Halsall into swimming final on Day One

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ISLE of Man swimmers Charlotte Atkinson and Grant Halsall enjoyed an impressive morning on the first full day of action at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games.

There were no local competitors in the opening preliminary race of Friday morning at the National Sports Centre’s 25-metre pool, the women’s 100m freestyle which was won by Australian Kotuku Ngawati in 55.33 seconds ahead of compatriot Ami Matsuo and England’s Sophie Smith in second and third respectively.

However, it wasn’t long until there was a Manx swimmer in action with Laura Kinley taking part in the women’s 100m breaststroke in the very next race. Unfortunately she missed out on a place in this evening’s (Friday’s) final but enjoyed a solid performance after finishing 11th in a time of 1min 14.19sec.

Northern Ireland’s Sycerika McMahon won the heat with 1:09.04 ahead of South Africa’s Kelly Gunnell and Emily Jones of Scotland. Completing the top eight qualifiers were Natasha Lloyd (New Zealand), Justine MacFarlane (South Africa), Sara Lougher (Wales), Molly Renshaw (England) and Karlene Pircher (Australia).

Grant Halsall gave the Manx support something to cheer about in the third preliminary contest as he produced an impressive swim to finish third in the men’s 200m backstroke.

The Plymouth Leander student finished in a time of 1:59.35 which was comfortably ahead of fourth place Eugene Tee of Australia in 2:02.26. New Zealand’s Corey Main took first with 1:57.11 ahead of Christopher Van de Sande of South Africa in 1:58.99.

There was no such joy for fellow Manx swimmer Charlotte Atkinson who narrowly missed out on a place in the women’s 200m backstroke final after ending the prelim heat in ninth with a time of 2:19.50. She will, however, be the first reserve so is on standby to compete should any of the finalists withdraw.

Georgia Hohmann and Phoebe Lenderyou earned an England one-two in the event, with Kiwi Sophia Batchelor in third while Adelaide Hart (Australia), Kate Godfrey (New Zealand), Scotland’s Charlotte McKenzie, Remy Fairweather (Australia) and Wales’ Charlotte Bryan completed the top eight.

Tom Bielich also missed out on a place in a final after ending the men’s 200m freestyle in 21st in a strong field of competitors. Matthew Hutchins of New Zealand egded out Scotland’s Alisdair Stirling for first place, with Ieuan Lloyd (Wales) and Adam Rowe (England) also in the top four.

Putting behind her the disappointment in the earlier 200m backstroke, Atkinson then stormed to an excellent third place finish in the women’s 800m freestyle morning heat.

The contest involved completing no fewer than 32 lengths of the 25m pool at the NSC and Atkinson completed hers in an impressive 9m 05.21s. Wales’ Sian Morgan stormed to victory in 8:41.03 while Jersey’s Ella Dias was second in 9:02.72.

The final heat of that event will take place this evening and the overall result will be decided by the results of both heats.

Other results

Men’s 50m butterfly: 1, Chris Raven (Australia) 23.89 seconds; 2, Alexander Hancock (New Zealand) 24.98; 3, Hendrick Alberts (South Africa) 24.99; 4, Mark Szaranek (Scotland) 25.17; 5, Dylan Carter (Trinidad and Tobago) 25.38; 6, David Godridge (England) 25.48; 7, Aaron Rickhuss (England) 25.54; 8, Daniel Woods (Wales) 25.80.

Women’s 50m butterfly: 1, Marne Erasmus (South Africa) 26.85s; 2, Vanessa Puhlmann (Australia) 27.64; 3, Rachael Kelly (England) 27.76; 4, Sophia Batchelor (New Zealand) 27.83 5, Laura Vertigans (England) 27.98; 6, Fiona Donnelly (Scotland) 28.27; 7, Charlotte Bryan (Wales) 28.39; 8, Kyla Ferreira (South Africa) 28.92.

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