McKenzie dominates freestyle at SI Champs

McKenzie dominates freestyle at SI Champs

Sam McKenzie of the Tasman Swim Club dominated the men’s freestyle events at the South Island Championships in Blenheim on 25-27 August. McKenzie (18) was declared the South Island Open Champion in the men’s 50, 100, 200 and 400 metre freestyle and also medalled in his two other events, the 100m butterfly and 100m breaststroke. His times in the 50m and 100m freestyle were new meet records, and his 100m butterfly time of 56.60 seconds set a new Nelson Marlborough open record.

Caitlin Deans of Dunedin’s Neptune Swimming Club was the top performer in a strong field of 215 swimmers from around the South Island. Deans won the open gold medal in six events: 50m, 400m and 800m freestyle, 100m and 200m backstroke and the 400m individual medley.

Kaylee Jackson of the Jasi Swim Club in Christchurch wasn’t far behind, winning five open golds. For the men, Cameron James of Aquagym in Christchurch equalled McKenzie’s feat of four open golds.

Nelson Marlborough swimmers did especially well in the 12-14 year old age group, boding well for the future of swimming in the region. Bendi Kepess of Tasman Swim Club had an outstanding meet, winning three gold medals in the boys 12-14 year age group, including in the demanding 1500m freestyle and 200m butterfly. Kepess also brought home a silver and three bronze medals and set a new Nelson Marlborough age group record in the 400m individual medley.

Tasman’s Bree Anderson claimed two golds for 12-14 girls in the 200m and 400m individual medley, and added two silver and two bronze medals to her tally. Anderson set two Nelson Marlborough age group records, in the 200m backstroke and 200m IM. Teammate Leah Friend also had golds for 12-14 year old girls, in 100m and 200m butterfly. And Tasman’s Sierra Thomas won the gold for 12-14 year old girls in the 800m freestyle and set a Nelson Marlborough age group record in the process.

Clara Foster led the Nelson South Swimming Club with four silver and two bronze medals and set a Nelson Marlborough age group record in 50m butterfly. Teammate Rebecca Loach won a silver and a bronze, while Ruby-Lou Stuart, Xavier Anderson and Ilaria Old each brought home a bronze Nelson South. Stuart set a Nelson Marlborough age group record in the 200m butterfly.

Other medallists from Tasman were Piper Riley with two silver and a bronze in the girls 12-14 age group and Jaxon Marshall with one bronze.

Sophie Woodhouse was the best of the Blenheim swimmers at the meet, winning the bronze in the 200m breaststroke for the 15-16 age group. Blenheim teammates George Glover and Megan Clark also had good meets, each achieving personal events in every event they contested.

Four para swimmers attended the meet and between them set seven provisional New Zealand records for swimmers with a disability. Jane Fox (17) of Orca Swimming Club in Southland was outstanding, achieving top New Zealand times in the S14 class in the 100m and 200m individual medley as well as the 100m breaststroke and 200m freestyle.

Celyn Edwards of Selwyn Swimming Club, competing in the S9 class, also bettered New Zealand records in the 100m and 200m individual medley. And George Adam of North Canterbury got a provision New Zealand record in the 100m butterfly in the S14 class.

Long time swimming supporter Eric Peterson of the Waimea Swimming Club was recognized at the meet for his contribution to swimming over many years, and was named a life member of Swimming Nelson Marlborough. Well into his seventies, Peterson has become a fixture at club and regional swim meets where he regularly serves as the meet marshal, lining up swimmers for the upcoming events.

The region’s top swimmers are now preparing for the New Zealand Short Course Championships in Auckland on 3-7 October. Their last chance to get qualifying times will be at a Blenheim club meet on 16 September.

Posted: Tue 29 Aug 2017

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