Veteran Dean Kent scored a record 11th straight National Title while his team-mates Helen Norfolk and Glenn Snyders again went under the Beijing qualifying times on the finals on day two of the Absolute Insurance Olympic Trials at Waitakere City today.
Kent took out the 400m individual medley for his 11th time, beating the previous mark of 10 straight national titles in the event by Dave Gerrard.
The North Shore swimmer clocked 4:26.39 to win comfortably and while outside the Olympic qualifying time, Kent was upbeat about his chances in his target event, the 200m individual medley later in the meet.
Fellow Swimming New Zealand High Performance team-mates Norfolk and Snyders took out the national titles and again went under the Beijing Olympic qualifying marks, although both were marginally outside their record setting times in last night’s heats.
Both wanted to go faster again today but both did not sleep well after their exciting swims, and the experiment running this meet under the Beijing format will no doubt help in their preparation there where the heats will be at night and finals in the morning.
Kent said he never thought he could qualify in the 400m medley.
“Today was about 150m too far for me. It would have taken something incredible for me to qualify in that event as I have been working on my speed,” Kent said. “The 400 is a totally different event. I’ve trained specifically for the 200 and tried to swim the 400 but you can’t do it the other way around.”
However the 29 year old was delighted to have set a record 11 straight wins in the event.
“It’s pretty special for me to have won 11 in a row and break the record of Dave Gerrard who won 10. My first win was in this pool and I won by 0.05 of a second and I have not really looked back ever since. “It’s been wonderful to be able to represent my country in the 400 IM and swim my heart out.”
Kent believes he is in good shape for meet.
“I’m looking forward to the 200 and hopefully to produce a really special time. My aim is to break two minutes and be the first New Zealander to do so. Hopefully that will be something competitive to set me up for the Olympics.”
Norfolk clocked 4:42.56 to win the women’s 400m individual medley, again going under the FINA A time for Beijing by nearly three seconds.
It was just over two seconds outside her new national record set last night.
“It’s back to the hard work now and get much faster for the Olympics. I’ve been stuck on 4:44 for like four years now so a PB was definitely in the making,” Norfolk said. “I knew I was going to get a good PB but last night’s time was awesome.
“I wanted to go two seconds faster today but it did not quite happen for me. I know I can go faster than today – there’s still heaps of improvement to go.
“I’ve done a lot of work. I’ve been killed during the summer. Everyone else had barbeques and I was working hard doing laps and it has paid dividends.”
Snyders took out the 100m breaststroke in 1:00.84, 3/10ths outside the New Zealand record he set last night but an emphatic winner and nearly one second inside the Beijing qualifying time.
The 20 year old is buoyant about his qualifying swims and believes he can go under the one minute barrier.
“I’ve worked really hard this summer. While I was surprised by my time last night I now know that with a 60.5 I can make it to the semi-finals in Beijing. And I know I can go faster and may be go under the one minute mark. That will be the aim and if I can do that, then a spot in the final at the Olympics is the goal.”
Rotorua’s Kane Radford set himself up well for his major aim of the 1500m freestyle after winning the 400m title in emphatic fashion. He was just outside his best clocking 3:59.58 to finish clear of Cameron Burrows (Howick Pakuranga) and Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (Bell Block).
And the small Taranaki club of Bell Block recorded its first national championship title when Charlotte Webby won the 100m butterfly, edging out Sally Green (SwimZone, Wellington) and Natalie Wiegersma (Southland) with only 2/10ths of a second covering the first three.
Tonight’s second night of heats includes Liz Coster in the 100m backstroke, Annabelle Carey in the 100m breaststroke looking for Olympic qualifying times along with the men’s 200m freestyle, men’s 100m backstroke, women’s 400m freestyle, men’s 1500m freestyle , women’s 50m butterfly and men’s 50m breaststroke.