Neill by a whisker in final race
Story by: - Photo by: Marc Palmano / Shuttersport
Perfect still conditions and light cloud cover provided excellent swimming conditions for the top of the South Island’s only long course meet of the year. The Nelson Swimming Club Fab 50’s and Top 200’s meet brought 91 swimmers from Nelson, Marlborough, Golden By and the West Coast to Nayland Park to do justice to the many hours of training they put in every week.
The event is run with a rotation of strokes and distances allowing specialists an opportunity to focus on their chosen stroke in all distances, or sprinters to focus on their preferred distances in all strokes.
Swimmers ranging from 8 to 18 years in age relished in the conditions – many swimmers had their eyes set on personal best times, while others were looking long course race experience. Many of the top level swimmers were also attempting to qualify for National Junior, Division 2 and Age group events to be held in 2012.
Sam McKenzie blitzed the 100m freestyle National qualifying time
Some stand out performances came from the Junior swimmers in the meet with 12 year old Sam McKenzie from Nelson Swimming Club blitzing the qualifying times for the National Junior Competition in the 50 and the 100 freestyle, taking significant slices off his own personal bests to come well under the required times. .McKenzie also served notice that he’s not finished yet, coming breathtakingly close in the 50 Fly and 50 Backstroke.
10 year old Kaleb Johnston, made his junior nationals booking by slashing his 50 freestyle time by over 1 second in the 50 freestyle.
Ellie Rukuwai on her way to pb in the 200m backstroke
Golden Bay swimmers came to the meet producing some outstanding results with Floris Pontier and Tulia Wilson both taking taking 10 seconds off their 100m Freestyle times. Other big gains came from National Swimmer Ellie Rukuwai (Nelson South) in the 200m Backstroke, Emma Whiite and Hannah Price from Motueka in the 100 m Back, Talyah Harwood (Nelson) 200m Freestyle and Bendi Kepess (Nelson South) in the 200m Breastroke.
National Division 2 times were gained by Amy Coulton (Nelson) in the 100 and 200 freestyle
The finale was the gruelling 400m Individual Medley between rivals and good friends Eddie Neill (Nelson) and Toby Lloyd (Blenheim). The pair slugged it out over 8 lengths, Lloyd took a lead in the Butterfly only to have Neill gain it all back in the Backstroke leg, the last half of the race was swum neck and neck. On the final length, neither swimmer was going to capitulate. With 15 metres to go Lloyd looked to have a small edge but the long arms of Neill ensured what appeared to be a dead heat finish. The watches had Neill 12/100ths ahead at 5.25.72 for a thrilling finish to the meet.