Aleisha Ruske (Neptune) is expected to play a dominant role
at this week's Otago championships at Moana Pool.
Ruske (15), a St Hilda's Collegiate pupil, demonstrated her
skills at the national short-course championships in
Wellington in October when she won three medals: gold in the
100m butterfly (1min 4.39sec), silver in the 200m butterfly
(2min 23.47sec) and bronze in the 100m individual medley
Ruske also completed her set at the New Zealand age-group
long-course championships in Wellington in February: gold in
the girls 14 100m butterfly (1min 5.65sec), silver in the 50m
freestyle (27.98sec) and bronze in the 200m butterfly (2min
Ruske was the star pupil of veteran coach Punche Tremaine.
When he died, the 14 members of his squad joined John
Cornfoot's training squad.
Ruske has continued her progress at national level since
Cornfoot took over her coaching.
She is top qualifier in the 50m freestyle with 27.71sec and
the 200m butterfly (2min 23.98sec).
Ruske will be challenged by her Neptune club-mates in her
specialist 100m butterfly. Kate Godfrey (19) has the fastest
time with 1min 2.79sec and is followed by Katie Kenneally
(21) with 1min 04.70sec.
Godfrey made a significant breakthrough at the New Zealand
open championships when she won a silver medal in the 400m
individual medley in 4min 58.35sec.
Godfrey came of age when she swam a World University Games
qualifying time at the Auckland open championships last
month. She won the gold medal in the 200m individual medley
in 2min 16.5sec, a time that would get her to the student
games in Kazan, Russia, in July. She will still need to
repeat the time at the national open championships in March
to collect her air ticket to Russia.
Godfrey is the elite women's swimmer in coach Gennadiy
Labara's Osca squad. The hard work she has done over the last
four years is paying dividends.
She won eight medals five gold, two silver and one bronze -
at the Auckland championships. Her gold medals were in the
100m backstroke, 200m individual medley, 200m backstroke and
400m individual medley.
Godfrey is the top seed in her specialist 200m individual
medley at the Otago championships and has a 3sec cushion on
She also heads Kenneally in the 100m butterfly with her time
of 1min 02.79sec.
Kurt Crosland is expected to dominate the men's events at
this week's championships.
He is the top qualifier in the 50m breaststroke (30.09sec),
200m individual medley (2min 2.08sec), 50m freestyle
(23.75sec), 50m backstroke (25.05sec), 100m breaststroke
(1min 4.89sec), 100m freestyle (52.14sec), 200m backstroke
(1min 58.82sec) and 50m butterfly (25.25sec).
Crosland won four gold medals and three silver at the
Auckland championships. The most significant performance was
in the 50m butterfly when he broke Danyon Loader's 1993 Otago
senior men's record of 25.51sec. His time was 25.36sec.
Because the QE2 facilities were destroyed by the Christchurch
earthquake, the Canterbury championships will be held in
conjunction with the Otago championships.
The Canterbury championships will be decided on the morning
swims and the Otago championships at the evening events.
This is the second year Canterbury swimmers have joined in
the programme, and 450 swimmers will be competing at Moana
Pool this week.
The first eight qualifiers in the Otago championships and the
first eight in the Canterbury championships will qualify for
the evening races. Any swimmers who enter either
championships can qualify for the Otago or Canterbury teams.
Otago and Canterbury
• Venue: Moana Pool.
• Dates: January 22-26.
• Times: 8.45am (heats), 5.45pm (Otago Stars v
Canterbury Shockwave finals). Saturday finals (4.30pm).