroke produced an excellent spectacle, with a close finish engaging the crowd once again. Outside flier Josh Pickett (1:00.56), who nearly missed the A final by qualifying 10th for the final, held off a closing Blair Helms (North Shore – 1:00.66) to claim the national title from lane 9, with Hara Hughes (Tawa – 1:01.66) coming home for bronze in a tight battle for third.
The Women’s 100m Breaststroke was also a tight contest, with Zyleika Pratt Smith (Coast – 1:07.61) and Monique Wieruszowki (Aquabladz – 1:07.92) resumed their battle for the breaststroke national title. In a result that reversed the fortunes from the 50m event earlier in the week, Pratt-Smith beat Wieruszowski onto the wall, with Melissa Cowen (North Shore – 1:09.37) taking the bronze.
The Women’s 50m Backstroke final had Coast feature prominently, with Helena Gasson (27.16) winning the gold ahead of the local Emma Godwin (Heretaunga Sundevils – 27.84) and Savannah-eve Martin (27.92).
Ben Littlejohn (St Paul’s – 1:56.61) won his second national title of the week in the Men’s 200m Butterfly with a strong swim from start to finish. Wilrich Coetzee (Coast – 1:57.84) hung tough throughout to pick up the silver medal, with Joel Crampton (Capital – 1:58.37) coming through with a strong back-end for the bronze.
For the Women’s event, Esme Paterson (Neptune – 2:11.97) paced herself to well to claim the honours ahead of Australian Jacinta Essam (ACU Blacktown – 2:12.67). Samantha Wilson (Tasman – 2:15.28) won the Kiwi silver and Neve Tassicker (Nga Tai Tuatea a Taraika – 2:15.40) held on for bronze.
The Men’s 50m Backstroke Multi-Class (S1-S14) brought the local crowd to life with local favourite Guy Harrison (Heretaunga Sundevils – 36.99) claiming his first career national title ahead of Jack Bugler (Blenheim – 32.60) and Bailey Conlon (Te Arawa – 35.94). Jole Watkins (Pukekohe – 32.13) claimed the S19 title and Luka Willems (Wharenui – 50.23) the S18 title.
For the Women’s event, Ella Benn (Selwyn – 36.94) continued her fine form this week to finish ahead of Erin Knox (SwimZone Racing – 37.98) and Rylee Sayer (Matamata – 41.91). Charlotte Murphy (Aquagym – 56.29) also broke her S6 NZ Record to finish fourth. Melissa Donoghue (Hamilton Aquatics – 54.84) won the S18 title and Chloe Gladwin (Whakatane – 39.57) the S19 title.
Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore – 1:11.44) broke his own S14 NZ Record again in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke Multi-Class to claim the gold medal. James Haydon (Club 37 – 1:15.11) pushed Smith-Franklin for much of the race to win an impressive silver medal, with Bailey Conlon (1:24.68) the bronze. Joseph Blake (Hamilton Aquatics – 1:51.96) claimed the S18 title and Jole Watkins (1:19.85) winning the S19 classification. Melissa Donoghue (2:39.93) won the Women’s title.
Smith Franklin (56.96) was back breaking another S14 NZ Record a few races later in the Men’s 100m Freestyle Multi-Class, bettering his own mark by nearly a second. David Beck (Club 37 – 57.51) pushed Smith-Franklin the whole way to also beat the previous NZ Record time, with Bugler winning the bronze (58.61) in a fast field. Jole Watkins (1:01.73) was pushed by Denver Xavier (Club 37 – 1:03.56) for the S19 title, with Luka Willems (1:27.94) taking the honours in the S18 classification.
There continues to be some fast swimming in the heats, and particularly in the age group titles. Whilst far too many results to report on, there were some NZ Age Records broken. Cameron Karpik (United – 1:04.11) continued displaying his breaststroke skills by breaking the 14 years record in the 100m Breaststroke.
The final day has some exciting racing and an Aquablacks signing and photo session from 4pm in the main pool foyer
200m Individual Medley
800m Freestyle (W)
1500m Freestyle (M)
Mixed 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay
Mixed 4 x 100m Medley Relay