Hind puts NZ surf lifesaving team in strong position

Natasha Hind tore apart the record books as her New Zealand team continued to push for the title at the Rescue 2012 world lifesaving championships in Adelaide yesterday.

After two days in the pool, New Zealand headed to Glenelg Beach in second place overall, 63 points behind Italy but with a vital 81-point lead over fourth-placed Australia.

The Kiwis continued to draw away from their transtasman rivals, with Olympian Hind a key figure in their performance yesterday.

The 23-year-old won two gold medals, erased two seconds off the world record in the 200m super lifesaver and shattered the New Zealand record by almost 10 seconds. Her time of two minutes 24.55 seconds was good enough to beat Australian Miranda Bell's 2:26.59, with Bell having set the world record last year.

"After the Olympics and when I was setting some goals for here, I did have that 200m super lifesaver record in the back of my mind," Hind said. "I knew it was achievable so I set about doing everything I could to get over here in the best possible shape."

She also claimed gold in the 50m manikin carry, breaking the national record in the process with a time of 36.31 secs.

Crucially, in both wins, New Zealand's second swimmers were close behind - Laura Quilter picked up bronze in the 50m carry and Sam Lee, after three golds on the first day, was fourth in the 200m super lifesaver.

Hind has been hunting a performance like this since the London Olympics.

"After the Olympics, I went travelling and came back with two months to get in shape. Those were probably the hardest two months of training I've ever done but I had breakfast with my parents a couple of days ago and was in a really good frame of mind. I said to Dad that I couldn't have done any more. I was picked for the pool and I'm just really happy I could deliver for the team."

New Zealand team captain Andy McMillan and fellow Olympic relay swimmer Steve Kent had another gruelling day, shouldering the majority of the load for the Kiwi men.

Kent was fourth in the 200m super lifesaver and won the B final of the 100m manikin carry, and McMillan won the B final of the 200m super lifesaver and was eighth in the A final of the 50m manikin carry. The pair linked with Max Beattie and Steve Ferguson to finish fifth in the 4x50m medley relay.

The pressure will now come on the New Zealand beach specialists, with Australia's ranks including world ironman champions Shannon Eckstein and Kristyl Smith. Australia have trailed New Zealand at the last two world championships out of the pool, only to turn it around on the beach and romp home.

"Every point is going to count, that's for sure," said Australian coach Danny Short. "But it's not over 'til it's over. We knew we would be chasing the Kiwis after the pool events. They came here with a talented Olympic-class team but I'm proud of the way our guys fought."

The New Zealand under-20 team trail their Australian rivals after the pool component, despite brilliant performances from Papamoa's Natalie Peat and Midway's Chris Dawson.

Peat won the 200m super lifesaver in a slick time of 2:30.73, heading home teammate Carina Doyle (St Clair), with Australian Rachelle King third.

Dawson grabbed gold in the 100m manikin carry, then anchored the 4x50m medley relay team featuring an all-Gisborne lineup with Cory Taylor, Toby Harris and Ben Quilter.

Points after the second day of the Rescue 2012 world lifesaving championships in Adelaide yesterday: Open: Italy 418, New Zealand 355, Germany 314, Australia 274, France 257, Netherlands 255, China 161, Canada 144, Belgium 143, Spain 123.

Under-20: Australia 490, New Zealand 450, Spain 433, Canada 295, Japan 268, Hong Kong 159, USA 104, Ireland 68, Iran 44, Sri Lanka 40.


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