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Wilson’s golden hat-trick

An unbelievable 1500m gold medal capped a stunning national age group swimming championships for Carterton teenager Ava Wilson.

The 14-year-old had already won the 400m and 800m freestyle and earned silver medals in the 200m freestyle and the 400m individual medley [IM] before tackling her most demanding event on the final day of competition at the new Hawke’s Bay Aquatic Centre in Hastings.

Wilson was in a class of her own in the race over 30 laps of the Olympic-sized 50m pool, smashing her personal best by 59 seconds in finishing in a time of 17 minutes, 54.82 seconds.

Coach Russell Geange, who watched the livestream at home and spoke to Wilson before and after her races, said he couldn’t believe the 1500m time. However, he reckons that her selection earlier this year in the New Zealand open water team to compete in Australia probably contributed to her outstanding effort.

“It all ties in a wee bit. She certainly thrives on the long-distance stuff,” Geange said.

Wilson won the girls’ 13-14 years 2.5km and was second in the 5km event in the national open water championships on Lake Taupo in January, earning selection to compete in Sydney at the New South Wales open water championships.

Overall, Geange was thrilled with Wilson’s efforts over the five days of competition in Hastings.

“I was really pleased with the others. The 400m free – her first event, and the 800m in 9min, 25sec, it’s all progressing well,” he said.

“The 400 IM, we’ve got a wee bit of work to do, mainly her butterfly because that starts the IM off, and she got left behind a wee bit.”

Geange said a lot of Wilson’s success comes down to her ability, the way she thinks about races, and her willingness to take on advice,

“She certainly enjoys being in that competition and thrives in that environment. She gets a little bit disappointed if things don’t work out, but that’s natural,” Geange said.

Up next for Wilson are the secondary school and the short course nationals before the trip to Sydney.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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