24 May 2014

NZ edges Australia at Oceanias

6:54 am on 24 May 2014

New Zealand swimmers have won three of the last four events at the Oceania swimming championships in Auckland, to claim bragging rights over Australia in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games.

Starting the final night locked on 16 wins each, the hosts finished ahead with 22 victories overall, to the Australians' 20.

The last night of action at the 10th Oceanias produced some nail-biting close finishes and three further Oceania Championship records, bringing the total to 11 for the meet.

The battle began from the first event with Australia coming from behind to edge New Zealand by 1/100th of a second in the mixed 4x100 metres freestyle relay.

New Zealand hit back in the 200 individual medley and 200 breaststroke, with Commonwealth Games freestyle representative Tash Hind domining the women's medley in a time faster than her winning time at the recent national championships.

Waikato teenage prospect Bradlee Ashby upset top qualifier Nicholas Groenewald and in-form Jake Baggaley, both of Australia, to win the men's medley.

Hawkes Bay's Julian Layton went wire-to-wire to win the 200 breaststroke, while national champion Abbie Johnston showed her strength in the back half of the race to edge out compatriot Beckie Dooley to win in the women's race.

The other winning effort for New Zealand came from Queensland-based Cameron Simpson who broke the Oceania Championship mark of 22.83 seconds with a winning time of 22.79.

New Zealand also dominated the final women's 4x100 medley relay.

The biennial championships attracted 175 competitors from 14 nations.