Lo­cal swimmers im­press at champs

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS -

Two So­phies and two paraswim­mers had an ex­cep­tional weekend at the Otago 13-yearsand-over swim champs in Dunedin at the weekend. More than 200 South Is­land ath­letes at­tended the event which also dou­bles as the Can­ter­bury Cham­pi­onship. So­phie Gib­son, 16, of Queen­stown had an eight-medal haul, dom­i­nat­ing the three back­stroke events and col­lect­ing gold in the 400m freestyle along with four sil­vers. She is now pre­par­ing for April’s New Zealand Open Cham­pi­onships and Com­mon­wealth Games tri­als. Wanaka’s So­phie Fair­bairn also had a strong out­ing bring­ing home two gold, four sil­ver and three bronze medals in the 13-14 age group. Fa­ther and Wanaka Swim Club pres­i­dent Richard Fair­bairn said that in­cluded five per­sonal best times and the open breast­stroke tro­phy over all age groups in Otago. De­spite qual­i­fy­ing in two events for the New Zealand opens she would this year com­pete at the

age-group na­tional in­stead. ‘‘We think it’s prob­a­bly a bit early for a 14-year-old. We will prob­a­bly take her next year.’’ Two other suc­cess sto­ries at the champs were para-swimmers Hamish McLean, 14, of Wanaka, who won five gold medals and Ella Mac­Beth, of Queen­stown, who col­lected two golds. McLean, who was born with dwarfism, broke four un­der-19 New Zealand para-swim­ming records and one na­tional open para-swim­ming record. He is off to Syd­ney in Fe­bru­ary with the Kiwi team con­test­ing the New South Wales champs . He was aim­ing to com­pete in the Com­mon­wealth Games and Para-Olympics, Fair­bairn said.


So­phie Fair­bairn

So­phie Gib­son

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