Aussies and Kiwis to do battle in Oceania finals

Australia and New Zealand have led the way on the opening morning of pool swimming at the 2010 Oceania Swimming Championships in Samoa today, with nine finals set to be contested tonight.

In the opening event of the morning, 19-year-old James Roberts from the Gold Coast won his heat of the men’s 50m butterfly by more than two body lengths only to have to re-swim the race due to a technical issue with the timing system.

Roberts returned to the blocks 90 minutes later to post a time of 25.14 securing lane 4 ahead of Papua New Guinea Olympian Ryan Pini who hit the wall in 25.27.

West Australian Hamish Rose qualified third fastest in 25.61, with fellow Aussie Grant Irvine fourth in 25.63, however he misses out on the final due to Oceania by-laws which only allow two swimmers from each country to compete in a final.

For Roberts who is traditionally a 50m freestyler, the time was just 0.10 of a second off his best in the fly, but he knows he will be up against it tonight with Pini lurking.

“Swimming another race has happened to me before and it’s always a good opportunity to get up and swim fast again,” said Roberts.

“I actually didn’t realise I was doing the fly until last night, so to go into the final ranked fastest is good but Pini is going to be there right behind me.”

In the women’s 50m butterfly New Zealander Laura Quilter qualified fastest for the final in a time of 28.10 with 14-year-old Queenslander Madeline Groves just 0.03 of a second behind in 28.13.

Groves’s training partner from St Peters Western, Amy Smith (28.42) will join her in the final with 2009 New Zealand Trans Tasman representative Sophia Batchelor also set to be in the mix with a qualifying time of 28.56. Jenni O’Neil finished in a time of 28.98.

200m Freestyle

New Zealand swimmer Andrew McMillian will swim from lane 4 in the final of the men’s 200m freestyle after touching quickest in the heats in a time of 1:51.42.

Gold medallist in the 5km open water swim yesterday, Jarrod Killey will go into the final ranked third after his time of 1:52.75 while Matthew Terry from Redcliffe Leagues was second into the final in a time of 1:52.47.

Luke Kerswell from Southside Aquatic in Queensland, who has been sick with a stomach virus finished in 1:53.31, while Mitch Larkin from St Peters Western touching the wall in 1:53.38.

A total of seven Aussies swam in the heats of the women’s 200m freestyle, producing some strong racing with only two finals spots up for grabs.

Queenslander Amelia Evatt-Davey from St Peters Western will go into the final in lane four after touching the wall in 2:01.81 with Amy Allen finishing in 2:03.47 and AIS athlete Jade Neilsen just 0.19 of a second behind in 2:03.47.

100m Backstroke

Braiden Camm from the Redlands club in Brisbane will go into the final of the men’s 100m backstroke in lane 4 after touching the wall in 56.68 from Bobby Jovanovich (57.43) and Mitch Larkin in 58.30.

Camm’s time, was just 0.44 of a second off his personal best set at the 2010 Telstra Australian Swimming Championships in March, while with only two Australian’s able to go through to the final, Hawaii’s Daren Choi will go into the final ranked third after a time of 59.75.

New Zealanders Sophia Batchelor and Jessie Blundell will start as favourites for the women’s 100m backstroke after just 0.06 of a second separated them in this morning’s heats. Batchelor won the heat in 1:03.57 from Blundell (1:03.63), while Australian’s Whitney Ireland (1:05.22) and Jenni O’Neil (1:05.47) will be chasing the two Kiwi’s down.

Men’s 200m Butterfly

Queenslander Grant Irvine made his intentions clear in the men’s 200m butterfly winning in a time 2:05.68 from New Zealander Shaun Burnett (2:08.20) and Hawaii’s Kacy Johnson third in 2:11.70.

The 19-year-old accounting student looked as though he may have left some in the tank for tonight’s final cruising to the wall in a time some eight seconds off his personal best of 1:57.47 set at this year’s Australian Championships.

St Peters Western training partners Amy Smith and Madeline Groves will do battle in the final of the women’s 200m freestyle with the 20-year-old Smith finishing in 2:14.98 and Groves, six years her junior, hitting the wall in 2:17.74. New Zealand’s Charlotte Webby will be ranked third in the final in 2:15.33.


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