Swimming: Godfrey tests Batchelor in freestyle thriller

Sophia Batchelor (Aquagym), the bright hope for the future of New Zealand swimming, did not disappoint at Moana Pool last night.

She won the senior women's 50m freestyle by a hair's breadth from Otago's best female swimmer, Kate Godfrey (Neptune) in 28.15sec. Godfrey was timed at 28.16sec.

The win gave the Canterbury Shockwaves vital points in its team contest against the Otago Stars.

The top eight swimmers from the Otago championships compete against the top eight from Canterbury in the evening session.

It added spice to the evening contest and the inter-provincial rivalry brought out the best in all events.

The two swimmers have the talent to become future international stars for New Zealand in the pool.

Batchelor narrowly missed selection for the London Olympics but made up for it by gaining a full swimming scholarship to the University of Berkeley in the United States from next August.

She has one important task to complete before she heads to the United States.

''I want to complete my hat trick of wins in the 100m butterfly and the 50m backstroke at the New Zealand open championships,'' she said.

Batchelor has written her name in the New Zealand swimming records book a huge 107 times.

She is ranked fifth in the world in the 200m backstroke which is one of her special events.

Godfrey has already swum a qualifying time for this year's World University Games in Russia and was in a class of her own when she won her specialty 200m individual medley in 2min 21.43sec last night.

Godfrey broke from the field on the breaststroke leg and came home strongly to beat clubmate Katie Kenneally, who was second in 2min 24.43sec, and North Canterbury's Natasha Lloyd, 2min 25.92sec.

Lloyd proved her class when she won the 50m breaststroke in a tight finish from Kenneally in 34.08sec. Kenneally was timed at 34.69sec.

The highlight of the girls aged 15 and 16 events came in the 50m freestyle when Aleisha Ruske (Neptune) won convincingly in 27.76sec from Brittany Tucker (QE2), who clocked 28.11sec.

Ruske used her devastating final sprint to edge out Chelsea Easter (Wharenui) the 200m butterfly in 2min 28.13sec. Easter swam 2min 28.29sec.

Kurt Crosland (Neptune) pulled away from the field on the breaststroke leg to win the senior men's 200m individual medley in 2min 09.44sec.

Andrew Trembath (Neptune) was a convincing winner of the men's aged 15 and 16 200m individual medley in 2min 12.64sec. But he was beaten by Shirley Boys High School pupil Matthew Phillips (Wharenui) in the 50m freestyle. Phillips was timed at 25.24sec and Trembath 25.82sec.

One of the best races of the night came in the boys aged 13 and 14 200m butterfly when Satori Dobbie came with a late rush to win in 2min 23.48sec from Oscar Pedersen (Oamaru), 2min 23.68sec.

It was a good night for Oamaru swimmers because Jeremy Tasker won the senior men's 200m butterfly in 2min 10.36sec.

Molly Law (Queenstown) won the girls under 10 200m individual medley in a personal best time of 3min 15.59sec and the 50m freestyle in 34.84sec.

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