It was a memorable victory in more ways than one for Carterton's Joe Hammond when he won the final of the boys 17-18yrs 200m backstroke on day two of the national age group swimming championships in Wellington.
For Hammond it was his first gold medal at a national meet and his time of 2m 07.09s was a personal best, and beat his own Wairarapa record in the process.
Hammond left nothing to chance in the final, leading from start to finish and staving off a stern challenge from William Campbell of Wharenui who was second in 2m 7.5s. Third was Blake Gunn of Kiwi West Aquatics in 2m 8.4s.
Bella Biggs, of Carterton, was fourth in the girls 12-13yrs 400m individual medley with a time of 5m 25.16s. The hugely talented Yeonsu Lee (North Shore) won the event in 5m 6.23s with clubmate Jacey Cropp second in 5m 23.04s and Kyra Forrest of Wharenui third in 5m 24.32s.
Biggs also placed ninth in the final of the 50m butterfly - also won by Lee in 29.47s. Biggs was clocked at 31.92s.
Taylah Mawson (Carterton) made it to the final of the girls 15yrs 400m individual medley where she placed 10th in 5m 34.05s. Winner was Abi Chapman of Pukekohe in 5m 6.9s.
Immediately after his golden effort, Hammond was back in the water as part of the Wairarapa line-up in the boys 16yrs and over regional 200m relay. The combination of John McKeefry and Sven Tobias of Masterton and Jock Cudmore and Hammond from Carterton returned a personal best time of 1m 45.66s to place eighth. The gold medal went to Auckland in 1m 37.12s.