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New Zealand Record Attempt In Olympic Pool

Tuesday 31 August 2004

New Zealand Record Attempt In Olympic Pool

Gisborne freediver Suzy Kensington will attempt to break the New Zealand underwater swimming record at the Olympic Pool three weeks from now.

The record attempt is part of Gisborne Olympic Pool’s 30th Birthday Celebrations on Saturday 18 September.

Fresh from the World Team Championships of Freediving in Canada, the 27-year-old Gisborne woman is buoyant about her chances.

Kensington set the current record of 118 metres in Auckland a year ago and the record has remained unchallenged ever since.

Following her recent third placing at the world competition in Vancouver, she is in good form.

“I swam 125 metres in Canada during training so I hope to be able to recapture that form on record attempt day.”

Kensington requires two New Zealand judges from Auckland to verify the record attempt, as well as a paramedic on hand.

“Blacking out during or after an attempt is not unusual and it will be up to the judges to decide if I lose motor control during the attempt.”

Kensington said even if she swims further than 118 metres, the record will only be considered broken if she comes up “clean”.

“They will look closely at me when I surface to see that I haven’t started to lose my awareness, and that I am able to recover without medical assistance.”

In keeping with the regulations of underwater swimming or “dynamics” as it is called, Kensington will use a dolphin kick to skim along the bottom of the pool. She will wear a monofin during the attempt.

“In dynamics, it’s better to swim close to the bottom so drag is reduced. People will also be surprised at how slow I swim but I have to do that to conserve energy. The longer I can hold my breath, the further I will be able to go.”

Before the attempt Kensington will spend 45 minutes warming up her muscles, then relaxing, and lowering her heart rate.

All going well, Kensington, who once held her breath for six minutes and 15 seconds, will swim almost three lengths of the Olympic Pool.

The 30th Birthday Celebration will run 10am – 2pm, Saturday September 18.

As well as the record attempt, an historical swim by former Commonwealth Games New Zealand gold medal swimmer Jaynie Parkhouse will be held.

Jaynie Parkhouse opened the Olympic Pool in 1974 by swimming the first 100 metres.

“Many will remember Jaynie for her golden winning smile that beamed into homes when she took the gold for the 100 metres freestyle in Christchurch in 1974,” said Chairman of the Gisborne Olympic Pool Committee Hemi Hikawai.

“When she opened the pool back in ’74 she was the golden girl of sports at the time. We are thrilled she will be returning to recreate the historic swim.” A celebrity swimming race involving top local sportsmen and women, free entry to the pool, fair ground rides for children, and a sumptuous raffle will all be features of the birthday bash.

Celebrity swimmers include double Olympic gold medal kayaker Alan Thompson, multiple Surf Lifesaving World Champion Cory Hutchings, former All Whites captain Roger Gray, former New Zealand netballer, Sandra Edge, Turanga Health Rising Suns Basketball captain Robbie Wilson, and others.

The birthday celebrations planned for Saturday 18 September will also mark the launch of the Friends of the Olympic Pool Complex Society.

“Friends of the Olympic Pool Complex Society was set up earlier this year to raise funds for ongoing development of the pool complex,” said Mr Hikawai.

The Friends Society offers discounts and other benefits to paying members and has over 120 individuals, families and organisations on board.

“We wanted to make a splash when we launched Friends’ and we can do that by helping the Olympic Pool turn 30.”


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