Rio Olympian Bradlee Ashby set a New Zealand record on the way to his best performance of a young career at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest.
Ashby finished 13th fastest overall in the semifinals of the 200m individual medley in a time of 1:59.24, which cut 0.3s off his own national record.
The Waikato swimmer, who trains with the High Performance Centre squad under New Zealand coach Jerry Olszewski, improved a second on a morning heat swim that saw him sneak into the semifinals as the 15th fastest.
He produced a stronger allround performance in the semifinal, with a strong back half to the swim where his 33.99s breaststroke leg was eighth fastest.
“I wasn’t entirely pleased with the time in the heats this morning,” said Ashby. “I wanted to go under two minutes tonight and go close to my PB and I managed to beat that which was pleasing.”
The 21 year old from the Fairfield club was 25th in his world championship debut in this event as a teenager in Kazan, Russia two years ago and has improved that world ranking to 13th in two years, after making the semifinal at the Rio Olympics.
“Progressively over the past two years I have moved up spots. Making the semifinals at the worlds is one step further and definitely in the next three years I have the potential to make the top eight and even the top four in three years and make the medal podium in the years to come."
Ashby was the third fastest in the Commonwealth today, behind two British swimmers but notably ahead of the Australians, to make him an early medal threat for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
Earlier Ashby’s performances were not matched by the other Kiwis in the pool.
World junior champion Gabrielle Fa’amausili was 23rd fastest in her favoured 50m backstroke in 28.47, more than half a second outside her national record.
Sam Perry was 51st in heats of the 100m freestyle in 50.14s, more than half a second outside his best, while Helena Gasson was 27th fastest in heats of the 200m butterfly in 2:13.71, over three second outside her own national record.
Tomorrow sees 100m backstroke finalist Corey Main return for the 200m backstroke; Fa’amausili competes in heats of the women’s 100m freestyle and Natasha Lloyd lines up in the 200m breaststroke.