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Short Course Nationals: Review

Swimming New Zealand hosted their first National meet in over 6 months from October 6th-10th at Waterworld in Hamilton. Short Course nationals had been eagerly anticipated by all those travelling as swimmers from around the country flew north to set up in Hamilton for the week. Despite the necessary precautions taken to restrict the meet to swimmers outside of Auckland for the first two days, the meet was well attended from those competing from regions in the central and lower North Island and those travelling up from the South Island. Wellington's 94 swimmers bettered last year’s numbers by 21 (73 competed in 2019), a fantastic achievement in a fragmented year of competitive swimming.

Day one started with a flurry of impressive performances for Wellington swimmers, with Sophie Irving and Molly Player performing well in the 100m Back. The latter broke a 27 year old regional record, set by Anna Robson back in 1993 – the oldest regional record to be broken at the meet. The Capital quartet of Lewis Clareburt, Lochlainn O’Connor, Atakura Julian, Joel Crampton and Tawa’s Bronson Lloyd all then set about the work in the 200m fly, making up 5 of the top 6 in the evening finals. The evening session also saw Joseph Stewart and Bronson Lloyd battle it out in the 800m Freestyle, with both clocking regional records in the final.


The second day saw the headline swimmers Lewis Clareburt and Sam Brown compete in the 400IM, just two weeks on from their match up at Wellington Short Course Champs. The race ended in the same result with a Clareburt gold and regional record, and a Brown silver and national record. Bronson Lloyd came in just outside the top 3 but with a regional record of his own in the 17 years category.

Thursday morning saw Aucklanders move out of Level 2 and some strong competition make their way south to Waterworld. There was a return of Clareburt, Brown and Lloyd in the 400 Free. All three clocked regional records and came in 2nd, 4th and 8th respectively in the A Final. Taranaki’s Zac Reid came in first with a sharp time of 3:40.95, whilst Atakura Julian and Joseph Stewart also competed well in a talented final field.

As the meet entered its final two days there were a number of highlights in the 200 Free & 200 IM with 3 men continuing to steal the show. Clareburt, Brown and Lloyd all clocked regional records in the finals for both events. However, their performances were overshadowed by a national record from Taylor Miles in the 50 Fly, 13 years category. Tayla came 4th in the A final, dropping 0.21s on her heats time and beating Chelsey Edwards regional record and Liv Peebles national record in the process.  Another young flyer, Pirates Georgina Bell, set a regional 14 years’ record in the 50 Fly C Final, with a time of 28.55s. Stevie Shipman also continued her surge into the record books with a time of 29.06 in the 50 Back, only to see rival Sophie Irving come in ahead of her in 5th in the evening A final.


The final day saw Bronson Lloyd finish the meet with gut busting 1500 Free time of 15:23.09, his 8th and final regional record for the week. Tayla Miles also signed of with a time of 1:04.78 in the morning heats of the 100 Fly and Lochlainn O’Connor clocked his first Open record for the region since his move to Wellington with a time of 53.49 in the 100 Fly. With plenty of sprinters in their ranks Capital performed well in the relays, with the women taking out the final gold of the meet in the 4x100 Medley. The Capital men came out with gold in the 4x50 Medley earlier on day 3 and there were strong showings from SwimZone, Tawa and Pirates quartets in the club relays.

A solid performance from Wellington’s swimmers over the week as they adapted to the venue change south of Auckland and came back to the Capital with an excellent haul. Many swimmers will be heading back to Hamilton for Secondary Schools which begins in less than a week, a chance to race alongside school mates and against schools from outside of the home region. Best of luck to all those competing.