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Chelsey Edwards closing in on national age-group swimming records

Chelsey Edwards is determined to break a national age-group swimming record.

The Chilton Saint James year 10 is closing in on both the 14-year-old 100-metre and 200m freestyle records, with the national age-group championships, starting on April 18, shaping as he last chance to crack the times.

She scored personal bests in both events at last week's Australian age-group championships while finishing fourth. She also recorded a sixth in her least-favoured 50m event.

Her time of 57.72 in the 100m was 0.48 seconds off Sophia Batchelor's 2010 national 14-year-old record, while her 2.05.00 in the 200m would need to see her shave 2.09 seconds off to beat Batchelor's record.

She's been here before, when she went very close to breaking the 12 and under 100m record two years ago.

"I've really wanted to get a New Zealand record for a while. I've nearly gotten one before, but [missed out] by 0.02 in the 100m freestyle in the 12-year-old age group, so that didn't happen but it was really close.

"It's definitely a goal I have, I have been close quite a few times."

Edwards clearly sets high standards. You just have to look at her Australian results in context to see that.

Her swim in the 100m would have her ranked second in the United States for her age group, which gives an indication of the strength of the Australian swimmers in that age group.

She said she was gutted to miss out on a medal, having won a bronze at the meet last year, but knew it was always going to be tough with nationals on the horizon.

"I didn't taper down or get ready for that meet as much as I would have normally because we've got nationals in two weeks, which is a big qualifying meet for the junior Pan-Pacifics and other overseas meets.

"So I've been trying to work towards nationals and also this meet, so it's been quite hard to space them out because there is only two weeks in between."

The qualifying times for the Junior (under-18) Pan-Pacific Swimming Championships, to be held in Hawaii from August 24, are also within reach. The 100m time is 57.31 and the 200m time is 2.04.35.

Making the squad for that trip would be good for two reasons, Edwards said.

"It's quite hard to qualify at my age because it's 18 and under, so it would be a good achievement.

"It's my goal to qualify, also because it's in Hawaii and that would be really great to go there," she said with a laugh.

While she was in Australia, she was awarded the Emerging Swimmer of the Year in her All Stars (Wellington and Manawatu) zone by Swimming New Zealand .

"I thought it was amazing because it's quite an honour to get it."

In the past 12 months she has won five New Zealand short-course age-group titles, four at long-course nationals and is the proud holder of eight Wellington records, including two in the butterfly.

Last year, she broke former Olympian Rebecca Perrott's 40-year-old Wellington freestyle records in the 13-year-old age-group and has since claimed two more in the 14-year-old division.

"Breaking her records in the 100m freestyle was pretty great because she went on to be an Olympian."

If Edwards can continue her progression, then few would tip against her following in Perrott's footsteps.

Source: The Dominion Post view online

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