14 Dec 2009

Great first day for NZ swimmers in Brisbane

6:02 am on 14 December 2009

The North Shore swimmer Melissa Ingram has broken the New Zealand record twice and gone under the qualifying mark for next year's Commonwealth Games to lead a successful first day for the New Zealand contingent at the Queensland State Championships in Brisbane.

New Zealanders recorded six swims under the qualifying times for next year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Ingram went under the qualifying mark in the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke, with others to better the New Delhi target times included her North Shore clubmates Emily Thomas, Jessie Blundell, Daniel Bell and Andrew McMillan.

Swimmers can only achieve qualification for the Commonwealth Games if they better the times in a final at the official trials in April, but yesterday's results have encouraged Swimming New Zealand's Jan Cameron.

With swimmers from Australia, Britain, japan and New Zealand taking part and only 3 spots for non-Queenslanders available for finals, Cameron says her swimmers were generally in exellent form.

Ingram enjoyed a superb return to international competition after a three month layoff this year following her shock failure to qualify for the FINA World Championships earlier this year.

She bounced back to become the first New Zealand woman under the magical two minute barrier in the 200m freestyle during the morning heats.... her new mark was nearly half a second under Helen Norfolk's previous record, and 2/10ths under the Commonwealth Games standard.... she then improved that mark by more than a second in finishing second in the final.

Ingram also went under the Games time in finishing fifth in the final of the 100m backstroke, with young clubmates Thomas and Blundell stealing the limelight, finishing second and third respectively behind Beijing Olympic gold medallist Emily Seebohm.... Thomas setting a new national mark.