Sun­dev­ils back­stro­ker books flight to worlds

Hawke's Bay Today - - Sport - Short course na­tion­als Swim­ming, Auck­land anen­dra.singh@hbto­day.co.nz

On the cusp of rep­re­sent­ing her coun­try, Emma God­win is “su­per ex­cited” to have booked a flight with the New Zealand con­tin­gent of swim­mers to the 14th Fina World Short Course Cham­pi­onship in China in De­cem­ber.

But God­win ex­pects the nerves to start jan­gling a lit­tle, too, as the 25m pool event in Hangzhou from De­cem­ber 11-16 ap­proaches.

“It’s su­per ex­cit­ing to be trav­el­ling over­seas for in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions,” says the Sun­dev­ils [Hast­ings] mem­ber, whose pre­vi­ous meet­ings abroad were a cou­ple of Aussie state cham­pi­onships un­der the club ban­ner.

The 21-year-old is re­cu­per­at­ing from an in­jured shoul­der through overuse but she re­ceived the thumbs up from the na­tional selec­tors last week af­ter com­ing away with a gold, sil­ver and bronze medal each from the five-day New Zealand Short Course Cham­pi­onship in Auck­land, which lured more than 900 swim­mers from New Zealand, US, Tahiti, Aus­tralia, Fiji and the Cook Is­lands.

God­win also smashed two Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay records in the open 100m back­stroke (59.19s) and open 50m back­stroke (27.73s) races staged at the Sir Owen G. Glenn Na­tional Aquatic Cen­tre.

It goes with­out say­ing in­ten­sity was a given for the the Sun­dev­ils mem­ber over the 50m back­stroke dis­tance where Auck­land teenager Kyla Alexan­der clocked 27.65s to smash for­mer ju­nior world cham­pion Gabrielle Fa’amausili’s 17 years na­tional age-group record of 27.73s, which God­win equalled.

“When you’re com­pet­ing against some­one who’s that fast, it adds more to the race,” she says, treat­ing it as “bonus”.

Not a spe­cial­ist in that dis­tance, God­win was de­lighted to find her­self on the podium and with a HBPB record to add to her CV.

The for­mer Iona Col­lege pupil, born in Gis­borne, spent three years study­ing at Massey Univer­sity in Auck­land and is in her fi­nal se­mes­ter of a sport and re­cre­ation de­gree via cor­re­spon­dence.

For some­one who grav­i­tates to­wards 200m events, God­win uses the 50m event as a dis­ci­pline to brush her tech­nique and bring her up to speed for the longer dis­tance.

In Hangzhou, she will com­pete in the 200 back­stroke event af­ter clock­ing 2m 7.48s at the na­tion­als for gold to add to her long-course na­tion­als in July.

She is in­debted to Sun­dev­ils coach Wil­lie Ben­son for hon­ing her skills.

“It’s good to have some­one who has as much knowl­edge as he does and to be able to get his ex­pe­ri­ence and un­der­stand­ing of rac­ing un­der his belt.”

God­win took to the pool from an early age.

While she has the sup­port of both par­ents, she points out the swim­ming genes come from her mother, Prue Younger, not father Rob God­win.

“I’ve def­i­nitely got mum’s tal­ent,” she says of Younger, who swims for fit­ness and en­cour­aged her into the com­pet­i­tive arena when she was 10.

Jake Stephens, of Napier Aqua­hawks, re­turned with seven medals out of his eight races at the na­tion­als.

Stephens claimed four golds, two sil­vers and a bronze. Akin to God­win, the 13-year-old from Lind­is­farne Col­lege smashed two gen­der age-group HBPB records in the 100m back­stroke (1.02.20) and 200m back­stroke (2.13.71) events.

His gold medals came in the 400 in­di­vid­ual medley (5.04.94), 100 back­stroke (1.02.20, club record), 200m but­ter­fly (2.21.08) and 50m back­stroke (29.26).

Stephens is “stoked” with his spoils af­ter go­ing in with an at­ti­tude of que sera sera.

“I’ve just been more re­laxed and didn’t put tooo much pres­sure on my­self,” he says, re­veal­ing Ben­son “has been a great role model” with ad­vice.

The teenager says he was fast los­ing mo­ti­va­tion with swim­ming at Aqua­hawks so he ap­proached Ben­son, who was the ideal cat­a­lyst in try­ing to keep him in the sport.

Stephens says he wasn’t re­ally click­ing with new Aqua­hawks coach Phil Mel­huish.

He’ll end his five-year mem­ber­ship with Aqua­hawks with the last out­ing at the Green­dale Swim Club meet­ing to­day.

Stephens, who is in­debted to his school and mother Kar­rie for their help, will now fo­cus on the na­tional age-group cham­pi­onship early next year.

Matthew Sex­ton, 16, of Sun­dev­ils, claimed gold in 100m back­stroke (58.53) while Ella Jamieson, of Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay, was the other HBPB record breaker in the 17 years’ fe­male 50m breast­stroke race (33.05).

Re­sults be­low, left

and vice-cap­tain and half­back Camp­bell Rodgers led their side with aplomb. Util­ity Oliver Beale, prop Ge­orge Hancy and hooker Mad­dox Lui were oth­ers to shine in a team which had no pas­sen­gers.

Beale scored a try and kicked a con­ver­sion. Lui and No 8 Char­lie Nash also scored tries.

Sole­nis NZ Napier West beat Count­down Hast­ings West 28-12 in the play­off for third. Busy No 8 Ben Camp­bell and lock Harry Keigh­ley were an in­spi­ra­tional pair in the Napier West pack. Alex Barra, vice-cap­tain Carter Frame-Tavita, Jon­tay Fer­gu­son and Lu­cas Stok scored Napier West’s tries and Ja­cob Cot­ter kicked four con­ver­sions.

Hast­ings West coach Craig Welling­ton said his troops pro­duced an­other gutsy ef­fort and he was proud of the way they im­proved through­out the tour­na­ment.

Tims Con­struc­tion Sara­cens beat Tumu ITM Dan­nevirke 17-0 in the play­off for fifth. Fred Lauge­son was again prom­i­nent for Sara­cens in both the lock and sec­ond fiveeighth po­si­tions.

His phys­i­cal­ity lev­els were ad­mirable and his de­fence rock­like. Winger Kane Ngawhare, who scored two tries, and blind­side flanker James Dow­ley were oth­ers to shine.

Cen­tre Ai­dan Cairns scored Sara­cens’ other try and first fiveeighth Jack McFetridge kicked a con­ver­sion.

Locks Te Ariki Tangi­wai and Lane Small joined No 8 Dou­gal Rad­ford as the pick of the Dan­nevirke play­ers. Their coach, Lin­coln Barnes, was thrilled with the side’s ef­forts through­out the week in their first ap­pear­ance at the tour­na­ment and pointed out Dan­nevirke would be back next year.

PHOTO / WAR­REN BUCK­LAND

Emma God­win and Jake Stephens set the tone for HBPB at the na­tion­als last week. The oth­ers are Ara­bella Smith (back row, left), Alena Kam­per, Mahina Ross, Sarah-Kate Bir­kett, Trent Kam­per and Matthew Sex­ton.

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