Swimming: Ruske expected to dominate champs

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 (1min 6.55sec).

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 29.18sec).

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 Kenneally.

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
Swimming championships

• Venue: Moana Pool.

Dates: January 22-26.

Times: 8.45am (heats), 5.45pm (Otago Stars v Canterbury Shockwave finals). Saturday finals (4.30pm).



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