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Gold, gold, gold for Wilson at the nationals

Carterton’s Ava Wilson won three gold medals at the national age-group championships. PHOTO/FILE


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Carterton swimmer Ava Wilson has the golden glow, having won three titles at the national age-group championships in Wellington last week.

The 13-year-old was outstanding, winning the 200m, 400m, and 800m freestyle events at the Kilbirnie swimming complex.

Wilson’s first success came in the 800m, which she won in nine minutes and 59.89 seconds, more than 30 seconds clear of her nearest rival.

In the 400m, Wilson took control on the second lap and pulled away to win by more than five seconds in 4.45.26.

Wilson’s strong finish was also to the fore in the 200m final, when she powered ahead in the second 100m to win in 2.13.98, and by 2.71 seconds from the second place-getter.

Coach Russell Geange was thrilled with her results.

Wilson’s efforts caught the attention of several prominent coaches including Roly Crichton, who used to coach Paralympics legend Sophie Pascoe, Geange said.

Crichton commented that it was good to see that swimmers from the small centres could still achieve at the highest national level.

The Solway College student’s successes came just three weeks after she won the gold medal for the 13-14 age group in the 2.8km race at the national secondary schools open water championships at Mt Maunganui.

Wilson’s time of 43.11, was 78 seconds quicker than runner-up Hayley McIntyre from Waikato Diocesan.

Another of Geange’s charges, James Church, made three finals in the highly competitive 15-year-old boys’ age group at the Wellington event.

The Rathkeale student’s best finish was a fourth in the 100m freestyle. He qualified third fastest for the final but missed out on a medal by 0.17sec, finishing in 55.13sec.

Church finished sixth in the 200m, setting a personal best [PB] of 2.01.99, which Geange said is the best time by a Wairarapa swimmer for many years.

Church was also sixth in the 50m butterfly in 27.20s, and set a PB of 1.03.49s in the 100m backstroke although his time was ninth fastest, meaning he just missed out on swimming in the final.

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