Two classy national records set the tone for the opening night of finals at the Mayfair Pools New Zealand age group swimming championships in Christchurch last night.
North Shore’s Chloe Francis, 16, and Sophia Batchelor (Aquagym, Christchurch), 14, both set national age group championships at the QEII Leisure Centre that edged them into possible Commonwealth Games potential.
Frances, coached by Scott Talbot, clocked 4:14.45 to win the 15-16 years 400m freestyle which took three seconds off the previous record and is two and a half seconds outside the qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games.
Batchelor, who is coached by Leanne Speechley, took out the 13-14 years final in the 200m backstroke in 2:14.15, which was nearly three seconds inside the old record and within three seconds of the Commonwealth Games time.
“Both swims were outstanding and with both of these swimmers unrested for this competition, then it is quite exciting going forward,” said Swimming New Zealand’s Jan Cameron.
Cameron was also delighted with the significant improvement from South Island swimmers, which is a boost to Swimming New Zealand’s development plan for the resurgence of swimming in the region under former Australian coaching great, Don Talbot.
“There was a real spread of talent and results on the opening night and it was outstanding to see so many South Island swimmers prominent,” Cameron said.
The championships continue until Saturday.
Full results: http://swimmingnz.org.nz/results/?mt_id=42