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The start of something extraordinary

State NZ Short Course Swimming Championships - Day 5 Heats

It was a battle between Olympians on the final morning of heats at the State New Zealand Short Course Championships at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre.

Olympians Lauren Boyle and Tash Hind went stroke for stroke in the 200m freestyle heats, but Boyle proved too strong on the closing 50m clocking 1:57.91, to Hind’s 1:59.31. The two swimmers will have a tight tousle tonight with Hind recently returned to the pool after a serious shoulder operation following the world championship trials earlier this year.

In the men’s 200m backstroke 29 year old Dunedin swimmer Kurt Crosland (Neptune) continued to impress with a dominant heat swim of 1:55.69. His time was nearly four seconds ahead of second qualifier Benjamin Gillies (North Shore) and Matthew Hutchins (Wharenui).

In other events, 17 year old Max Polianski led the way in the men’s 200m butterfly heats with the only sub two minute effort this morning clocking 1:59.55. Medley specialist Bradlee Ashby was a touch behind to qualify second, and Isaac Foote third.

Jane Ip (West Auckland) topped the qualifiers in the women’s 100m breaststroke posting a time of 1:10.71 with Christchurch swimmer Beckie Dooley (Jasi) following in second, and Bronagh Ryan (Porirua) third. All three swimmers were within a second of each other this morning in what is shaping up to be a close final tonight.

The final session of the championships begins at 6pm tonight with the inaugural Swimming New Zealand Zonal Championship taking place at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre tomorrow from 8am.