More golden times for Edwards

IT HAS been another golden month for Chelsey Edwards.

The young Chilton St James swimmer was one of the standout performers at the national age group championships in Wellington, picking up five gold medals.

Edwards, a year 9 student, recorded a clean sweep in the freestyle events in the 12-13 years, winning the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m and added gold in the 50m butterfly.

The 13-year-old, who has been the dominant freestyle swimmer in her age group for some time, was most excited about her efforts in the 100m and 400m.

She lowered her own Wellington age-group record when recording 58.97 for the 100m and reduced her best for the 400m to 4:36.57, more than eight seconds inside her previous PB.

“I really wanted to go under 59 [seconds] for the 100m,” Edwards said. She established her new time in her heat, when she had the brilliant Auckland 15-year-old Gabrielle Fa’amausili in the next lane. “I think that helped me go faster.”

Edwards is now chipping away at Rebecca Perrott’s Wellington freestyle age group records. Perrott, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist in 1978, still holds the bulk of the Wellington records and her 13 years 100m freestyle record had stood since 1975, till broken by Edwards in December.

Edwards was also close to her PB for the 50m at the nationals, recording 27.40, and one of her targets for the year is to go under 27 seconds for the distance.

Edwards, who won eight events at the national age group short course championships last September, has also performed well on the international stage this year.

She had her first experience of overseas competition when competing at the Australian age group championships, in Sydney in April, and won bronze in the 12-13 200m freestyle in a PB of 2:07.54. She had also improved her PBs when fifth in the 50m freestyle and sixth in the 100m.

Lewis Clareburt (Scots), Maggie Burns (Marsden), Alex Pampalone (Hutt Valley) and Joel Crampton (Tawa) also won gold at the age group championships.

Clareburt lowered his own Wellington record when winning the 15 years 400m individual medley, established another Wellington record when third in the 200m IM and was runner-up in the 200m butterfly.

Burns took gold in the 17-18 years 100m butterfly and silver in the 100m and 200m freestyle while Pampalone, swimming in the same age group, won the 400m freestyle and was second in the 800m.

 Crampton also set a Wellington record, when winning the 12-13 years 200m butterfly in 2:21.35.