Swimming: Gichard saving best for Youth Olympics

By Anendra Singh

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Bobbi Gichard
Bobbi Gichard

For now Bobbi Gichard is happy to sit in the comfort of her lounge cheering on the Kiwis competing at the Glasgow Games in Scotland.

The 14-year-old Napier Girls' High School pupil yesterday collected five medals at the ANZ East Coast Championship in Napier.

"We weren't really planning to go to the Commonwealth Games because the top athletes from the world aren't there," Gichard said yesterday after the Napier Aquahawk Swim Club-hosted champs at the Onekawa pool.

For the fourth former the Youth Olympics at Nanjing, China, from August 17, will be the ideal platform to test her mettle. She will head there on August 12.

"The Youth Olympics will have the top Americans [and Europeans]," she said.

Gichard yesterday won golds in the girls' 50m and 100m butterfly races, clocking 30sec and 1min 10sec, respectively.

She also clinched golds in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke events, stopping the clock at 29.76s, 1m 3s and 2m 16s, respectively. "There were quite a few people pushing me in some races but this is the middle of my training so it was like a training competition for me.

"I don't want to peak right now because I want to get the best out of myself at the Youth Olympics," said the teenager of the international event that is open to people under the age of 18.

She is indebted to her teachers for helping her sort out her school work.

Gichard missed the Commonwealth Games qualifying time of 1m 50s during the New Zealand Open trials in Auckland in April by less than a second (1:01.34 although her personal best is 1:01 in the 100m backstroke).

Her coach, Noel Hardgrave-Booth, said yesterday: "It is really tough ... but the qualifying time is the qualifying time. If she was competing at Glasgow she would have ended up 10th."

Hardgrave-Booth was confident Gichard might have performed better with adrenalin, considering the electric atmosphere at the Games.

Gichard is among four swimmers going to the Youth Olympics but is banking on a "huge team support" from the 62-strong contingent from other disciplines.

She is also working on her physical fitness.

"I've been working out with Grant Dearns for about seven months," she said of the Hawke's Bay Magpies fitness trainer.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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