Swimming: Glassford sends message to selectors

Otago swimmer Caitlin Deans competes in the girls aged 13 and 14 800m at the Otago championships at Moana Pool yesterday. Deans won five gold medals at the championships. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Otago swimmer Caitlin Deans competes in the girls aged 13 and 14 800m at the Otago championships at Moana Pool yesterday. Deans won five gold medals at the championships. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Matthew Glassford (Neptune) is a rejuvenated swimmer whois on the verge of selection for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Two years ago, Glassford (23) had serious health problems and was thinking seriously about quitting swimming.

The sport has been his passion for more than a decade and he shifted from his home town of Alexandra to Dunedin to train with Duncan Laing 10 years ago.

His serious health problems were solved by Wellington natural health practitioner Gary Moller, who put him on a supplement programme that included a daily health smoothie.

''My confidence had taken a hit two years ago,'' Glassford said.

''Gary's supplement programme has worked for me.''

Early this month, Glassford proved that he was on target for Glasgow by winning a bronze medal at the Victorian state championships.

He confirmed his new confidence at the Otago and Canterbury swimming championships at Moana Pool that finished yesterday.

Glassford, a senior member of coach Gennadiy Labara's squad, won six open men's titles. He won the 50m (31.38sec), 100m (1min 6.94sec) and 200m (2min 20.10sec) breaststroke, the 200m (1min 58.40sec) and 1500m (16min 44.31sec) freestyle, and the 400m (4min 37.28sec) individual medley.

Glassford was within 2sec of his personal best time in the 400m medley. There was also an important milestone when he won the cup for the 100m breaststroke for the eighth successive year.

A holiday in Hong Kong with his family did wonders for Ronald Poon (Neptune), who returned to form and won five titles in the men's aged 15 and 16 grade.

This included personal best times in the 50m (25.90sec) and 100m freestyle (56.54sec) and 50m (30.82sec) and 100m (1min 5.36sec) backstroke.

Another promising Otago swimmer in the Labara squad is Han Zhang (Neptune), who won six titles at the championships in the men's aged 15 and 16 grade. This included a personal best time of 4min 57.31sec in the 400m individual medley.

The best young female swimmer in the Labara squad is Caitlin Deans, who won five gold medals in the girls aged 13 and 14 grade.

This included a personal best time of 29.11sec in the 50m freestyle. Her next target is the Australian age group championships, in Sydney in April.

The best race of the weekend was the final of the Canterbury open women' s 200m backstroke, between two 18-year-old Jasi swimmers, Ebony Maikuku and Caitlin Rennell.

They were both tired after winning their specialist events earlier in the evening. Rennell won the 400m individual medley in 5min 7sec and and Maikuku the 100m freestyle in 1min 0.71sec.

They were like two boxers sparring at each other and were even at 50m. Rennell got her head in front at the first turn and led narrowly at halfway.

Maikuku came back strongly to lead at the end of three laps. Rennell had a better turn and was in front down the final lap, but Maikuku came with a late rush to take the title on the line, in a time of 2min 22.65ec. Rennell was clocked at 2min 22.90sec.

''I was tired in the last two laps and it hurt,'' Maikuku said.

''I thought of my grandma, Dawn Wood, in the last two laps and she gave me the inspiration to hold in there. My grandma has been very sick and I wanted to win it for her.''

The Otago title in the event was contested in a separate race and was won by Kate Godfrey (Neptune) in 2min 24.60sec.

Godfrey also won the 400m individual medley in 5min 04.33sec and Stef Gillespie the 100m freestyle in 1min 0.87sec.

Rennell ended the championships on a high note by winning the 1500m in a personal best time of 18min 5.87sec. Gillespie won the Otago women's title in 18min 0.88sec.

Chris McFadden (Aquagym) returned in style after a two-month injury layoff to win the Canterbury open men's 100m freestyle title in 54.47sec. It equalled the personal best time by the third-year Canterbury University engineering student.

Kurt Crosland (Neptune) won the Otago title in 53.05sec and Michael Finlay (Southland) was second in 53.89sec.

Henry Muskee (Aquagym) won the men's aged 15 and 16 400m individual medley in 4min 50.89sec and the 200m backstroke in a personal best 2min 13.66sec.

The most successful of the younger Canterbury swimmers was 14-year-old Satori Dobbie (QE2), who won 11 titles in the boys aged 13 and 14 grade. This included six personal best long course times.

Jacquie Ruth (QE2) broke her fifth New Zealand S6 AWD record of the championships when she won the 800m in 16min 50sec.

 

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