Press Release – Swimming Wellington
Wellington breaststroker Ben Walsh made it three from three at the Mayfair Pools National Age Group Swimming Championships in Wellington, when he qualified for two international swimming competitions in two nights, and broke a Wellington Open record in another event.
The championships at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre double as official trials for swimmers to be considered for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii and the second Youth Olympics in China, both in August. Walsh, 17, who swims for the Porirua City Aquatics club, qualified for both.
Walsh, from Whitby, set a National Age Grade and Wellington Open record of 1:02.61 in the 100m breaststroke, qualifying him for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships. His 200m time of 2:20.40 qualified him for the Youth Olympics – just outside his Wellington Open record of 2:19.11, set last month.
He also set a Wellington Open record in the 50m, clocking 29.00. This event is not on the programme at the two international meets.
Walsh went under the 1:04.79 qualifying time for the Junior Pan Pacs in the 100m breaststroke on the penultimate night of competition, after clocking 1:05.07 in the heat.
He was nervous in the final, as this national meet is the only chance to qualify for the Junior Pan Pacs.
“I get nervous – I just don’t show it. I thought ‘this is it’. I wanted to go hard out in the first 50 and hold out and for the last 50 – and win in the fastest possible time.
“I went pretty hard out in the heat.”
He also split under 30 seconds at his first 50m for just his second time in the event – the first time being just a month ago at the New Zealand Open Championships.
“The first 50 felt good – I`m just so stoked, so happy to make the Junior Pan Pacs mark.”
Both Walsh’s 100m and 200m times were two seconds inside the qualifying times for the two international meets.
The quadrennial Pan Pacific Championships involve full strength teams from the
Pacific Rim including USA, Canada Japan and Australia as well as New Zealand. Three swimmers per event can be considered for selection for the Junior Pan Pacifics while there is a maximum of two male and two female swimmers in total for the Youth Olympics team, limited to teenagers.
Josie Kozyniak, 16, from Wellington’s Capital club, also qualified for the Youth Olympics, clocking 2:22.76 in her 200m butterfly event, two seconds inside the qualifying time.