Mates but rivals in water
Two teens are pushing each other to the top of the New Zealand swimming ladder.
Mt Eden swimmer Gabrielle Fa’amausili edged out Kiwi teammate Bobbi Gichard in record time during the 50-metre backstroke final in the 2014 Mayfair Pools Oceania Championships last month.
Fa’amausili’s time of 28.77 seconds broke Parnell athlete Liz Coster’s 2008 Oceania Championship record.
Gichard and Fa’amausili have been close rivals in record-setting swims since they were 12 and they hope the competition will push them on to the podium at future Olympic Games.
Fa’amausili says the competition pushes both of them to their limits – but it’s a friendly type of rivalry.
‘‘The Olympics is the big aim. It would be awesome to share that experience with my longtime team-mate and to have us both on the podium,’’ Fa’amausili says.
‘‘It is really good to have someone the same speed and the same age. I support her if she wins and she supports me if I win. We are good team-mates.’’
Gichard says it has been a long-standing rivalry which keeps the duo at the top of their game.
‘‘We started competing against each other at 12 in the 100m back at national age groups when I won and Gabby was second but it was close. It is good to have competition in the same age as you.’’
The 10th Oceania Championships attracted 175 competitors from 14 countries to Auckland.