The largest ever National Short Course Championships kicks off tomorrow, as close to 800 national and international swimmers including 20 Para swimmers, compete across 5 days of competition on Auckland’s North Shore.
Sophie Pascoe brings some serious star power to the event. The champion Paralympic swimmer was a late inclusion into the meet due to the postponement of the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City, as a result of the recent devastating earthquakes.
“My thoughts are still with the people of Mexico during this time... I'm really looking forward to racing at home after a months hard preparation over in Colorado Springs”, Pascoe said in a social media post last week.
Para swimmers such as Jesse Reynolds, Chris Arbuthnott and Celyn Edwards will be looking to continue to improve their times in the pool and create some stand out performances as they aim for Commonwealth Games nomination and ultimately selection in the coming months.
A total of 20 Para swimmers will compete this week.
In day one action Rio Olympian Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield), 21, and Lewis Clareburt (Capital), 18, will go head to head in the 400m individual medley. Ashby’s top seed time is only 0.10sec ahead of Clareburt.
“The show down between Lewis and I is one I’m definitely looking forward to, it will come down to whoever executes their race plan the best, I just cannot wait to get out there and compete”, says Ashby.
Fresh from competing at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, Carina Doyle (North Shore), 23, heads the women’s 200m freestyle field by almost two seconds from Northwave’s Hayley McIntosh.
“It is a quick turnaround from Taipei but I’m really excited to go out there to have some fun and see how the winter training work I’ve done will play out”, says Doyle.
Daniel Hunter (HPK), 23, is the top seed in the men’s field ahead of Clareburt and Ashby.
The 50m butterfly is shaping up to be a fizzer with Hunter top seed again followed by former Olympians William Benson (Heretaunga Sundevils), 29, just 0.2 ahead of Orinoco Fa’amausili-Banse Prince (Roskill), 27.
A trio of young guns to watch out for in this event include Courtland Ellis (Neptune), 18, Ollie Rayner (North Canterbury), 17 and Finn Kennard-Campbell (North Shore), 17.
Helena Gasson (Coast), 22, leads all swimmers in the women’s event which also features Slovakian Karolina Hajkova.
The event continues to grow each year with over 150 more swimmers entered from 2016 including international competitors from Australia, Germany, Slovakia, Fiji, Cook Islands and Brazil.
Swimming New Zealand CEO Steve Johns is excited for the week of competition.
“We’re really excited to welcome our hometown and international swimmers to this week’s championships. There will certainly be some great talent on show and I’m sure we’ll see some very fast times being swum”.
The 2017 NZ Short Course Championships are held at the Sir Owen G. Glenn National Aquatic Centre, Auckland, from Tuesday 3rd October till Saturday 7th October. Morning sessions start at 9am with evening finals sessions starting at 6pm.
The meet is live-streamed (finals sessions ONLY) on www.swimming.org.nz Swimming NZ Facebook page and http://jxlive.tv/
Content supplied by Swimming NZ. Photo credit - BW Media.